Weather in the Foothills


“So mellow the gentle breath of
June day breeze.
The birds rejoicing on the leafy
– Francis Duggan, Irish poet,
lives in Australia

This week’s weather presented us
with a warm and beautiful Memorial
Day, as a short lived high pressure
hovered over southern California.
Most of spring has been mild, but
there has been a constant pattern of
change – warmer then cooler, then
warmer again. With the official arrival
of summer a few weeks away, is it possible
that we may have another cooler
than normal summer ?
Remember last fall? Long-range
forecasters were predicting a dry rainy
season, courtesy of the ocean phenomenon
La Niña. Here we are now, with
34.65 inches of rain locally and a snow
pack in the Sierras at 165% above average.
What happened?

As explained by Bill Patzert, a
climatologist and oceanographer at
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
La Cañada, the problem wasn’t with
La Niña itself, but the influence of another
factor, the “negative arctic oscillation.”
More simply put, a shift in the
jet stream allowed cold, arctic air to
break out of the arctic region and flow
into the continental U.S., bringing
heavy snow to much of the country,
along with wind, cold and above average
rainfall to southern California.

With all due respect, I quote JPL
scientist, Bill Patzert. “It makes me
look bad – last fall I was telling everybody
there was an 80% probability we
were going to have a dry winter, but I
guess I needed a little humbling.
Mother Nature is cruel to longrange
forecasters, so this forecasting
business is not for wimps.”
To unnecessarily prove himself,
brave weatherman Patzert is again
willing to read the ocean currents
and hazard some odds, and predict
the weather pattern for our upcoming
summer. So, I present to you, Crescenta
Valley’s weather for summer 2011:
“Usually the summer in Southern
California goes as the ocean temperatures
off the West Coast dictate.” Using
an ocean temperature “anomalies”
map that indicates unusually cool
(blue) ocean water, Bill Patzert concludes,
“That would make it a coolerthan-
normal summer, because we’ll
get more of a marine layer. But we
always get that rogue week or two of
heat wave.”

The current conditions and next
week’s forecast seem to be in agreement
with him.

At this time, one day before the C.V.
Weekly goes to press, the National
Weather Service is watching a low
pressure system make its way down
the coast. Their interest is especially
piqued, due to the rarity of such an
event in June. Once again the culprit
is the jet stream’s location. Looks like
Friday will be the warmest day this
week, with daytime temperatures
close to 80 and nighttime in the mid
50s. Chances look good for scattered
showers over the weekend. Get those
umbrellas ready! How long will this
last and what about next week? In the
exact words of the NWS: “The forecast
past Saturday is literally up in the

Sue Kilpatrick is a longtime CV
resident and amateur weather
watcher. Reach her at