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The weather in the parts of California that most of us are familiar with is generally rather mild. Some of the hottest temperatures every recorded were in the Mojave Desert, but not many of us even know how to get there. Some of the heaviest snowfall ever recorded was near Tahoe, but many of us think of that as almost Nevada. San Jose, Los Angeles and the most populous regions enjoy mostly comfortable weather throughout they year.
‘Drought’ is often an inaccurate description of the naturally prolonged dry chaparral and desert weather, as if it is abnormal. There would be no chaparral or desert if it rained here as much as it does in other climates. What is considered to be normal rainfall in some regions would be disastrous to regions that do not normally get so much precipitation. Drought does happen here sometimes, but it is not as common as outsiders believe it to be.
Once in a while, we get something that really is strange. The floods and mudslides of the Winter of 1982 were disastrous. The wicked frosts of late 1990 were the worst in recorded history, even though they would not have been much of a problem in most other climates farther inland. On the morning of December 1 in 2011, Pasadena and the surrounding regions of the San Gabriel Valley experienced historically strong and destructive winds.
When I went to Los Angeles shortly afterward, I was amazed to see that pieces of the glass facades of some of the skyscrapers had been stripped away. Thrashed fronds of queen palms hung limply as if a hurricane had gone through. My colleague got these startling pictures of destroyed Canary Island date palms, which are famously resilient to wind, in Leimert Park, about fifteen miles southwest of Pasadena.

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7 thoughts on “Pasadena Windstorm

  1. Every once in a while we get pretty strong winds in Coastal So Cal. A couple of years ago, an apartment complex next to where I live lost 5 or 6 large pine trees from a slope in a rather furious overnight wind. And during the past winter, there were numerous tree casualties during some of our rain storms.

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  2. Horrifying that the wind could strip glass off a skyscraper. When I was a high-rise construction I used to watch the wind cause quite deep waves across the glass of adjacent buildings – almost like a scene from the Matrix.

    I realise the wind was very strong but do those palms ever tip over, root-plate and all, or do they normally just snap off above ground or at the ground level?

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    1. Those palms NEVER tip over. To me, this is scarier than the facades getting torn off of the skyscrapers. Palms are VERY stable and structurally sound. These in the pictures broke. One broke off at the top of the trunk. The other broke off at the base. Palm trunks are heavier than tree trunks made of wood!

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