“We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and decaying trees, the thunder-cloud and the rain.”
~ Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862
Waiting for the rain. My rain gauge remains at exactly 4.96 inches of rain, leaf-free and waiting to receive. The threatening clouds of earlier this week failed to bring a drop of measurable rain to our area. We were slightly off the main storm track, but still got the impact of 40-degree temperatures backed by strong NW winds. Cold! So what about El Niño? And is it too soon to start building a large capacity ship?
Hopefully the plans have been approved and are in the hands of a good local (and fast-working) shipwright. Based on November’s scant rainfall, many still doubt El Niño’s probable impact. I’ve paid close attention to Bill Patzert – climatologist at NASA’s JPL in La Cañada Flintridge – over the past months. After the 2014-15 El Niño “big flop,” Dr. Patzert’s predictions have understandably erred on the safe or conservative side. In May, with optimism, he indicated signs were encouraging. The statement was tempered; it was still too early to declare El Niño a given. A lot can change in a few months … and that it did.
Come summer conditions ripened; equatorial waters continued to warm and the trade winds began to shift. El Niño fervor kicked into high gear among climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers and weather-watchers alike. Front row seats were filled, waiting for the show to begin. If an extra seat is available, the “Prophet of California climate” Bill Patzert will no doubt be interested! Why? In his own words, “This could be among the strongest El Niños … dating back to 1950.”
It’s now November. The wait time is less as the event grows. Front-row and center spectator (Bill) comments, “This El Niño is larger, it’s more intense, it’s more embedded in the ocean … It’s a done deal.” The curtain time for a typical El Niño is the first of the year. Normally its duration is three months. Nothing is certain this time.
For the time being, enjoy the warm and very dry weather. Through the weekend, Santa Ana winds and temperatures pushing 90 degrees are expected across the foothills. Come Monday an on-shore/off-shore wind battle takes over. A consensus of meteorological opinions predicts cold conditions to prevail. The Thanksgiving Day weather-cornucopia is overflowing. A chance for rain, winds, blue skies, clouds are all in the mix. No matter the final content combination, I promise it will be cold. Perfect Thanksgiving weather.
Blessings and safe travels to all.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.