Weather in the Foothills

“Tell me what’s more beautiful; how the moon lets the sun shine throughout the day or the way the sun lets the moon glimmer at night?”
~ “s.b.” Sabrina, 19-year-old Canadian poet

An unexpected shift in the wind blew the validity right out of last week’s forecast. Weather in the Foothills predicted a cooling marine influence; instead, desert air turned up the heat. Fortunately, the nights remained cool. The last days of summer are hanging tough until the calendar says otherwise.

Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018 at 6:54 p.m. PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)/CVT (Crescenta Valley Time) marks the official start of autumn or fall. Here’s a fun thought … This day begins as summer ends in autumn. It just so happens that 2018’s Harvest Moon almost coincides with fall’s arrival; it rises only two days later.

The Harvest Moon is defined as the first full moon of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. In the “land down under,” i.e. Southern Hemisphere, it’s the first full moon of spring. So what’s the big deal about this particular moon? After all, there are 11 others during the year.

For several evenings, the moon will rise at about sunset. This results in an almost continual light source as the moon takes over the sun’s duty. In days past, the extra light allowed farmers to harvest summer-grown crops well into the nighttime hours. Hence, it’s called the “Harvest Moon!”

The mystique surrounding the Harvest Moon has led many to believe it to be bigger and more orange than it really is. At sunset, all full moons are near the horizon. From here, you are looking through a thicker layer of atmosphere, creating an orange-tinged moon. Bigger? Sadly, it’s all an illusion.

Weather-wise, the clear blue skies of autumn arrive.

“Shine on, Harvest Moon!”

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