“Thy fate is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Fate and rainfall have commonalities. They, for the most part, remain unknown until they are upon us. At about this time every year, we begin to wonder about the weather for the approaching winter. The most questioned aspect is the likely rainfall amounts. Our interest is perhaps heightened because of five years of drought and last year’s slightly above normal rainfall totals. Several more years of good precipitation are vital to completely replenish our water supplies.

So what is the likelihood for “good precipitation?” Turning to a select few and varied weather and climatology sources, we can find the answers and opinions. According to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, Southern California can anticipate drought conditions; therefore, a dry autumn is predicted. Rain-wise, winter brings equal chances of normal, below normal and above normal rain.

“That means they do not know. There is no strong signal (neither an El Niño or La Niña condition prevails),” said Bill Patzert, climatologist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. In speaking to him personally, he shared the following: “We are transitioning into fall and are as dry as the proverbial bone.”

Looking ahead to our rainy season, the equatorial Pacific is showing a cooling tendency. La Nina?

“Too early to call!” answered Bill. “But, as noted, ‘trending toward drier.’ Not good news for our long-gone lawns. As we head into Santa Ana wind season, fire danger is super-elevated. Be careful out there.”

Based on fish species spotted by fishermen in San Diego, Ken Clark, a meteorologist for AccuWeather.com, concluded that warm Pacific water has attracted the fish from southern waters. He said that warm waters add vapor to a storm’s potential, i.e., increased rainfall.

Weather for the upcoming week is a bit of a toss up, according to the NWS. It offers two scenarios; the first is for “a low cloud pattern and slightly below normal temperatures” and the second, “sunny pattern with maximum temperatures well above normal.”

No matter; fall is a beautiful time of year in the foothills. When skies are clear they offer a color of blue like no other time of year.

As the weather remains up in the air for the present time and in the coming months, I wouldn’t rush out and invest in one of the 39 U.S. umbrella manufacturers.


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