“Lo, sifted through the winds that blow,
Down comes the soft and silent snow,
White petals from the flowers grow
In the cold atmosphere.”
~ George W. Bungay, 1818-92 English poet & abolitionist
Although 80 degrees on Monday and Tuesday of this week, the above words illustrate last week’s weather story.
Way to go, 2014! Wait until the very last days in December to depart from the year’s unusually high temperatures and lack of moisture. A forecast of record-breaking cold at the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade was made by the National Weather Service. As a cold front moved in from Canada, with chilling winds and snow along the parade route, temperatures dropped to 36 degrees. The Rose Parade in 1952 still maintains the record at 32 degrees.
Two days before the New Year, on Dec. 30, the real gift of the winter season arrived – coincidently on my birthday! I had just finished last week’s Weather in the Foothills. Snow levels had dropped to 2,000 feet with rain predicted in the lower elevations. I looked out the window into the cold, blustery and overcast winter afternoon. A few remaining red liquidamber leaves drifted gently to the ground. Intermingled were the first raindrops I thought. Upon closer examination, these drops appeared rather large and seemed to be floating, not falling, through the air. Snow! Yes, snow at an elevation of 1722 feet in La Crescenta. An unexpected gift indeed! Sharing my excitement, Abby came tearing through her dog door, her golden fur dusted with snowflakes. The snow flurry may have been short-lived, but not the memory it left.
On the final day of 2014 as cold gripped Southern California, a climatologist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Center announced that in 2014 California averaged the highest temperatures in 120 years of recorded data.
“Not only did we break a record for the warmest year in California history, we smashed the record,” said NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert. Every month in 2014 was at least two degrees warmer than the climatological average. As for rain, there is a 65% chance for El Niño conditions. If played out, precipitation is enhanced.
Moving into the weekend, cool and cloudy with a slight chance of showers is predicted. Temperatures remain a normal 70-50 degree high-low range. Middle of next week, the Santa Anas dominate once again. No rain is currently forecast.
“May the rains fall soft upon your fields.”
– Irish Blessing for 2015
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.