“We were flying over America and suddenly I saw snow, the first snow we ever saw from orbit. I have never visited America, but I imagined that the arrival of autumn and winter is the same there as in other places, and the processes of getting ready for them is the same. It does not matter what country you look at. We are all Earth’s children.”
– Aleksandr Aleksandrov, Russian cosmonaut
Within 24 hours came the end of an era and the first day of autumn. A bit of symbolism here?
In the heat of the last day of summer I awaited the arrival of the Endeavor. Atop a hill overlooking JPL, one of my fellow watchers whispered in awe, “My God … there it is.”
Yes indeed, the shuttle ferried by a 747 and escorted by two jets appeared. It was as if time stood still for a brief, surreal moment. Not only was I deeply moved, but the feelings evoked have no words. President Reagan once said to the crew of the Columbia, “Through you, we feel as giants once again.” Yes, that about says it!
And time moved right on along, taking us into a new season. Last Friday, the positioning of the sun, earth and even the calendar indicated autumn. The weather paid no attention, though, and continued on in a summer-like manner. Then by midweek temperatures began to cool, only to warm again by week’s end. Will it ever end?
The latest data from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is optimistic the southwestern U.S. will receive substantial rainfall, beginning late fall into winter. With good reason, many climatologists and meteorologist are hesitant to label it a full fledged El Niño. Conditions haven’t remained stable for a long enough period of time to make a confident prediction. What are they looking for and where is it ?
Unusually warm ocean water temperatures in the eastern and central equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean are key to an El Nino event. So far the waters in this area are slightly warmer than usual but continue to fluctuate, leaving scientists scratching their heads in question. Being an amateur, I can throw all caution to the wind and make my prediction for our upcoming rainfall totals.
Research-based, including many sources and current incoming data, here it is: my prediction. Rain total for 2012-13 will be a few inches above average (approximately 23 inches). Get the umbrella ready!
Current weather depends on remnants of Hurricane Miriam. A consensus of opinions predict warm, humid conditions with a possibility of raindrops Sunday through Monday. Continuing temperatures in the upper 80s during the day, dropping into the 60s at night, take us into next week. Looking forward to rain…
The incredible journeys of the space shuttles are now memories.
“I guess that’s the story of flight … from the very first flights at Kitty Hawk to the various, very furthest and fastest flights that man has ever made.”
~ Neil Armstrong ~ 1930-2012
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at