“If people stayed outside and looked at the stars each night,
I bet they would live a lot differently…” said Calvin to Hobbs.
~ Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbs cartoonist
Our local children are once again at their desks. Neither the students nor the weather were fooled by school’s early start. Although the first day was cooler than normal, there was little doubt as to the season. The forecast now calls for hot summer weather, casting away any doubt. Summer remains alive and well. When we were kids (back in the olden days!), August was still in the thrall of summer vacation. Be it at camp, in the pool, waiting for the Good Humor man or just playing in the sprinklers, life was good. Times change … but there are still plenty of “exciting and fun things” to look forward to – school or no school.
Thing one: The Perseid meteor showers are the most widely observed and dependable meteor displays. Born of the dust particles from Comet Swift-Tuttle, once a year in mid-August the Earth passes through the river-like path of its said dust; the result are meteor showers, sometimes referred to as “falling stars.” This week after midnight on the evenings of Aug. 11-14 are peak times to view the displays. Unlike last year when a full moon washed out most meteor sightings, 2015’s viewing is under the dark of a new moon. Away from the city lights a possible 60-90 meteors may be counted per hour! The upgrade package of clear skies and warm nights are a bonus this year.
Thing two: El Niño update. Beginning late fall, the potential for heavy rain showers continues to intensify. Scientists at NASA and other agencies are encouraged. Bill Patzert, a climatologist at JPL, has this to say: “We have not seen a signal (referring to sea water temperatures and wind patterns) like this in the tropical Pacific since 1997. What happens in August through October should make or break this event … the signal is getting stronger.”
Both events are enhanced by outside forces. First is a new moon for the meteor showers and second is an El Nino for rain showers. Both fit as “exciting and fun things;” and they are even educational!
Currently, headline weather arrives and is predicted to remain through midway next week. In the valleys and foothills, temperatures may reach well beyond 100 degrees. Overnight lows will remain very warm, in the upper 70s. Beyond this forecast, more summer looms ahead.
As for school … the evenings are still light and lovely, so take your homework and laptops outdoors.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.