Air conditioning one day and a fire in the fireplace the next. Last week ended with wild fires burning out of control. With strong Santa Ana winds blowing, temperatures reached close to 100 accompanied by low humidity. Add the moisture starved vegetation as fuel and the fire scenario was highly predictable, if not expected. Firefighters not already on the line were ready and anxiously waiting for a call. As the Springs Fire grew, my husband packed up his gear. The amount of equipment, including water and snacks is amazing. He was called…
The weather was being closely monitored by the National Weather Service and the various firefighters’ agencies. Any change was crucial as to the methodologies used to contain the fire. Extreme caution is used as the unpredictability of wind-driven fires has past been proven. How many times have we witnessed fires in the Malibu area?
When the fire broke out, the winds were coming out of the northeast – offshore. The flames moved quickly, threatening homes. More fire crews were needed. As Doug reported at the command post early Saturday morning, the fire was “laying down” (typical early morning fire behavior) with very few flare ups. A lot of watching and waiting because conditions can change within minutes. As the day progressed, temperatures began to drop. The winds had changed direction.
Now coming off the ocean, they were cool and moisture-laden. Fog moved inland, increasing the humidity. The coastal climatic condition of an onshore flow had once again returned. As it did, one by one the fire apparatuses and crews left the area. All in a day’s work.
Weather is capable of both creating and extinguishing a fire – one of Mother Nature’s most powerful forces. Speaking of mothers …
Her influence may be as powerful as the weather’s. And she is our first weather reporter…*
“Don’t forget your jacket, it is cold outside. And a scarf and mittens, too, it’s windy … might be a storm later. Oh, get your umbrella, I see rain clouds. Have a good day at school, honey! I love you.”
“Bye, Mom, love you too…”
We had “real” rain on Monday and Tuesday. April flowers bring May showers? I’m happy to report the Crescenta Valley received a very grand total of 1.22 inches. So far the season’s total stands at a little over 12 inches, about half of our normal rainfall and with the season ending June 30. Another dry year.
The cut-off low pressure lingers well into this week, teasing us with a slight chance of showers. Come this weekend, clear skies and warmer temperatures will once again prevail. Ninety-plus degrees is forecast for Monday. Blink once and by mid-week there is a possibility of rain. Yes!
*“Take your umbrella dear, it looks like rain.”
Thank you, Mom, and enjoy “your special day!”
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.