Weather in the Foothills

“The Olympic Games are the quadrennial celebration of the springtime of humanity.”
~Pierre de Coubentin, founder, International Olympic Committee, Organizer of 1896 Olympics in Athens

Let the Games begin! And they did, under the dark ominous skies of London.

But first, Queen Elizabeth needed to catch a ride to the games. She sat at her desk in Buckingham Palace, finishing a few last minute royal tasks, waiting. Her corgis abruptly announced the arrival of her escort.

“Good evening, Mr. Bond,” Her Majesty said, before taking off in a helicopter. The “palace pooches” looked sadly up at the clear blue skies as their Queen Mum left for the Olympic Stadium and the opening ceremony. The weather changed so dramatically during this short flight, I thought – perhaps the filming was not sequential. No, all outdoor scenes were shot on the same day – early evening. Sunset occurred close to 9 p.m. as it does in mid-summer. Somehow she arrived (parachute drop?) and appeared in her seat next to her husband Prince Philip. Quite an evening for a queen and not a drop of rain fell upon her royal crown.

As the women’s cycling event made its way through the winding roads and streets of London, spectators watched from under umbrellas. Rain is not uncommon during the summer and throughout the whole year. Concurrently, watching from the other side of the world, we basked in the typical 95 degree heat of southern California. Two very different climates.

We basically know what makes our weather “tick.” But in the land of Big Ben, the main influence on the weather and climate is the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean. England’s northern latitude and warm waters of the Gulf Stream are also contributing factors. The climate of the U.K. is referred as “temperate maritime.” Temperatures during the winter rarely dip below freezing and summers average in the 70s. “Changeable” is used to describe the weather and “mild” the climate.

It was once said by Mark Twain, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a few minutes.” People commonly use this quote (change location) in describing their local weather. The British are more than entitled.

As we sit in front of the “tele” watching the Olympics unfold, our eyes are focused primarily on the athletes. What about the weather? The position of the London Organizing Committee is simple: rain will not stop the play. They concluded, “We’re a fairly sturdy lot.”

And on this side of the pond, not much change. The NWS description of the extended forecast  is “bland.”  I’m calling it the “90 – 65 degree doldrums.”

Looking for excitement? Watch the events (including the weather) in London.

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