Weather in the Foothills

“Man must rise above the Earth – to the top of the atmosphere and beyond – for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.” ­– Socrates (470–399 BC), Greek philosopher from Athens credited as a founder of Western philosophy


What could evoke a person such as Socrates – 2,500 years ago – to envision Earth from beyond the highest clouds or the tallest mountain peaks? It seems beyond explanation and the capability of the imagination of the human brain.

Last week, temperatures in Southern California began to climb. Are we aiming to bypass summer all together? Nope … Not more than two days later the Rose Bowl Stadium and surrounding areas were covered with a winter blanket (hail, snow and graupel!) At that time, on Tuesday, the weather was neither here nor there; a mixture of clear and cloudy conditions co-mingled and caused all hell to break loose. Varied kinds of white stuff (snow, sleet, hail and graupel), hard rain, wind, rainbows, lightning occurred, and lots of cats and dogs darted to safe places – like under the bed (Brighton shakes at the first rumble of thunder).

Back to Socrates … As he said, we “must rise above Earth.” During last week’s warm period dozens of small satellites ­– 40 out of 49 – were destroyed after they were hit by a geomagnetic storm a day after launch (not lunch!), causing them to fall from orbit and burn up. Such solar “storms” are caused by powerful explosions on the sun’s surface, which spit out plasma and magnetic fields that can hit Earth. It is the same kind of mechanism that creates aurorae like the northern lights, but it can have dangerous effects, too.

The company SpaceX is owned by billionaire Elon Musk. Starlink is expected to provide high-speed internet using thousands of orbiting satellites. “To the top of the atmosphere …” and beyond. Was the Greek philosopher foretelling?

The system is relatively expensive but can be used in places where wired connections cannot. For example, in Tonga where January’s earthquake severed the island’s nation’s undersea data cable, a Starlink station is being built in nearby Fiji to help restore access. When all is said and done Starlink’s impact on the internet accessibility worldwide will be greatly improved.

Weekend weather looks pretty mild with a cooling trend and light winds. Plenty of sunshine on Saturday but then increasing high clouds on Sunday. Come Monday, rain? Low snow levels? On Tuesday, there’s another chance of precipitation and gusty winds. The NWS gurus are expressing uncertainty with these storms.            

So, as said many times before … the weather is up in the air for now!

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