Weather in the foothills

“The sun was warm, but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.” ~ Robert Frost

A winter storm warning for the mountains of L.A. County was posted by the National Weather Service on Saturday night. I heard this as we traveled south from the Central Coast, just ahead of the approaching front. Wait a minute … can it be called a winter storm, as the first day of spring was last week? By Sunday night we had received a wind driven cold and pelting rainstorm, with snow at the higher elevations. Nothing remotely spring-like in its presentation. There are several explanations for this weather – some scientific and others not so much. Perhaps the definition of “winter storm” needs to be examined or maybe the approach of April Fools Day should be considered. Regardless, weather will take its course upon the unsuspecting and innocent.

In describing a storm, winter can be used as an adjective – “winter storm” – without referring to the actual season. So these storms are not restricted only to the assumed winter months, but are common in the late autumn and early spring as well. In extremely rare cases, a winter storm may occur during the summer.

The criteria for such an event revolves around abnormally cold temperatures in which precipitation would fall in the form of snow or sleet or a rainstorm when ground temperatures are cold enough to maintain an icy surface. So the upcoming April showers with visions of splashing ducklings and blooming flowers could look a little bit more like a “winter wonderland!” We’ll see.

April 1 is Palm Sunday, the last Sunday before Easter and the beginning of Holy Week for Christians worldwide. Secular in nature and certainly by coincidence, this year April Fools Day also falls on this day.

The origins of All Fools Day (original name) are uncertain, but may be related to the arrival of spring. At this time, Mother Nature is said to “fool” mankind with sudden and unexpected changes in the weather … showers one minute and sunshine the next. In Ancient Rome, practical jokes were played as part of Hilaria – a festival celebrating the resurrection of Attis, the god of vegetation and change of seasons. In England, an ancient legend connects Aprils Fool’s Day to the Rook sent out from Noah’s Ark in search of land. The best explanation comes from 16th Century France, when the calendar was changed from April 1 to Jan. 1 to observe the beginning of the New Year. Those unknowing folks (as they partied on the wrong day) were considered April Fools! To spend any more time on this topic would be making a fool of me, and of you for continuing to read on…

Back to the weather.

With a weak storm to the north, only fog here – no rain. Not much variation for the upcoming days, with highs around 70 and lows in the 40s.

“… March goes out like a lamb.”

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

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