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SCV sees change in weather

Unique environment also means unique climate patterns

Posted: April 23, 2009 9:47 p.m.
Updated: April 24, 2009 10:00 a.m.
Suddenly, it's cool.

In a matter of days, the Santa Clarita Valley has seen a transformation from summer-like 90-degree highs to cool, cloudy conditions.

This change is the result of the presence of a strong area of low atmospheric pressure covering Southern California.

Zones of high and low pressures typically move in a pattern from the west to the east, said John Makevich, a College of the Canyons instructor who specializes in earth science and meteorology. A zone of low pressure can replace a zone of high pressure, he said.

And that's what's happened here.

"Because of the way the low pressure is positioned, it allows for a good amount of marine layer to come over the area," Makevich said.

A marine layer is a low-hanging layer of low clouds and fog that has its genesis over the Pacific Ocean.

The change in weather brings temperatures that are slightly below the usual low-70-degree temperatures common at this time of year. These lower temperatures probably will remain in place for the next several days, he said.

"The marine deck of clouds is so thick there's even some drizzle forecasted for certain areas," he said.

The National Weather Service forecasts a chance of drizzle before 11 a.m. today. Otherwise the Santa Clarita Valley will remain mostly cloudy, with a high in the 60s with a 20-percent chance of showers heading into the weekend.

The Santa Clarita Valley varies from the rest of Southern California, and that means it gets a different weather pattern.

"The Southern California area is essentially a desert-like area under the influence of the ocean," he said. "The Santa Clarita Valley is a bit disconnected from some of that ocean flow. It's a bit elevated and disconnected from the overall flow of air that would come from the ocean," he said.

That prevents the Santa Clarita Valley community from seeing the same degree of low clouds and fog that might be found in other areas of Southern California, he said.

"It sort of creates a unique environment," he said.


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