Weather in the Foothills

“The rain is falling all around,

It falls on field and tree,

It rains on the umbrellas here,

And on the ships at sea.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson, “A Child’s Garden of Verses”

Yes, last week brought us some good old fashioned rain! Remember back in elementary school? It seemed to rain at least three out of the five weekdays and sometimes even more on the weekends! Our 2018-19 total now stands at 13.01 inches. Only 10 more to go and we’ll be at normal.

In Southern California, especially for the grown-ups, rain is almost always a big story and reason to celebrate. In contrast, rainy days may elicit a shrug of the shoulders in other parts of the country. Living along the foothills and an up-sloped area of the San Gabriel Mountains, we get “the lion’s (the mountain kind) share” of LA County’s precipitation. Depending on your exact location on our hillside, rain amounts will vary; comparing them is almost as much fun as the rain itself. A measuring device can be as simple as an old bucket or as complex as a digital remote rain gauge. I watch everything, but rely on the latter. Rainy day entertainment is easily had while watching the rain total increase with a good cup of coffee.

Rain gauges are not only used by meteorologists and other “weather nuts” to measure how much rain we get, but also to measure how much rain we don’t get. Droughts – lack or insufficiency of rain for an extended period of time – are devastating to both commercial agriculture and the natural environment. The data from rainfall totals may dictate whether or not reservoirs and groundwater supplies will be needed for farm crops and livestock and drinking water for humans. A simple weather forecast can advise citizens as to the necessity of an umbrella and/or to cut back on excess water usage. Given the choice, I would rather get wet!

Clear skies and warm days take us to next week, including strong winds on Tuesday. At the beginning of February, the jet stream is projected to drop south. With this comes the rain “falling all around.”

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