The last weeks of December are upon us. A calendar was not necessary to mark winter’s approach. The weather alone was sufficient, as temperatures dropped below freezing several times in the past week. A thermometer is not always a good indicator of the season in Southern California. Besides shivering and chattering teeth, there is a lot going on in December. Hanukkah came early, starting before Thanksgiving Day. “Black Friday” marks the beginning of the holidays for some of us, but the annual Montrose Christmas Parade does it for me. Now it is time for decorating, shopping, parties, school programs, concerts and college kids to make their way home. Did I forget to mention Christmas? And also the last full moon of the year.
The wind, rain and snow flurries expected on parade night did not materialize. With visions of snowflakes drifting over the route, I was a little disappointed. Instead clear skies prevailed, allowing good visibility of Santa’s helicopter flight over downtown Montrose and December’s evening star – Jupiter. No umbrellas needed this year. Temperatures dropped down to freezing that night. Donned in several layers, including a down jacket, snow gloves, and fur-lined boots, I was cold. I watched with envy as the wolves with their beautiful thick fur coats made their way down the street.
With wolves in mind, on Dec. 17 a full moon will rise at sunset over the foothills. When the moon reaches full phase, it lies directly opposite the sun in the sky. The moon’s light and visibility are at peak for the month. During the darker and cold days of winter our ancestors named the full moon. For December: Cold Moon, Long Night Moon and Moon before Yule were given. No howling wolves in La Crescenta, only local coyotes.
Gusty N.E. winds and temperatures reaching or exceeding 80 degrees are forecast into next week. No global warming here, just typical December weather for Southern California. At least 40 degree nights remain, helping to create “the holiday spirit.”
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.