“Winter is an etching,
Spring a watercolor,
Summer an oil painting,
And Autumn is a mosaic of them all.”
~ Stanley Horowitz
Autumn arrived in classic beauty. On Sunday, its first day, a cool breeze swept the skies clear, revealing a blue only seen at this time of year. Foliage, although dry from summer, is just beginning to change color and scatter the yard. Nighttime temperatures dropped to the 50s – more spring-like than winter. Changes are underway, not quite here or there, but certainly everywhere. A “mosaic” …. a good description.
Excitement over the change of seasons was quickly squelched as this week progressed. Once again thermometers climbed to summer-like highs with readings well over 90 degrees, but the nights remained cool – typical conditions for September and October.
Moving ahead, but not too far … what is predicted for the fall and winter months? After two unusually dry years, we eagerly await the rainy season. It seems the meteorologists are doing the same.
The following is a summarization from two sources, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center and climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s JPL.
“Without an El Nino or La Nina [condition] present, other, less predictable, climatic factors will govern fall, winter and spring conditions,” according to Patzert. “Long-range forecasts are most successful during (these) episodes.”
A determining factor is ocean temperatures off South America that are in a neutral state or “La Nada.”
Patzert added, “The ‘in-between” ocean state, La Nada, is the dominate condition and is frustrating for long-range forecasters. It’s like driving without a decent road map – it makes forecasting difficult.”
So, now what?
In the past, our wettest and driest winters have been during these so-called “neutral periods.” The term doesn’t quite fit with its often devastating, volatile nature of droughts and floods. To keep informed of ongoing changes, visit http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov/science/elninopdo/latestdata/.
Back to the day-to-day weather of The Foothills: cool and gusty, with a very slight possibility of drizzle are currently in the forecast. Come the weekend and likely next week, the offshore flow returns with above normal temperatures. Predicted highs not to exceed 90 and lows in the 50s, it would be safe to say, “Abby, I have a feeling we’re not in summer (or Kansas) anymore…”
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.