Weather in the Foothills

“There is no way that we can predict the weather six months ahead, beyond giving the seasonal average.”
~ Stephen Hawking,
“Black Holes and Baby Universes”

NEW Weather in Foothills ART WEB
Perhaps the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein, Stephen Hawking expressed his opinion on the relatively simple subject of weather in the above quotation. Many years ago, I heard Dr. Hawking speak at Caltech in Pasadena. His presence when he entered the auditorium brought complete stillness while his words evoked total awe. I feel rather humbled to include his words here.

The new year has several El Niño-enhanced storms. If similar weather patterns continue to form, the upcoming months will be rainy ones. While above average precipitation is expected for 2016, below average precipitation was last year’s sad story. Come to think of it, there was nothing average weather-wise in 2015. In fact, it seemed the strangest weather year ever! Read on …

The World Meteorological Association declared 2015 to be “the warmest year on record” for the entire planet. On a much smaller scale, Southern California in 2015 was on a bizarre track of its own. To refresh your memory:

• It was hot from the beginning. Although still winter, in early March a heat wave struck with highs exceeding 90 degrees. L.A. broke all previous records.

• In the spring it grew colder and colder. May was even colder than March. The NWS called it a “reverse meteorological spring.”

• Hurricane season began before summer; considered rare, remnants of these storms showed up along the West Coast bringing humidity and tropical weather.

• Summer arrived as did the heat. An added attraction was the moist weather and measurable rainfall in July.

• Fall seemed long in coming as summer seemed to last forever. Well into October were days when the temperatures reached 100 degrees.

• As the holidays approached it remained unseasonably warm.

• Just before Thanksgiving arrived, there was an abrupt change; the first snow greeted the last heat wave, turning our local mountaintops white.

• At last, by December freezing cold weather had settled in. At long last, summer ends.

• The promises of El Niño-driven storms feel possible as the year ends.

January’s total rainfall stands at 4.90, with two more weeks remaining. Over the weekend and into next week, the tail end of several storm fronts will swish over our area. The forecast suggests cold and breezy days with a mixture of sunny and partly cloudy skies; also sprinkles of rain may join the party. The next “real rain” is still up in the air.

Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at