“The crisp drenching rustle from the dry foliage of the perceptibly grateful trees…
The little plants, in speechless ecstasy, receiving cupful after cupful into the
Outspread leaves, that silently empty their gracious load, time after time, into the
Still expecting roots, and open their hands still for more.”
~ John Richard Vernon, “The Beauty of Rain,” 1863
Rain-wise, we were in the wrong place at the right time. While our location was on target to receive a fair amount of rain last weekend and into the week, it just didn’t happen. The more intense rain cells skirted either to the west or east. Some headed farther south before heading inland, while others stayed just to the north. La Crescenta streets were left puddled by a few brief showers, while Huntington Beach was iced with one inch of hail from a 30-minute long thunderstorm. Usually rainfall is enhanced by the orographic lift along the foothills. But these storms broke the rules and didn’t cooperate. Our total of .74 inches fell short in comparison to surrounding locations that measured up to four inches. In reference to said storm, Bill Patzert, a scientist, stated, “This is a schizophrenic storm.” Love the use of a psychological term to explain the weather!
In January, I had the pleasure and honor to meet Bill Patzert at a meeting of the Glendale Sunrise Rotary Club at Oakmont Country Club. He was guest speaker, with his subject being “the drought.” Who is this man I often quote? Without knowing him and his qualifications, he could be mistaken for a stand-up comedian, but Dr. William Patzert is an oceanographer and climatologist at the California Institute of Technology’s NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. He studied at Purdue University and University of Hawaii.
I will venture to say much of his education came earlier in life. As a sea captain’s son, he sailed the oceans learning celestial navigation using a sextant. Later, working on a tramp freighter, his travels continued around the world. From surfing and diving in Bali to crossing the Pacific through typhoons, all while under the influence of Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” Bill Patzert’s passion was set. Now called the “prophet of California Climate,” his main foci are long-term climate forecast and environmental issues.
The skies are now clear and the sands dry as this weekend’s temperatures warm into the 80s. Looking further out, there is potential for more rain as systems show development.
My umbrella remains faithful to the season and has not yet retired.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.