Feeling kind of dumb (and cold)

When I moved to L.A. in May, I was under the impression that the coldest it ever got here was maybe about 70 degrees. I think I got this idea from years of watching California TV shows — nobody ever looked cold on 90210 or Melrose Place or The O.C. — and because there are palm trees everywhere (I thought they only grew in places that were really warm all year) and because when I visited L.A. last February, it was 13 degrees in New York and 70 here. I told everyone back home that I wanted to move to L.A. so I could wear tube tops and flip flops year round. I guess they were all under the same mistaken impression about L.A.’s weather, because nobody bothered to correct me.

I do love it here, in my cute little apartment with a swimming pool. But instead of the “summer all year” weather I was expecting, it’s in the 30s at night and 50s during the day, and the gas person isn’t coming to light the pilot light in my heater until Wednesday. Instead of tube tops and flip flops, I’m wearing lots of layers and piling extra blankets on the bed. What’s next? Is it going to snow or something?

15 Replies to “Feeling kind of dumb (and cold)”

  1. I heard somewhere that an astonishing number of people move to So. Cal from snowy locations after seeing the gorgeous weather during the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. While the current weather probably isn’t as bad as where lots of folks came from, you’re probably not the only one taken aback by L.A.’s occasional chilly climates.

  2. 30’s? Has it really been in the 30’s? It does get colder here than a lot of people think, but don’t let the cold snap trick you. It rarely ever gets below 40, especially on the south side of the hill and only once in the seven years that I’ve lived here as it ever dipped below freezing that I know of (and that was way out in the valley somewhere).

    The current weather.com forecast is listing mid to low 60’s for the high and mid to high 40’s for the low for the next week and a half. That’s far more typical, though still a bit chilly. It may not be summer all the time, but considering I can surf all year long it’s not that far off. Of course, if it really was in the 70’s and 80’s all winter (and sometimes it is anyway), can you imagine what it would be like in the summer? I’ll take our warm winters and cool summers.

  3. They say your blood thins after one so-called mild winter out here. All I know is after 12 years out here, there aren’t enough layers in the world to get me through a Midwestern winter anymore.

  4. It’s worse out here because you’re not expecting it. When I lived in Philly, I was fine with the cold weather, even the blizzard of ’96. When I moved back to LA, suddenly 45 degrees was too cold for me.

    Also, as has been mentioned, there is a 20-30 degree change in temperature between day and night, something I don’t think East Coasters have to deal with.

    And the good weather every Rose Parade is a freak of nature.

  5. Holy crap, Lisa. That’s cold. That’s what you get for living on the 818 side of the hills! It’s nice and warm over here in the 9-double-oh’s. :)

  6. Me Too. The 323 side of the hill has a coastal climate. I grew up inland (La Verne) and am no stranger to frost and hail. There are always a few weeks in fall in and winter when the morning grass is crunchy. The trophy of our annual football rivalry game was a smudge pot, emblematic of the erstwhile citrus industry in the area, and useful for keeping your fruit from freezing.

  7. Felipe, make fun if you want. But prior to May, I lived in New York City for 7 years, and I’ve never had an apartment before where I could control my own heat. I opened the heater and looked at it. There were big chunks of dust, but no instructions. This little voice in my head said “Don’t touch anything, or you’ll blow up the building.” I’m choosing to trust that little voice. (I’ve learned that when I don’t, I get in trouble.) But I am going to ask for a lesson so I’ll know how to do it in the future.

  8. Hey, new person! It gets cold here, but not unbearable. You’ll be fine. It’s just one of those things you have to reconcile against your image of the sunny Los Angeles area.

    Also, what part of upstate NY are you from? Because I’m from upstate NY, too. blogging.la transplants unite!

  9. Kathleen, I’m from a little town called Saugerties (it’s about an hour south of Albany). When I lived there, I thought upstate meant way up near Canada. But then I moved to NYC and discovered that upstate means anything north of Manhattan.

  10. I prefer today’s sunlit high of 62 degrees to NYC’s rainy high of 50.

    It may be chilly, but your pipes won’t burst. I think that’s an improvement.

    BTW: Don’t do flip-flops. Ever.

  11. Lisa: I’m from waaaay upstate – Watertown, north of Syracuse. It’s like an hour and a half drive from the Canadian border, if that. But yes, Manhattanites tend to think that even White Plains is “upstate”.

  12. Yeah, I’m not brave enough to light my pilot light either. The Gas Company (what kind of name is that, btw?) is coming tomorrow.. I just had this image of striking a match and moving it around the heater, and kabooom.

  13. The weird thing about the Rose Parade is that it comes right smack in the middle of LA’s winter rainy season*, and yet it’s never once rained on the parade in all the years since it was first televised.

    It’s rained the day before the parade; it’s rained the day after the parade; it’s even rained on the day of the parade itself – but only in the morning before the parade actually starts.

    But never in more than 50 years of nationwide television coverage has it rained on the parade itself.

    And so every year, people across the US watch floats made of blooming flowers parade down Colorado Boulevard, almost always in that brilliantly clear, sparkling sunlit weather that LA only gets in between rainstorms. And most of the time, they’re hip-deep in one of the first really big snowfalls of the season.

    About two weeks later, the annual cavalcade of U-Hauls starts pouring in.

    *Note to LA newbies: LA generally has three rainy seasons:

    1) The fall rains that extinguish fire season in mid-to-late November. (This year’s 6-inch+ rainfall in October – which effectively cancelled fire season – was utterly freakish. It doesn’t usually do that.) These rains are usually light, and sometimes it doesn’t rain at all – just gets cloudy and damp.

    2) The winter rains that generally start about a week before Christmas, and last until early-to-mid January (or even late January to early February in really rainy years) This is when LA usually gets the bulk of its rainfall. These are usually, cold, drizzly storms that last for two or three days.

    3) The spring storms that start in late February or early March, and last until mid-to-late April. These warmer, faster-moving storms generally produce less overall rain than the winter storms, but they sometimes include the biggest storms of the season, which can dump up to 30 inches of rain on the San Gabriels, and – prior to our modern-day flood control channels – used to cause catastophic flooding.

    But it only snows once every fifty years or so. :-)

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