Weather in the Foothills

“The dome of the sky has an extraordinary blue; the color of the sunlight is that of pale sulfur, sweet and enchanting.

-A letter written by Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo

Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings are known for their vibrant colors; contemporary impressionist artists paled in comparison. It seems blue was his favorite, but yellow became an obsession. Art historians remain unsure if Van Gogh’s use of bright colors was an attempt to pull himself out of depression or a side effect from medication. Another thought is based on the weather. The artist disliked the often gloomy and rainy conditions in Paris. An escape to the countryside in southern France lifted his spirits and gave inspiration for much of his work. While there, he wrote to his brother, “I never get tired of the blue sky.”

Autumn may be my favorite season. One reason is the beautiful, clear blue skies in October. The color is deeper and of a slightly different hue. But am I just imagining this or do the skies really become bluer in the fall?

Because with the seasonal change in the tilt of the Earth’s axis relative to the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the sun, in autumn rays of sunlight travel through more atmosphere before reaching us.  The scientific term is Rayleigh Scattering. Simply put, more blue light as opposed  to green and red light is scattered into the atmosphere and reaches our eyes. Very simply, the landscape becomes bathed in a golden light, and the sky a deep blue.

Two other contributing factors to autumn’s blue sky phenomenon are low humidity and the contrast of fall leaves against the sky.         

Offshore winds are likely to be the main theme for the next seven days of weather. The only variation will be their direction. Beginning as northerly winds, come Sunday they’ll shift to northeasterly ones i.e. Santa Ana winds. At present, 40 mph winds and temperatures nudging 90 degrees are forecast.  There is some debate among NWS meteorologist concerning wind velocity- stronger or weaker? As usual, especially when speaking of weather, the final outcome is still “up in the air!”


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