By Mike Godsey

The tiny village of La Ventana is known for its amazing Sea of Cortez sunrises framed between Isla Ceralvo and Punta Arena. But usually, the sunsets behind the mountains pale in comparison.

But last night this “evil beauty” sunset appeared.

The winter weather in southern Baja is supposed to be endless blue skies and calm winds for sunbathing tourists. And it is famed for strong reliable winds for the kiteboarders, wingers and windsurfers at the East Cape wind meccas of La Ventana and Los Barriles.

But during a strong El NiƱo year like 2023, the high clouds from the Sub-Tropical Jetstream are sometimes overhead.

In this satellite imagery from last night, you can see the clouds of the Sub-Tropical Jetstream over Baja. Notice how blah they appear from space (unless, of course, you are a meteorologist)

It was those clouds near La Ventana that produced the flaming sunset in my photo above.

When thick these clouds streaming from the SW can spoil the Cabo sunbathing for several days.

But these clouds can also block the warming of the Coastal Valleys like the dead-end Los Planes Valley just west of La Ventana.

This warming is critical in creating a local pressure gradient that curves the strong north wind streaming down the Sea of Cortez to the beaches. This is especially true for La Ventana.

On days with thick clouds, the “El Norte” winds are strong outside but unreliable near the beaches.

Sometimes there will be a large hole in the inbound clouds that allows the critical afternoon heating. But usually, both wind and sun worshipers are frustrated.

So clearly, the Sub-Tropical Jetstream has an “Evil” side but as you can see in the top photo it can lead to beautiful Sunsets.