Weather in the Foothills

“I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.”~ Helen Keller

The weather … yesterday, today, tomorrow and next week, there’s no escaping the weather, and the forecast for all is hot. Recently, weather reporters share a commonality in their words. According to them, a heat wave is when temperatures exceed 100 degrees and a cool-down is when temperatures drop into the 90s. Might this mean when temperatures dip to the 70s, there is an impending ice age?

Until the temperatures drop to a tolerable point, what can we do to survive or at least stay comfortable? A few weeks ago, I wrote about the ingenuity of the Romans; they transported snow from the Alps to stay cool. Being an age-old problem, people have devised some pretty unique methods.

The oldest example of controlling a home’s climate was our ancestors’ choice: caves. A deep, thick-walled one could maintain a year-around temperature close to 50 degrees. The use of adobe brick by early Californians had a similar effect. The architectural features seen in older homes, such as high ceilings and deep porches, were no doubt incorporated to keep the inhabitants cool during the summer months. People had other personal methods for keeping cool as well, such as hanging wet laundry in doorways, sleeping under refrigerated sheets, and keeping one’s underwear in the freezer.

One of the lovelier ideas comes from my grandmother. In the early 1900s, she and her 11 siblings placed old quilts out in the wheat fields that surrounded their Kansas farmhouse. There they slept, under the stars.

For many of us “baby boomers,” summertime was miserably hot as most homes and schools were without air conditioning. I guess we just didn’t know how miserable!

Memories of summer, for me, don’t include “miserable;” my waking hours were spent in the cool water of our swimming hole (pool.)

Seven day forecast: hot!

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