Weather in the Foothills

“If an apple blossom or a ripe apple could tell its own story, it would be …
… the story of the sunshine that smiled upon it,
of the winds that whispered to it,
Of the birds that sang around it, and the storms that visited it …”
Lucy Larcom, 1824-1893 American poet
NEW Weather in Foothills ART WEB

Last weekend, while the Crescenta Valley basked in the leftover heat of summer, the northern California coast was hit by an early autumn storm. We flew from one extreme to the next.

Take off from Burbank Airport was under warming skies and clear weather but our landing in Humboldt coincided with the jet stream’s annual shift south. Conditions for “the perfect weekend” – a visit with our college kid and a major rain-producing storm. Can it get any better? Well, actually it did.

Before the rain started, we drove back into a grove of redwood trees … to … yes, an apple orchard. I’m well aware of the area’s major cash crop, but apples growing among the “big trees” was unexpected. The farmer offered many samples and a few growing tips.

A good producing tree requires a lot of water. His trees receive 60-plus inches of rainfall plus added irrigation water. Here lies the problem of our sad and fruitless apple tree in La Crescenta – water. Southwest Airlines legally transported five pounds of fruit in our luggage. The cost of our trip was probably less than the expense of growing apples of the same quality here. Can you imagine the bill from the CVWD?

After three inches of rain, strong winds and the possibility of toppling  redwood trees, we returned home. No doubting the arrival of autumn here with overall cooler temperatures, especially nighttime ones. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), our current weather conditions fit the following climatic statistics for October. These reflect an average for the whole of Los Angeles. Due to a higher elevation and a different topography, conditions in the Crescenta Valley (on a given day) are typically hotter, colder, clearer, wetter and windier than those of downtown L.A.

~ The average high temperature is 79 degrees

~ The average low temperature is 59 degrees

~ Average rainfall is 0.66 inches

~ The warmest temperature was 108 degrees on Oct. 4, 1987

~ The coldest temperature was 40 degrees on Oct. 22, 1892

~ The record monthly precipitation is 6.96 inches was set in 1884

~ The mean number of days with measurable precipitation is two.

~ The mean number of days with clear skies is 16

Autumn weather is temperamental. Cloudy and cool dominate currently but come Friday and Saturday, above normal temperatures and Santa Ana winds are predicted. Fire danger is elevated. By Monday, marine layer clouds move onshore and temperatures drop once again.

Within in a 24 hour period, daytime highs change by 20 degrees, from the 70s  into the 90s. Thankfully nights remain stable, in the mid 50s.

The Foothills… oak trees, no redwoods … more oranges than apples. A good place to call home.

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