“If rain spoils our picnic, but saves a farmer’s crop, who are we to say it shouldn’t rain?”
~ Tom Barrett
Memorial Day marks the “unofficial” start of summer, cleverly referred to as “America’s on-ramp to summer.” But we’re not quite there yet; the real season is almost a month away. Nevertheless, as temperatures in the Crescenta Valley climbed into the 80s many of us enjoyed outdoor activities. Most beaches were left in the fog until early afternoon. Longtime Southern Californians know that May and June are notorious for bad beach weather. Save the beach for the surfers and those willing to brave the cold; we spent Memorial Day at home. Family and good friends plus a barbecue and time to relax made our day. As evening set in, our backyard became the venue for a pre-season concert. The crickets are back!
Each week, as the CV Weekly goes to press, I immediately begin to formulate next week’s column. So far, a subject or topic has regularly come to mind. Perhaps it’s because the day-to-day weather and climate are integral to our lives. The most recent example being the Memorial Day menu – hamburgers (beef, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese), corn-on-the-cob, watermelon and strawberry shortcake. Three years of drought have left hundreds of thousands of acres of California farmland unplanted due to water shortages. Consumers will likely see substantial price hikes at the grocery store if the state doesn’t receive sufficient rain come this fall and winter. West Center Produce, a wholesaler that supplies to restaurants expects to rely heavily on produce from Florida, Texas, Mexico and South America. The import costs incurred are substantial, but our main concern is for the livelihood of California farmers and ranchers. The impact of drought is far reaching.
California is the most productive agricultural state in the U.S. with nine out of the 10 most productive counties nationwide. For almonds, olives, raisins, artichokes and several other crops, the state is the sole producer. The San Joaquin Valley or “Central Valley” is the single richest agricultural region in the world, according to the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture. Besides vegetables and fruits, California is our country’s largest producer of dairy and beef products. Lack of water threatens not only our basic food source, but California’s basic economy – including jobs.
The NWS states, “The start of June will have a solid dose of June Gloom.” Cool temperatures and fog are expected along the coast and inland valleys. The low is too weak to produce rain except for possible drizzle across “favored areas, such as the 210 highway.”
Given the right time and place, an umbrella may get one last use for the season!
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at