Weather in the Foothills

“Trees go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves…”     
– John Muir

And the winds blew, and then blew some more…

Besides a downed Pepper tree in the front yard, we had relatively little damage. The biggest inconvenience for many of us was the loss of electricity across the foothills. As the hours passed, dependency on this power source became apparent. It was too cold and too dark. And the winds continued to blow some more…

Suddenly, within hours of the start time of the Montrose Christmas Parade, the blowing came to an end. Santa was safely navigated by helicopter down Honolulu Avenue and didn’t even lose his hat! With clear skies and temperatures in the 40s, it was the perfect parade weather for a December night.

Eventually our power was restored. Southern California Edison told us initially it might not be until Tuesday. Fortunately it was only 48 hours. During this short time I could really appreciate those who live where winter storms and blizzards are common. In these areas, temperatures drop below freezing and until snowplows come through, nobody goes anywhere, anytime soon. Considering this, I wondered why we felt like such babies this past week. After all, relatively thinking, our Santa Ana windstorm was not huge in comparison. What it comes down to is preparation.

Last week, Wednesday morning with winds howling and the house cold, my almost first thought was coffee. Can it be made without electricity? Well, not with a Mr. Coffee Maker. Now what? Maybe boil some water, but there was no instant coffee in the cupboard. Think, think, think (as Pooh would have done with such a dilemma).

Looking around the kitchen for an idea, I spotted on the windowsill my antique aluminum, two-cup stovetop percolator. Before long, this decoration turned functional.

I lit the gas burner, put water in the little pot, filled the basket with ground Starbucks and put all the parts back together. Before long, the perking began as the bubbling water hit the inside of the glass top. Seriously, it was the best cup of coffee I have ever tasted!

As the day progressed I formulated a few more ideas, which made life a little easier, and also thought of some items to keep handy for next time:

1. Flashlights next to every bed and in every bathroom.

2. Blankets that are easy to locate.

3. Landline phone – the kind with the cord connected to the handset.

4. Hand cranked or solar powered radio (some include cellphone chargers).

5. Manual can opener.

6. Knowledge of how to open the garage door manually.

7. Turn off computer to protect from a power surge when electricity is restored.

8. Generator to keep refrigerator running.

For a complete list, visit

Upcoming weather will continue with below normal temperatures with daytime highs around 60 and nights in the upper 30s. Cold Santa Anas are expected for Friday and Sunday but not as strong as last week.

The NWS is “up in the air” about rain for Monday and Tuesday.




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