Weather in the Foothills

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
~ Dr. Seuss

Do you remember when summer vacation included Labor Day and continued on for  another week? This information should remain on this page and kept from the eyes of our children. GUSD schools began this week with one full month of summer still remaining. Thankfully, all classrooms are air conditioned. That wasn’t the case back in the ’60s. Those first few weeks were hot!

This past weekend found our family, including the dogs, in the northern-most reaches of California – Humboldt County. Our son’s classes began at the university on Monday the 20th,  as did Glendale’s. The difference in weather conditions is definitely 647 miles apart.

Here the day’s temperatures reached close to 100 degrees under clear skies. There it barely reached 60, with intermittent swirling fog and mist allowing the sun and blue sky to make only brief appearances. A one word description is refreshing. A nice reprieve from our Southern California weather.

This was not a vacation, although it had many qualities of one. Leaving one’s children at college is not fun, even if the location is breathtaking. Redwoods are majestic, but … The rugged, wild coastline is beautiful, but… Well, Thanksgiving is not too far off, is it? Bob Hope Airport is even closer!

First phone call home: “Mom, it is really cold up here. I have worn a jacket every day.” Is this the same kid who wears shorts and flip-flops 11 months out of the year and ran CV cross-country in the rain, with barely a shiver? It truly is a different world up there.

Northern California’s coastal zone climate is defined by cool moist air created by the Pacific Ocean. Annual rainfall totals fall between 60-100 inches. Temperatures vary little from season-to- season. Summers are mild and often foggy with drizzle. Winters are cooler and wetter.

What species can thrive in this environment? Seventy-five hundred college students, lumberjacks, dairy farmers and a variety of locals. But the oldest and best adapted species are the redwood trees dating back 20,000 million years. Not to be forgotten and according to many, somewhere in the fog and amongst the trees, ferns and berries Bigfoot lives.

Summer greeted us upon arrival home with a warm embrace. Always good to be back home. A few more brown patches in the lawn, pumpkins are getting big and most importantly the pool remained algae-free and blue. And the weather?

Red Flag Warning! About as quickly as I typed, the possible lightening-producing thunderstorms dissipated and the warning cancelled. Instead cooler weather ahead with days in the 80s and nights in the 60s is predicted by the NWS. A slight temperature increase comes with the new week.

As you read, a care package (umbrella included) is heading north into the redwoods. Enjoy the cooler days.

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