Weather in the Foothills

“Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink.” 

~ English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” 1798

The quotation tells of a mariner deprived of water as his boat is surrounded by undrinkable salt water. The wind had died, water stilled and the sun beat hot. The words are often used, out of their original context, in reference to our years of drought.

As our rainy season comes to an end, many of us are beginning to feel a little (or a lot) cheated by the prediction of a “Godzilla” El Niño. Back in August 2015, JPL climatologist Bill Patzert proclaimed, “These storms are imminent.” Presently our total rainfall total stands at 15.20 inches, almost 10 inches below normal. What happened?

Well, there is “water, water, every where” … but just not here. As we braced for the winter deluge with expectations of being hit full-on by a series of El Niño-fueled storms, it was our neighbors to the north who received what we had anticipated – rain and snow. We were left holding the sand bag! Climatologists have a possible explanation. In simple and non-scientific terms, the strength of this winter’s El Niño was so powerful, weather patterns and their resulting storms were pushed further to the north than expected. Perhaps, though, the water landed where it is most beneficial.

Recent storms have filled California’s biggest reservoirs to above average capacity and left the northern Sierra snowpack at 103% normal. Snowpack in the Rockies, the water source for the Colorado River, is at 92%. The main water source for the Crescenta Valley is local wells; the rest is from the Colorado River.

Spring officially arrives Saturday evening with weather to fit the occasion. Mild temperatures and mostly clear skies are predicted into next week. With a slight chance for rain on Monday and into March’s final days, our hope for water now depends on April showers.

Sue Kilpatrick is a

Crescenta Valley resident and

Official Skywarn Spotter for the

National Weather Service. Reach her at