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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
May 5, 2017     The Catalina Islander
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May 5, 2017

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Peak Fishing Times This $~eek Recreational Forecast anning Index Watson From page 1 cool, a nice breeze blowing from the northwest. I was on my way 6v~ertown to visit family that day, a twice- yearly trip to Chico in northern California for a week's visit. I was to be on the 2 p.m. boat to Long Beach and had all my bags packed. It begins The first hint of trouble came around noon when a chorus of police and fire sirens could be heard screaming through town. My squeeze at the time, the lovely Kristina Throndson, phoned me from her job on Marilla Avenue to report that the vehicles were on their way up that same street, headed to the interior. A plane crash, we won- save a forest or someone's town. dered. This was back in the days Perhaps a car accident or when they were still using B-17 something equally Flying Fortresses to awful? fight wildfires. Before long, news In other words, I began to spread of a was no stranger to the fire in the interior and nature of wildland it wasn't long before the fires and how quickly tell-tale wisps of smoke they can become a began to show over the real handful, ridge above town. It So, when I stepped seems a work crew in out on my front porch, the hills had decided to bags in hand, osten- cut steel cable with aJim Watson sibly tO head for the circular saw with a brisk Columnist boat, I looked up and breeze blowing. The saw that growing resulting sparks quickly found streak Of brown smoke heading fuel and the game was on. from the interior straight over My Dad spent 30 yearsflyingAvalon. for an aerial fire fighting outfitI knew what that meant. and I grew up watching his DC-4 I set my bags down and said (and later P-3 Orion)frequently aloud to no one in particular, flying over town on its way to "This is going to be one of those Friday Saturday Sunday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Partly CloudyMostly CloudyFew Showers Few Showers Sunny Sunny Sunny 66 / 58 63 / 55 55 1 54 57 / 47 6 l / 50 61 / 53 63 / 58 Preeip Chance: 5% Precip Chance: 20% Precip Chance: 30% Precip Chance: 30% Precip Chance: 20% Precip Chance: 20'7t P~"cip Chance: 10% 10-2131415161718110111+1 0-2: Low, 3-5: Moderate. 6-7: High, 8-10: Very High, tl+: F.xtreme Exl~SUre Last Week's Almanac Date ~ Low Normals PreciE 4/25 64 52 64/500.03" 4t26 73 57 64/500.00" 4/27 69 53 65/510.IX)" 4/28 72 59 65/510.00" 4/29 76 62 65/510.03" 4/30 77 65 65/510.00" 5/1 78 62 65/510.03" Tides ]'his ~eek ~Vealher Trivia Can history be used to predict the specific larulfall of fiaure hurricanes? .tln3~ nlt ~ulg(I lno4llh~ SIW~K Off uaql ptlE ~{anJls ~q ,{l~tu SL'~Av "oN. :aaA~.~llv Sun/Moon Chart This Week Weather History Ma~, 5~ 1989 - Thunderstorms swept across Georgia and the Carolinas during the late ~fftemoon and evening hours, spawning 17 tornadoes. A tornado at Toccoa, Ga. injured 15 people. A tornado at Chesnee, S.C. killed two and injured 35 others. Today we will see partly cloudy skies with a high temperature of 66, humidity of 67%. West southwest wind 3 to 7 mph. The record high temperature for tt~iay is 85 set in 1953. Expect mostly cloudy skies tonight with an overnight low of 58. Southwest wind 2 to 7 mph. The record low for tonight is45 set in 1964. Saturday, skies will be mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers, high temperature of 63, humidity of 76%. Southwest wind 3 to 13 mph. Saturday night, skies will be mostly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers, overnight low of 55. Southwest wind 13 mph. _AM gM Fri 8:10-10:108:33-10:33 Sat 8:55-10:559:18-11:18 S un 9:40-11:4010:02-12:02 Mort 10:23-12:23 10:45-12:45 Tue -- l 1:07-1:07 Wed I 1:29-1:29 11:52-1:52 Thu 12:14-2:1412:37-2:37 Avalon Catalina Harbor ~ LO~ ~ Low ~ ~ Low ~ Low Fri 6:33 am 12:55 am 7:34 pm h0l pm Fri 6:38 amt:03 am 7:39 pm1:09pm Sat 7:3l aml:45mng:05pm 1:41 pm Sat 7:36am l:53am8:10pm t:49pm Sun g:19 am2:27 am 8:32 pnl 2:14 pm Sun 8:24 am2:35 am 8:37 pm. 2:22 pm Moll 9:01 am3:04 am 8:57 pm2:43 pm Mon 9:06 am3:12 am 9:02 pm2:51 pm Tue 9:40 am3:38 am 9:21 pm3:10 pm Tue 9:45 am3:46 am 9:26 pm3:18 pm Wed 10:[gam4:lOam9:45pm 3:36pm Wed 10:23am4:18am9:50pmn3:44pm Thu 10:55am4:42am10:llpm4:01 pm Thu ll:00am4:50amlo:16pm4:09pro Full Fri 5/10 Sat Sun New 5125 Sunrise Sunset Moonrise Moonset 6:01 a.m.7:39 p.m.3:06 p.m,3:53 a.m. 6:00 a.m.7:40 p.m,4:03 p.m.4:26 a.m. 5:59 a.m.7:41 p.m.4:59 p.m.4:59 a.m. 5:58 a.m.7:42 p.m,5:53 p.m.5:32 a.m. 5:57 a.m.7:42 p,m.6:48 p.m.5:32 a.m. 5:57 a.m.7:43 p.m.7:41 p.m.6:07 a.m. 5:56 a.m.7:44 p.m.8:35 p.m.6:43 a.m, Moll ,.C Tue Fi. 5/18 Wed 6ll Thu We have had a really crazy spring with mostly cloudy evenings sprinkled with a few spectacular nights. If We get clear skies in the next week or so before moonlight blasts away the stars, take a moment to become familiar with the Big Dipper. During late April and throughout May, it appears right after dark at the top of the northern sky, upside down, shining with distinction even frt~n urban locales. The most ffunous star pattern to Americans is not even a coustellatkm. The Big Dipper repre~llts the brightest stars of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, a constellation that can only be seen ill its full splendor from rural locations. Witnessed from suburban and more urban ~taces like the Lehigh Valley, its simply the Dipper, three stars that represent its handle, the tail of the bear, and four lanainaries tbr its cup, the bears Ixxty. What is interesting about most of the Big Dipper is that its stars belong to a small star cluster that appears huge in the sky becau~ of its closeness to us. Other members include Gemma of Corona Borealis (Northern Crown), Beta Aurigae (Charioteer), mid Delta Aquarii (Water Bearer), amo0g another three dozen luminaries. The Ursa Major cluster may even include the brightest luminary of the night, Sirius, the Dog Star,-although a recent study indicates that Sirius may be too young to be a member of the group. In the Dipper only the two end stars, Dubhe on the left and Alkaid on the right, are not part of the Ursa Major cluster. When viewed with bin(ycutars, the end stars can be ~en to have different colors compared to the cluster stars, yellow-orange for Dubhe and a bluer color for Alkaid. The five Dipper stars that are part of the cluster are 78 to 81 light years away, while Dubhe (left) is t-74 and Atkaid (right), t01 light ),ears distant, respectively. The cluster stars were all ly,)rn about the same time with approximately similar masses, and are theretbre, shining with similar blue white colors. If you want a gtxxl test of your eyesight, leok at Mizar, the middle lamina~ in the Dippers handle. Alcor, a fainter star, is about l/5~degree (12 minutes taf arc) away from Miear. Alcor is revolving imund Mizar with an unknown orbital perkxt. Bat there is more. A small telescope at 50 power will separate Ivtiz~r easily into two stars that look and are identical. Each of the stars.of the Mizar binary, including Alcor, is yet again a double, making the Mizar-Atcor system a sextuplet Confused? Me too! N[WPO CATALINA 949-673-62A 5 days in Avalon history that we'll never forget." And I was right. By mid-afternoon; resi- dents were beginning to leave their homes, at first like giddy weekend vacationers, but even- tually like passengers on the Lusitania. Emergency vehicles were everywhere and our newly- formed Community Emergency Response Team was out in force, urging people to head for the boats. The Catalina Express was going all out putting anyone and everyone who wanted to leave on their cross-channel boats, gratis. The air war had started and the town of Avalon was being barn-stormed by water-dropping helicopters. In the skies over the interior, larger fixed-wing aircraft were taking the fight to the enemy, an unthinking enemy that had no conscience. Those of us who stayed behind began to prepare for the worst. For the first time, we looked to the skies and began to think the unthinkable: all could be lost. Bugging out It's an odd thing to be hastily going through your belongings and personal effects trying to decide what you want to keep and what you want to lose forever. Save this, toss that. But such decisions were made and we grabbed our stuff and headed to the Casino where I worked as a projectionist (and still do). No matter what happens to Avalon, I reasoned, the Casino would be just about the best place one could be in such a calamity. At about 5 p.m., the advancing flames crested Avalon Canyon's western rim, where they stood ominously along the ridge above town like Comanches in a John Ford western. The enemy was at the gate. The hotel Kristy and I man- age, the Buena Vista on Whittley Avenue, just happened to be one of the only buildings in town that had sprinklers on the roof and I made liberal use of them. This was especially important because the "bombs"--smolder- ing ashes--were now beginning to drift down from the skies. It amazes me to this day that none of these embers found their way into someone's trashcan or a pile of leaves somewhere in town, thereby jump-starting "the fire here. Nightfall was surreal with res- idents still slowly streaming from their homes out to the Cabrillo Mole like extras in "The Walking Dead," their blank faces dimly lit by the encroaching flames. But then a miracle happened. As the evening wore on, the winds changed direction. They switched around from the northwest to the southeast bringing cool, moist air from the channel. The Beast was stopped dead in its tracks, in some cases only 50 feet from the first rows of houses on the west side of town. All the fieroic actions of our local first responders and their mainland brothers and sisters on the ground, on the sea and in the sky had delayed the flames just long enough for nature to finish the job. There were a few nail-biting moments the following day, and we weren't completely out of the woods. But within a day or two, the grateful residents of Avalon began to return to a town that-- against all odds--had survived to see another sunrise. Those are my memories from May 10, 2007. 14 ; Friday, April 28, 2017 THE CATAUNA ISLANDER