“O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.”
- Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)
So true are those words, especially if intended to describe a wedding day. Over 30 years ago, on a certain October day, the weather was close to perfection as vows were exchanged. This time of year, the foothills are known for their ultimate climatic conditions. Only a one word description is needed: pristine. The skies are brilliant azure-blue and the air is crystal clear. On each anniversary of this special occasion the weather, without fail, has been unchanging.
Are the skies really bluer in October? What would create this condition? First a simple and easy (if possible) explanation for the query, “Why the sky is blue?”
Sunlight is white light, which is a combination of all the colors of the rainbow. As this light comes from the sun and passes through the atmosphere, it gets scattered (or jogged from its direct path) as it encounters and bounces off air molecules. These molecules are just the right size to scatter the shorter wavelengths of blue to violet.
This occurs 18 miles up. So no matter which direction you look, blue light (or sky) appears. In essence, the color seen is the color being reflected back to us – blue. The rest of the colors of the spectrum are being absorbed. The deepest blue is directly overhead, the middle of the sky is a medium blue and closest to the horizon is the palest (close to white). It is a longer distance to the horizon and more light is scattered by airborne particles before it can reach our eyes. So, blue it is!
Many people worldwide will agree that their favorite color is blue. Good choice, especially since much of the world is blue (skies, seas). Seeing the color blue actually causes the body to produce chemicals that are calming. Listening to the sounds of waves along the coastline is relaxing, but perhaps it is the color of the ocean as it reflects the blue of the sky that is the real source of calm.
After many days of research, my question goes unanswered about the blue skies of October. Mentions are made throughout literature, but no scientific reference is cited. So the following answer is based on information from the NWS, Pat Brennan (science writer, OC Register) and my own conclusions: The sky is a deeper shade of blue due to the Santa Ana winds and perhaps the angle of the autumn sun.
Last week brought 2.05 inches of rain and this week temperatures close to 100 degrees. What next? With hesitation, meteorologists are predicting a cool down at the end of this week and into next. Enjoy the blue skies and memories of autumn.
Tradition may say June, but the weather says October – for a wedding day. Of course, this is only an opinion based a little on scientific data and mostly on memories.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta
Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service.
Reach her at