Weather in the Foothills

“The sea! The sea! The open sea! The blue, the fresh, the ever free! Without a mark, without a bound, It runneth the earth’s wide regions round; It plays with the clouds; it mocks the skies; Or like a cradled creature lies.”

~ Bryan Proctor, English poet 17th & 18th Century

Weather … A “master manipulator” of man, creature and all earthly experience. The creator of landforms, builder of empires and civilizations … nothing goes untouched by weather. Day-to day it’s called weather; year after year the established weather patterns become climate. Every Friday, for over a year and a half, my husband, my dog and I escape. Up the coast we have a magic place – a bluff overlooking a vast expanse of the Pacific. There, watching the sky and water, I ponder many things. One of these brought forth their connectiveness with weather.

Why is the ocean blue? There are two major reasons why the ocean appears blue. Compare the water on a cloudy day and a sunny day as the water acts as a mirror for the sky. If the sky is grey, the water will be as well. Under a blue sky, the water takes on a rich blue color. Now the complex but simplified science behind water color.

Water scatters short wavelength light – such as blue – into the atmosphere. The longer wavelengths – red, purple and orange – pass through the water and disappear into the depths of the ocean. On to waves …

Ask a surfer about current weather conditions. Why? Their quest for the perfect wave! Waves are generated by wind out on the ocean. Starting as ripples, the wind pushes them along and they slowly become waves. But how does the wind come to be? As the sun heats the air it expands and rises. When air rises, cooler air rushes in to replace it. This movement of air is wind. But don’t let anyone tell you this wind stuff is simple … just look at how difficult it is to predict the weather more than one week ahead! Two weeks is even harder. Maybe we should just consult with a surfer instead of a meteorologist. Better yet, a meteorologist who surfs!

The light rains of last Monday may just about conclude our spring weather as the marine layer has disappeared. Temperatures are on the rise. Temperatures in the 90s to around 105 are predicted for the valleys, foothills (La Crescenta) and mountains into the middle of next week.  And then, summer arrives on June 21. The barely-used umbrellas may officially retire to the closet and get some rest; nature willing, next year’s rainy season will be measured by the bucket and not the inch!

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