“I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand.
Why the thunder lasts longer than that which causes it, and why immediately
on its creation the lightning becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires
time to travel. How…”
~ Leonardo Di Vinci
By the time the final window-rattling crash of thunder struck on Saturday, I became “dog’s best friend” to one spooked golden retriever. Loud sounds ordinarily don’t frighten Abby; on the 4th of July she sat contentedly and watched fireworks. But this was not your typical brief summer thunderstorm.
A combination of moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Dolores, a monsoonal flow and warmer than average Pacific Ocean temperatures came together, synchronized and produced a first-class weather event. The storm continued through Sunday bringing record-breaking rainfall across the southwest, extending north to San Francisco and east into Utah. Rainfall amounts were all over the map as thundershowers by nature become isolated and varied in duration. Even within our geographically small area, the totals varied. A friend’s rain gauge in Tujunga measured three inches while here in La Crescenta my grand total was only 1.97 inches. The wacky weather-watcher part of my brain actually felt a drop of jealousy!
July 1 marked the beginning of the 2015-16 rain season. I eagerly await its full presentation. Some of us, including meteorologists, are taking this past weekend’s downpour as a sign of wetter weather to come. Is it related to the predicted El Niño? Once again I sought the expertise of the NWS in Oxnard.
The recipient of my deluge of questions was meteorologist Stuart Seto. These guys obviously love what they do because we spoke at length. To summarize…
The increased tropical storms in the Eastern Pacific and a shift in the monsoonal flow from the southeast are indicative of a forming El Niño. These pump an abundance of moisture into our region. With the warmer than average ocean water along the west coast the weekend storm made perfect sense.
As for the rains of upcoming fall and winter, at the very least the totals are predicted to fall within the normal range. With the strong El Niño indicators continuing to intensify, my own forecast is for an above average rainfall season. I said it!
The long visiting cool and cloudy weather is leaving as high pressure pushes in from the east. Now and into next week temperatures are expected to return to normal. Each day is expected to be a bit warmer, eventually reaching highs close to 90 and lows around 60 degrees.
The rain is gone … for now.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.