Weather in the Foothills

“You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea.”
~ A famous quote from “It’s A Wonderful Life”

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, including Hanukkah, is rich with tradition. Last weekend’s annual Montrose Christmas Parade – without question – is considered one of these. Unlike a few past parades, not a single drop of rain fell along the route. Without a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the 60s, only mild weather reigned on this Southern California December night.

High above the crowds lined up and down Honolulu Avenue, Santa Claus flew. He left his sleigh and coursers up north and opted to borrow a helicopter from the Glendale Police Dept. All was good as he shouted “Ho, Ho, Ho!” and “Merry Christmas!” before flying out of sight. A close-to-full moon was left in his wake.

On Sunday, not long after sunset, a full moon climbed up and over the San Gabriel Mountains. As a full moon occurs every month, it could easily go unnoticed; however, this particular lunar sight was a real eye-stopper, appearing slightly larger and brighter against the darkened sky. If you were fortunate, you witnessed the last and only “supermoon” of the year. And while it’s not as spectacular an event as a solar or lunar eclipse, it’s a worthy phenomenon.   

Because the moon follows an elliptical path around Earth, sometimes it is 14% closer to us. When that proximity coincides with the full moon phase, the moon becomes 30% brighter in the night sky. The event is referred to as a “supermoon.”

So, as the week began, all was calm, all was (extra moonlight) bright as the holidays approached. And then the Santa Ana winds began to howl. Once started, they continued on and on. Low humidity and moisture-deprived vegetation only added to these appropriately sometimes called “devil winds.” All hell broke loose as wind-driven fires erupted across the region. We are no strangers to said conditions; however, these are prolonged.

Continued moderate to strong offshore winds and warmer temperatures summarize our 10-day weather forecast. According to the National Weather Service in Oxnard, in December 1951 into January 1952 offshore winds blew for 24 consecutive days!

Dear Santa, Please bring us rain.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at