Weather in the Foothills

“We had a sunset of a fine sort. Marked in bands of sharply contrasted colors; great stretches of dark blue, others of purple, others of polished bronze: the billowy mountains showed all sorts of dainty browns and greens, blues and purple and blacks…”
~ Mark Twain while living in California

Photo by Doug Kilpatrick Purple Mountains Majesty
Photo by Doug Kilpatrick
Purple Mountains Majesty

As predicted the Santa Ana winds blasted through the canyons for several days, bringing record heat to the foothills. But it’s winter and only February! And what about the rains from those practically guaranteed El Niño-driven storms? Presently the only evidence of such a weather forecast is the hundreds of sandbags placed throughout the community.

Feeling a little embarrassed and almost un-American, I admit to not viewing the Super Bowl. But the beautiful weather beckoned and with Abby taking the lead (or leash), we followed. Being a golden retriever, no adventure is quite complete without water; like cattle I believe they can smell it! Drought years are hard on dogs, as clean and dog friendly water sources are hard to come by. Just about 30 minutes before sunset on Sunday, Abby found a creek running through the middle of the Hahamongna Watershed (named after a Tongva chief). This is just south of JPL and part of the Arroyo Seco. From year to year – depending on the rains – the streams, rivers and the sometimes lakes change in size and flow patterns. Considering the lack of recent rains, the creek ran swiftly over the rocks and sand and was amazingly clear. The water quality was more than fit for a dog to either quench her thirst or cool her paws, as she wasted no time in doing so.

With a wet dog now by our side, we looked to the mountains. They were cast in purple hues as the sun set. Did it compare to Lady Gaga? Well …

The NWS meteorologists tell of warm temperatures into next week. With reined-in optimism, they add, “We have a slight chance of slight precipitation in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.”

As usual, with the weather it remains up in the air …


Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at