Evening storm clouds from the Cabrillo Bridge.

Enjoy this collection of photographs that I took yesterday evening, as I walked into Balboa Park across the Cabrillo Bridge.

The sun was setting and clouds were darkening as a storm rolled in. The early October storm would produce spectacular lightning all around San Diego.

As I began east across the Cabrillo Bridge, the California Tower was illuminated by the very last rays of sunlight. I periodically turned west to catch sunset color above Bankers Hill.

Knowing that rain was on the way, I debated heading back home. I’m so thankful I didn’t. Because the lightning-filled concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion turned out to be something very rare and special–likely one of the most extraordinary concerts in the organ’s 106 year history. Yesterday I blogged about that experience here!

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Lightning and thunder at magical Spreckels concert!

Tonight an unusual, truly magical concert was held in Balboa Park at the outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

As lightning flashed and thunder rumbled, internationally renowned organist Ahreum Han answered with her own own thunder for a small audience sheltered against the storm up on the pavilion stage.

Those of us who experienced this extraordinary concert, part of the 33rd San Diego International Organ Festival, sat almost directly under the majestic Spreckels Organ pipes and mere feet away from Ahreum Han as she played elegantly, easily, masterfully.

As you can imagine, the unusual circumstances provided a once-in-lifetime opportunity for music lovers. My goosebumps were on overdrive.

The music flowed like bright lightning from the fingers of Ahreum, and at times it seemed she was playing a duet with mighty nature. When she concluded each piece, thunder joined the applause.

You had to be there.

It was an experience an adventurous few, who refused to be deterred by a threat of lightning and rain, will never ever forget.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Soviet submarine at Maritime Museum nears end of life.

A sign posted on San Diego’s Embarcadero near the Maritime Museum of San Diego indicates their Russian Foxtrot Class attack submarine B-39 has continued to rust, causing the historic vessel to near the end of its life.

A storm this winter that tore away sections of the outer metal skin has accelerated the submarine’s degradation. I believe it was the storm that I recorded back in January here. You can see waves in usually calm San Diego Bay breaking against the submarine.

It’s hoped that as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, museum visitors will have one more chance to take a look inside the B-39. I learned that once the submarine has reached the end of its life, it will likely be taken to a shipyard to recover whatever might be salvageable. I also learned the Maritime Museum has thoroughly recorded the interior of the vessel, to preserve a very important part of Cold War history.

Learn more about this submarine by checking out the museum web page concerning it here.

I enjoyed a self-guided tour inside the Foxtrot-class submarine nearly five years ago, and posted some interesting photographs. If you’d like to see them, click here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of high winds downtown.

San Diego is now experiencing very unsettled winter weather. High winds, rain, even thunderstorms and a funnel cloud or two. Lots of snow in the mountains to the east.

Today the wind throughout downtown was unusually strong. Especially by the water. Not quite the devastating winds we experienced one night five years ago, when numerous boats were driven into the rocks along the Embaracadero and sank. (You can see those tragic photographs here.)

But I saw flags flapping wildly, palm trees bending as if they were made of rubber, and I had to constantly hold onto my hat!

When I reached San Diego Bay, which is usually calm, I was surprised by the stormy, foaming waves. It always amazes me that deep water can be disturbed powerfully by wind along its surface.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Dark storm clouds off Crystal Pier.

Today I enjoyed a very cool guided mural walk in Pacific Beach. I arrived early, however, so I walked along the beach just before a heavy wave of rain arrived.

As I approached Crystal Pier, the remaining sunlight on the breaking surf and the pier’s rows of white cottages contrasted very strongly with the black storm clouds. The photos I captured, just moments before a heavy rain, are visually interesting.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photo memories of San Diego winters.

Yes, winter does come to San Diego. It begins in about one week. Winters in coastal Southern California are generally mild, due to our arid climate, and the moderating influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Winter storms tend to be short-lived, gray and drizzly. In San Diego, if you want to see occasional snow, you need to head to the mountains of East County, and even then the returning sun and dry desert winds melt it in a day or two. Temperatures at the lower elevations almost never reach freezing.

However, winter storms in San Diego have been known to provide drama!

There have been unusually violent windstorms, huge surf and flooding. A few of those memories have been preserved in photographs on this blog. And so have examples of winter’s unique beauty!

To see photos from past winters, click the following links:

Snow and winter beauty at Cuyamaca.

Boats destroyed by El Niño winds in San Diego.

Photos of San Diego River, after three storms.

Glimpses of nature’s beauty after a storm.

Photos of winter along San Diego River.

A winter’s day full of magical light.

Storm brings huge surf to Ocean Beach Pier.

Amazing vistas atop Mount Soledad.

Signs of the coming big winter storm.

Los Peñasquitos Lagoon between winter storms.

Winter beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Between morning showers downtown.

The brunt of our latest storm hit yesterday and overnight. This morning a few brief showers were passing through downtown.

I walked from Cortez Hill down into canyons of skyscrapers with my umbrella at the ready.

Today is Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and it appears few people had to work. This morning downtown felt like an early Saturday or Sunday. Few cars and empty sidewalks. Very quiet.

And a little wet!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Dramatic clouds, a change in weather.

San Diego’s first “winter storm” is here. This morning the clouds were already gathering, making for a sensational sunrise. I got a beautiful photo from the top of Cortez Hill!

A bit later in the morning, bright slanting sunlight made the clouds over Mission Valley very dramatic. I took a few photos near Hazard Center (you can see the trolley line) and the San Diego River. I captured some cool reflections!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A cool reporter hangs loose!

Dan Plante of KUSI News hangs loose!
Dan Plante of KUSI News gives the surfing hang loose sign!

I was heading to the Hazard Center trolley station after work when I noticed traffic had been diverted due to the flooding of Mission Center Road by the rain-swollen San Diego River.

I headed down to check things out . . . and here comes smiling KUSI News television reporter, Dan Plante.

Hang loose, dude!

Los Peñasquitos Lagoon between winter storms.

Debris has been washed by the ocean under the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach.
Debris has been washed by the ocean under the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon bridge at Torrey Pines State Beach.

This morning, the day after a severe winter storm, I visited Torrey Pines State Beach and the ocean inlet to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Arriving at high tide, I found myself astonished by the incredible power of nature. Turbulent waves were crashing onto the pedestrian walkway under the North Torrey Pines Road bridge.

I spent some time exploring near the state park’s North Parking Lot and its entrance. I then headed north along a path at the edge of sandstone cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I took many photographs, striving to capture nature’s awesome power and beauty.

And more winter storms are on the way!

Please read the photo captions to learn a bit more about this special place.

A lifeguard keeps an eye on wild surf at Torrey Pines State Beach.
A lifeguard keeps an eye on wild surf at Torrey Pines State Beach.

The friendly lifeguard said that waves can wash over the walkway during high tide at this time of the year.
The friendly lifeguard said that waves can wash over the walkway during high tide at this time of the year.

The bridge over the lagoon inlet during a very high tide. The storm-disturbed water appeared very muddy.
The bridge over the lagoon inlet during a very high tide. The storm-disturbed water appeared very muddy.

An information sign was pushed over by high winds from yesterday's storm. The power of nature is displayed.
An information sign was pushed over by high winds from yesterday’s storm. The power of nature is displayed.

Open to the Ocean. Over time, the lagoon mouth has filled in and reopened, changed shape and relocated many times.
Open to the Ocean. Over time, the lagoon mouth has filled in and reopened, changed shape and relocated many times.

Across the lagoon to the south rises beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve, home of the endangered Torrey pine, rarest pine tree in North America.
Across the lagoon to the south rises beautiful Torrey Pines State Reserve, home of the endangered Torrey pine, rarest pine tree in North America.

Looking west along Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Light shines on a sheet of water swollen by high tide.
Looking west along Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Light shines on a sheet of water swollen by high tide.

This coastal marsh in San Diego's North County is a special place where wildlife is abundant.
This coastal marsh in San Diego’s North County is a special place where wildlife is abundant.

The sandy beaches, sand dunes, sandstone cliffs and bluffs, provides the habitat for the Coastal Strand plant community.
The sandy beaches, sand dunes, sandstone cliffs and bluffs, provides the habitat for the Coastal Strand plant community.

A cheerful yellow bush sunflower.
A cheerful yellow bush sunflower.

Looking across the wetland toward the train bridge near the beach.
Looking across the wetland toward the train bridge near the beach.

Life in the Lagoon. Birds are the most commonly seen animals in the lagoon. Ample food and nesting materials allow many to live here year-round.
Life in the Lagoon. Birds are the most commonly seen animals in the lagoon. Ample food and nesting materials allow many to live here year-round.

A great egret stands in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, patiently watching for fish in the water.
A great egret stands in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, patiently watching for fish in the water.

People walk west from Carmel Valley Road into the North Beach Lot of Torrey Pines State Beach.
People walk west from Carmel Valley Road into the North Beach Lot of Torrey Pines State Beach.

Sign includes map of the San Diego Trans County Trail, which runs east from the ocean along Peñasquitos Creek, through Los Peñasquitos Canyon.
Sign includes map of the San Diego Trans County Trail, which runs east from the ocean along Peñasquitos Creek, through Los Peñasquitos Canyon.

Closed lifeguard Tower 5 at Torrey Pines State Beach is splashed by wild winter waves during high tide.
Closed lifeguard Tower 5 at Torrey Pines State Beach is splashed by wild winter waves during high tide.

Gazing down at powerful Pacific Ocean surf on a winter day between storms.
Gazing down at incoming Pacific Ocean surf on a winter day between storms.

Coaster train moves along tracks north of Torrey Pines State Beach, heading atop scenic sandstone cliffs into Del Mar.
Coaster train moves along tracks north of Torrey Pines State Beach, heading atop scenic sandstone cliffs into Del Mar.

A line of bicyclists head down Pacific Coast Highway from Del Mar toward Torrey Pines State Beach.
A line of bicyclists head down Pacific Coast Highway from Del Mar toward Torrey Pines State Beach.

Ocean waves crash toward the North Torrey Pines Road bridge over the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.
Ocean waves crash toward the North Torrey Pines Road bridge over the entrance to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.

Mud and debris under the bridge. The result of a strong winter storm and the mighty ocean.
Mud and debris under the bridge. The result of a strong winter storm and the mighty ocean.

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