Weather in the Foothills

“It’s not a bad lesson to learn in the bleaker months; how you view a storm is a question of perspective – provided you find the right rock to watch it from, it could be the most incredible thing you’ll ever witness.”

~ Dan Stevens, English actor, “Downton Abbey

Right on schedule the rain began Monday morning, continuing on and on throughout the day. It was a good, old-fashioned rainstorm. As far as the grand total goes, La Crescenta was all over the map. CVWD measured 1.15 at its location while at the tip-top of Lowell Avenue approximately two inches fell. We live halfway between the two points and the gauge read close to 1.50 inches! Good show as the NWS had predicted less than .50 inch in the areas south of Point Conception.

Weather watching and meteorology – both are founded in science. Even so, for many they’re just a hobby. But good and accurate weather forecasting is not to be taken lightly; it may determine the eventual outcome of an emergency.                                  

In years past, most people were informed about weather matters from television, radio and the newspaper. In most cases, these sources simply disseminated the National Weather Service forecast (today, most still pass on National Weather Service watches and warnings). But the bottom line is while people may have accessed weather information frequently the weather information they were receiving came from a relatively small number of sources.

With the arrival of the Internet, and social media in particular, the landscape has changed. With these tools, you can access weather forecasts, information and insights from meteorologists from all around the world. Social media allows you to follow the thoughts and insights of thousands of meteorologists worldwide 24/7. But what about days gone by? Predictions most often depended on personal observations or simply a person’s view to the furthest reaches of the horizon. But there is one often overlooked source for weather news.

        During the early 1800s Dr. James Tilton, a Revolutionary War veteran and later surgeon general of the U.S. Army, ordered every Army hospital surgeon to keep a diary of the weather. Thirteen U.S. Army forts began recording daily weather observations as well. This is the first organized weather observation network in the country. In the mid-to-late 1800s, volunteer observers were managed by the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. These station networks eventually evolved into the weather bureau’s Cooperative Observer Network, which continues to collect data today for the National Weather Service. 

No rain in the forecast – for now. What about on Halloween? After a few stellar autumn days, clouds and much cooler temperatures are expected over the weekend and into next week. May your final days of October be filled with treats!

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