Stone Cold Unicoast

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“I would say happy new year but it’s not happy; it’s exactly the same as last year except colder.” – Robert Clark

All is sunny and bright this New Year’s Day 2016: the orange trees are heavy with ripe fruit, the maples are ablaze with reds and golds, the roses are in bloom, and SoCal has been cold cold cold. So as the sun shines outside, I have a fire going inside.

I imagine people in Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia would laugh their heads off at this last, but 30 degrees is something on the Unicoast. Two years after returning from San Francisco, I thought I was just feeling the usual winter weather more than ever, but I did a reality check just the same. Yes, my coworkers and neighbors assure me, it’s a lot colder than usual this year.

In San Francisco you handle the cold with layers: A camisole. Under a shirt. Under a sweater. Topped with a parka. Add a hat and a scarf. And don’t forget your umbrella.

Los Angeles is different. A transplanted New Yorker summed it up pretty well: you don’t need separate seasonal wardrobes. Just add a coat in the winter. I don’t have a real winter coat these days. Just drawers and hangers of layers.

SoCal has its weather eye on more than the cold this winter. An El Niño is predicted this winter–a storm system blowing huge amounts of rain in from the ocean. Equally forceful are the NorCal pineapple express storms that roar across the Pacific from Hawaii. In my San Francisco apartment, my 8′-by-9′ ocean-facing windows took the full brunt, and once I was certain a window would blow in from the force of the wind.

Ah, California.