“The fog is rising”
~ Emily Dickinson’s last words”
“Brigadoon” is set in a magical Scottish village that rises out of the Highland mists – for one day – every hundred years. As I drove north on the 2 Freeway last week, one of our recent storms was just beginning to clear. Misty air intermingled with the drifting wisps of fog and clouds along the Verdugo Canyon below. Now and again the sun broke through to reveal brilliant green patches of newly emerged grasses. Images of Ireland and Scotland came to mind; these brought to mind the classic movie/play “Brigadoon.” The Crescenta Valley is really beautiful, even more so with the continued blessings of rain.
Weather or climate – what’s the difference anyway? Weather is the actual day-to-day or present state of the atmosphere. When you open a door or window, is it hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy?
The best meteorologist can be a dog. Did your pup leave muddy paw prints (the sprinklers have not been running) or have wet fur upon returning from being outdoors? On the other hand, climate is the composite or the expected prevailing weather conditions of a region as temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, cloudiness and winds, throughout the year, averaged over a series of years. El Niño and La Niña are both categorized as climatic conditions, which in turn impact the weather.
Weather is driven by air pressure, temperature and moisture differences between one place and another. These differences can occur due to the sun’s angle at any particular spot, which varies by latitude from the tropics. The strong temperature contrast between polar and tropical air gives rise to the jet stream. Weather systems – like the Pineapple Express – occurring in the mid-latitudes (Southern California) are caused by instabilities in the jet stream flow. This is the explanation which best describes the 2016-17 weather pattern in our part of the world. One storm after another has drenched California with an over-abundance of rain. Definitely good news after six years of drought, though in many areas it came fraught with inconvenience and danger.
Hold on tight to your umbrella, children and pets … Tonight the first storm moves in and Friday a second storm is predicted to unleash intense rainfall and damaging winds. Flash flood warnings are posted. The NWS predicts eight inches for the south facing slopes of LA County (that’s us!) due to enhanced orographic lift. More rain is forecast into next week.
Stay safe in the upcoming days …
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at email@example.com.