“I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the day light hours in the open air.”
Interesting time of year as the weather’s characteristics fluctuate between that of summer and of autumn. Last weekend, we took a trip up the coast and inland to Santa Ynez. Saturday night on our way to dinner, a strong thunderstorm moved in bringing heavy rain and lightening. Forgot to pack an umbrella! By morning the skies were clear and the temperatures cool, just right for picking apples.
On our way home, Abby caught a whiff of the ocean air and whined politely (as Goldens do), until we stopped and let her to run across the sand and into the waves. A perfect summer day at the beach – about 75 degrees, sunny, the crowds are gone – just a few surfers and people walking along the shore. And yes, one very happy dog and her owners. Next Friday, Sept. 23 is the first day of autumn. Summer may be officially over, but Mother Nature can be a little stubborn about making these changes happen.
Perhaps you already know exactly what happens this time of year. Fall (or autumn) arrives exactly on time, right down to the minute, year after year – really quite amazing if you think about it. Astronomers’ calculations for 2011 are Sept. 23 at 2:04 a.m. PST: what is scientifically known as the “autumnal equinox.”
The 24 -hour day will have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. Equinox is the Latin word for equal night. The Sun’s rays are beaming down directly over the equator. As far as the Northern Hemisphere (yes, that includes the Crescenta Valley) is concerned, those rays are heading south and taking the light of the summer evenings with them. The tilting Earth is at the midway point in its orbit around the Sun, between June 21, the start of summer, and Dec. 21, the beginning of winter. Throughout the year the weather is constantly changing with the seasons.
As we move into fall, the days grow shorter and cold air is on the move. You may have noticed nighttime temperatures are overall cooler, although from day to day, daytime temperatures fluctuate – pretty typical as summer hangs on for dear life. Soon it will be rare to see a high of 80 degrees. The cause of all this is the shifting of two centers of air pressure, the Pacific High, which has been an important feature of our summer weather, is being replaced and pushed south by the Aleutian low. This sets the scene for the entrance of winter weather and yes, rain!
Until then, expect a cooling trend through Saturday with highs in the upper 70s to low 80s and lows hovering around 60. Come the first of the week the forecast calls for a warm up, but nothing dramatic – nothing over 90.
Enjoy the last few days of summer.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta
Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at