Storm-weary Catalinans prepare for more strong storms, cold, and storm weariness

Catalinans experienced a FOURTH cloudy day in a row, and, over the past few days, including yesterday’s few drops that fell at 4:24 PM, have experienced over an inch of rain!

Some grumbling has started concerning muddy,  pot-holed and puddled up dirt roads, about the washes running across roads lately, water and mud splashing on the car day after day,  and brutally low temperatures dipping to well below 50° degrees in the morning now for several days in a row.  Its 40° F here as I write this.

While a brief respite is in progress now,  Catalinans were discouraged to learn that more strong storms are due in this weekend, bringing possibly damaging winds and heavy rains that will augment the poor road conditions.

How much rain?

Let us look below and see how much has been calculated by our best model at the University of Arizona’s Wildcat Hydro and Atmos Sci Dept  (I am so glad they provide this service; I donate to the Dept,  as we all should!):

Precip totals by 8 PM, January 23rd after a few storms have gone by.
Precip totals by 8 PM, January 23rd after a few storms have gone by.  As you can see lots of red and yelleows in Arizona’s critical mountain regions for snowpack, and we’re in the inch or so of rain, pretty much like the amount produced here by the last storm.  What a January this is turning out to be!

Hah!  We can’t complain too much about inclement weather compared to California’s pluvialities.  Here is a table and map of precip amounts for that State through just the first 14 days.  Prepare to gasp:

A map and table of the highest 20 rainfall totals in California and Nevada just through January 14th. Astounding! And 10-20 inches more are expected at some of these sites before the month is out.
A map and table of the highest 20 rainfall totals in California and Nevada just through January 14th. Astounding! And 10-20 inches more are expected at some of these sites before the month is out.  Yep, by Jan 14th, one station was closing in on 40 inches of rain!

The remarkable aspect of this rainfall anomaly on the West Coast and in the Southwest, which is also quite wet, is that it could not be seen in climate forecasts days to a couple of weeks in advance.  Its not that the folks at the Climate Prediction Center aren’t the best that we can get, its just a statement about how hard it is to get a longer term forecast right.  Many are right, but lately, recalling the “Big Niño Bust of 2015-16” where the forecasts of a wet Southwest and central and southern California went terribly awry, those forecasts have taken a beating.  Here’s what was expected this winter by the CPC, first, for January, a forecast made on the last day of December. when the forecast models we use day to day would have had some influence:

The precipitation forecast for January 2017 by the CPC.
The precipitation forecast for January 2017 by the CPC.

As can be seen, the extreme rains that hit California, and our own well above normal precip, though on the doorstep on December 31st, were unforeseen.  That’s how tough it is.

Below, the forecast for January through March, also going astray, though a recovery could be had by a very dry Feb and March in Cal and the Southwest, something not likely to happen now.

Below, the forecast for the three month period of January through March, also now going astray.
Below, the forecast for the three month period of January through March, also now going astray.

Glad I’m not forecasting for a month or three months!  Gads, yesterday we had ice galore here and there, and I had predicted that morning that it was doubtful that ice could form in our clouds yeserday and how about that rainbow yesterday afternoon, to change the subject quickly, but smoothly; hardly a ripple, something gleaned from the election debates:

4:59 PM. A rainbow.
4:59 PM. A rainbow, an implicit indicator of ice in clouds yesterday.  There was a lot in some areas, particularly over the Catalinas in the late afternoon.

Some additional views, including a horse, which should increase web traffic:

Horse, muddy corral, and supporting rainbow evidence for why the corral is muddy. Horse: "Why is that rainbow on my butt?"
Horse, muddy corral, and supporting rainbow evidence for why the corral is muddy. Horse “Chero-key”: “Why is that rainbow on my butt?”
Rainbow empties into a rain gauge.
Rainbow empties into a NWS-style, 8-inch diameter rain gauge.  Real weathermen have real rain gauges, not the cheap plastic toy types.  Just kidding, CoCo and rainlog, orgs that  use cheap plastic toy-type gauges.  Just kidding again, CoCo and rainlog. orgs.
5:09 PM. Here a completely different rainbow, because I moved a few feet, and the rain drops in the prior bows have fallen to the ground, empties into yet another 8-inch diameter rain gauge, a tipping bucket one which is online at KAZCATAL4. Its been under-measuring the rain, however, for some time.
5:09 PM. Here a completely different rainbow, because I moved a few feet, and the rain drops in the prior bows have fallen to the ground, empties into yet another 8-inch diameter rain gauge, a tipping bucket one which is online at KAZCATAL4. Its been under-measuring the rain, however, for some time.

OK, now for the rest of the day, your daily cloud diary:

8:09 AM. You got yer normal TUS exiting smog plume heading for Mark Albright's house in Continental Ranch over there on the right. There is some Stratus fractus in that plume as well. The damp air has caused some of the hygroscopic particles to swell up; be deliquesed, which increases the opacity of smog. Such an effect is particularly bad on the East Coast ahead of cold fronts when warm, humid, smog-laden air is brought northward ahead of fronts. Gads, its awful. Even when the sky is cloudless, you can hardly tell its blue!
8:09 AM. You got yer normal TUS exiting smog plume heading for Mark Albright’s house in Continental Ranch over there on the right. There is some Stratus fractus in that plume as well. The damp air has caused some of the hygroscopic particles to swell up; be deliquesced, which increases the opacity of smog. Such an effect is particularly bad on the East Coast ahead of cold fronts when warm, humid, smog-laden air is brought northward ahead of fronts. Gads, its awful. Even when the sky is cloudless, you can hardly tell its blue!  Above the smog, Stratocumulus.
9:36 AM. Had evidence of a little smog up thisaway, too. Again, the whitish haze is due to deliquesced partilces. As the air dries out and the day warms up, this effect disappears. even though the aerosol particles that were "deliquesced" are still around. The Five Satins, "Still Around." That takes me back aways.
9:36 AM. Had evidence of a little smog up thisaway, too. Again, the whitish haze is due to deliquesced partilces. As the air dries out and the day warms up, this effect disappears. even though the aerosol particles that were “deliquesced” are still around. The Five Satins, “Still Around.”  Gads, that takes me back a-ways when I was 2 inches taller than now….
10:10 AM. Smog plume, as sometimes happens, begins to drift northward as the mountains start launching Cumulus clouds and cause the wind to move toward them. Can't say too much about the central cloud feature, a gesture of some kind it would appear.
10:10 AM. Smog plume, as sometimes happens, begins to drift northward as the mountains start launching Cumulus clouds and cause the wind to move toward them. Can’t say too much about the central cloud feature, a gesture of some kind it would appear.
10:27 AM. Nice lighting scene I thought.
10:27 AM. Nice lighting scene I thought.  Cumulus turrets were rocketing upward at this time.
1:48 PM. Not much going on. Underlying Cumulus bases lifted, some Cumulus spreading out adding to the general Stratocumulus deck. No ice around, as was forecast.
1:48 PM. Not much going on. Underlying Cumulus bases lifted, some Cumulus spreading out adding to the slightly higher general Stratocumulus deck. No ice around, as was forecast.
3:02 PM. Something is going terribly WRONG with the anticipation of no ice producing clouds yesterday. Rain begins to fall on the Catalinas.
3:02 PM. Something is going terribly WRONG with the anticipation of no ice producing clouds yesterday. Rain begins to fall on the Catalinas.
3:20 PM. A totally humiliating, completely glaciated tiny Cumulonimbus remains breaks into view from the Stratocumulus deck.
3:20 PM. A totally humiliating, completely glaciated tiny Cumulonimbus remains breaks into view from the Stratocumulus deck.  On the other hand. another fascinating day of ice multiplication here in Arizona!  Look at that little guy, all ice, and tops almost certainly warmer than about -12° C from sounding data.  This would mean that those 10s to hundreds per liter of ice that you’re looking at are needles and hollow column ice crystals called “sheaths.”  Man, I wanted to sample that cloud so bad!  What happened to cause this cloud was that at one point its top got a couple of degrees Celsius colder than the surrounding clouds that did not produce ice.  Rain was reaching the ground at this time o er there even though it is in the dissipating stage, too.
3:43 PM. In the meantime, the showers emitting from the clouds over the Catalinas were getting more enthusiastic (read, "personally insulting"). No doubt if you could get on top, they would have looked exactly like that dissipating Cb shown above.
3:43 PM. In the meantime, the showers emitting from the clouds over the Catalinas were getting more enthusiastic (read, “personally insulting”). No doubt if you could get on top, they would have looked exactly like that dissipating Cb shown above.

But, then there were some great sun and lighting scenes in those showers, not to mention the brilliant rainbow that was to come:

4:47 PM.  Its a little crazy, I know, but I just love these rainy, sunlit scenes on our mountains, or those sun and shadow scenes that I post so many of.  Just never will get tired of them.
4:47 PM. Its a little crazy, I know, but I just love these rainy, sunlit scenes on our mountains, or those sun and shadow scenes that I post so many of. Just never will get tired of them.
4:51.  More of same.  Notice inclusion of man-sized rain gauge in foreground.  Its a nice touch if you, too, have one, which I hope you do.
4:51. More of same. Notice inclusion of man-sized rain gauge in foreground. Its a nice touch if you, too, have one, which I hope you do.  It really says who you are.

The End

Thanks, if anyone is out there….

Drencher! 1.07 inches drenches Catalina/Sutherland Heights

What a nice steady rain with honest-to-goodness drizzle mixed in over the past two days.   We’ve now had 4.24 inches in the past 30 days!

And yesterday, you saw the rarely captured on film,  drizzly Stratus clouds, essentially something akin to wallpaper in the sky, but with misty visibility below its base.  I hope you got a  lot of photos of it;  occurrences like that in Airizona1  its like finding a clean-shaven Lincoln penny.

And, of course, you knew that with misty, drizzly rain, clouds were shallow, no matter how dark they looked!  Here’s the afternoon TUS sounding (from IPS MeteoStar) confirming that assertion2:

Tops are indicated by this sounding to be around 12,000 feet above sea level and at about -10°Ç.
Tops are indicated by this sounding to be around 12,000 feet above sea level and at about -10°Ç.

The drizzle likely fell from shallower parts of this cloud, while the accumulating rains, ones that “tip the bucket”, were likely associated with clouds all the way to that -10° C, where lots of ice would have formed.  Drizzle occurrences and lots of ice in clouds at surprisingly high temperatures such as those tops we had yesterday are common,  mutually inclusive observation in airborne studies of clouds then the tops go much below -4° C.  But, its an unusual occurrence in AZ since we rarely have shallow clouds like yesterday’s with droplets in them large enough to form drizzle.

So, drizzle and  what we call, “ice multiplication” occurring in our clouds yesterday made it a rare day, indeed for Arizonans to enjoy even if the mid-40s temperature all day was “less than optimum.”

Next up, more substantial rain after a couple of pretty nice, but maybe not thermally optimum days.  Below, the latest output from the U of AZ supercomputing weather calculator showing the cumulative precipitation over the whole SW during the next week, starting from last evening.  Quite fun to see the totals build up in that link above:

Cumulative precip ending by 5 AM AST January 23rd. Our precip is pretty much over by late on the 21st.
Cumulative precip ending by 5 AM AST January 23rd. Our precip is pretty much over by late on the 21st.

Being from southern Cal, what I find interesting is that another 10-15 inches of precip is forecast by this model’s output in the northern mountains of Cal, on top of the 20-30 inches they’ve already had JUST THIS MONTH!

Some cloud highlights

11:59 AM. This is just an astounding scene. You can hardly have a more spectacular, photogenic photo of Stratus! I get goose-bumps looking at it!
11:59 AM, yesterday.   This is just an astounding scene. You can hardly have a more spectacular, photogenic photo of Stratus! I get goose-bumps looking at this scene!  The view, if you can’t tell,  is toward Saddlebrooke.  The dismality of yesterday’s skies is also well captured.

It pretty hard to top a photo like this one, so maybe I will just quit here.  Wait to see what interesting clouds today brings for us.  They’ll be shallow again as an inversion clamps down on the tops even a little more so than yesterday’s afternoon sounding shows, and the Stratocumulus and Cumulus clouds will be thinner, higher bases, lower tops, marginal for ice formation.  So, not expecting to see ice in clouds today, but, then I wasn’t expecting so much rain, either from this little system that went through….

OK, one more:

2:14 PM.  Horse and drizzle.
2:14 PM. Horse and drizzle.

The End

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1Misspelled on purpose to emphasize the quality of the air we have  in Arizona, at least yesterday.   Chamber of Commerce, are you listening?   “Airizona,” as our new State name, would work great to attract people from smog-laden regions. I’m sure!   Hmmm, or maybe just a good, new athletic shoe would do it,  “Nike Airizona”…  Nike, are you listening?
2One of the great moments in a life, as we all know from time to time,  is in confirming an assertion, which also might be accompanied by gloating.

While waiting for our own storm, this from Cal

These are those amounts through January 10th. You can see why there’s been some flooding and reservoirs are getting filled up in central and northern Cal. This list is just those amounts above 15 inches during the first ten days1.  A map can be found here.

Graphic says up through just Jan 10th, and there was a little more after this.
Graphic says up through just Jan 10th, and there was a little more after this.

Our local model from the U of AZ indicates that rain should move in here during the afternoon.  Watch for interesting clouds (but aren’t they ALWAYS interesting?)

That model is suggesting that a half inch might fall here in the Catalina area.  However, note in the graphic below, pinched and magnified from that U of AZ model’s output,  that we are in a “dry slot” due to the southerly and southeasterly winds aloft today that put us in the lee of the Catalinas.   I would guessestimate that we’ll see, oh, maybe a third of an inch here in Sutherland Heights.

Predicted total rain by mid-day Sunday.
Predicted total rain by mid-day Sunday.

Yesterday’s clouds

Nice sunset bloom last evening when it looked like nothing was going to show. You have about three minutes to catch these sudden blooms due to thin clearing slots in the overcast to the west below the horizon:

5:42 PM. Here it comes!
5:42 PM. Here it comes!
5:44 PM. Yep, just two minutes later, "Thar she shows!" The cloud layer being illuminated is...if you care, "Altostratus opacus virgae." The stuff being illuminated is falling light snow.
5:44 PM. Yep, just two minutes later, “Thar she shows!” The cloud layer being illuminated is…if you care, “Altostratus opacus virgae.” The stuff being illuminated is falling light snow.
5:45 PM. Just about to end, less than four minutes from start to end. Note the odd linear streaks of virga on the horizon running S-N. Clueless here about why.
5:45 PM. Just about to end, less than four minutes from start to end. Note the odd linear streaks of virga on the horizon running S-N. Clueless here about why.

Farther ahead, a cold one’s still on tap, and the predictions are for an unusually strong low center to accompany this powerful cold front blasting in next Saturday.  Look for some shingles to come off the roof (note to me).

The End

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1It’s pretty immodest of me to point this out, gloating,  really, but I do want to do this, emphasize that it was mentioned here, I don’t know how long ago, that “20-30 inches of rain would call in Cal at favored locations” during the first two weeks of January.  It was just incredible, to go on about it.  Might be eligible for the Carl Gustav Rossby forecast of the year award, if there was one.  (Caveat: usually these over the top, “seat-of-the-pants” forecasts I’ve made don’t materialize…though I don’t know why I added that qualifier.  Kind of takes away from the glory I’m basking in right now!)

Lot of uncertainty showing up in spaghetti

For fans of NOAA spaghetti, this plot generated from last evening’s global data.  Really, the uncertainty is overwhelming:

Valid at 5 PM AST, January 26th.
Valid at 5 PM AST, January 27th.

Every so often one of these goofy ones comes out, a real knee-slapper.  The real situation is that we have a series of storms on the doorstep, the stronger ones barging in on the 20th or so, as the bonafide spaghetti outputs were indicating.  These will be cold ones; yes, cold ones on tap, with a good chance of snow in “Catalina-by-the-Mountains”, which might also be a good new name for our little CDP.

“Deception at its finest”….a study in cloud perspective

I am sure that many of you saw this last evening:

4:17 PM. Line of spreading out Altostratus translucidus.
4:17 PM. Line of spreading out Altostratus translucidus.  Many of you might have added, “radiatus” to that cloud name.  “Clearly” it is widening as it passes over.

While I hate to embarrass cloud acolytes, here’s the simultaneous satellite view, courtesy of our Banner University of Arizona Weather Department:

AZC
4:00 PM AST. That line of ice cloud looks pretty straight doesn’t it? Imagine how wide a cloud would have to spread, after seeing that Altostratus photo, to REALLY be radiating, spreading out!

As Einstein wrote, “Things are not always as they seem.”

Q. E. D.

Now, for the snow report

…from the Lake Tahoe area (after all, we made a BIG DEAL out of the incredible NWS, Reno, forecast in the prior blogulation):

0822 AM     HEAVY SNOW       NORTHSTAR               39.28N 120.12W
01/11/2017  M42.0 INCH       PLACER             CA   PUBLIC

NORTHSTAR AT TAHOE REPORTED 42 INCHES OF NEW SNOWFALL IN  THE LAST 24 HOURS. 48 HOUR TOTAL OF 78 INCHES AND A 7 DAY TOTAL OF 122 INCHES1.

1This note passed along to the Arthur by Mark Albright.

Looks like a bite has been taken out of the Cal drought this water year, a drought it was said would take years to end!  Folsom Lake, near “Sacramenta”, Cal,  has risen 30 feet in the past 30 days! Oh, my.

Now for some more of them cloud pictures…

Been holding out as other chores fill up the day:

7:19 AM, Jan 10. Pretty Altocumulus, some Cirrus above.
7:19 AM, Jan 10. Pretty Altocumulus, some Cirrus above.
7:19 AM, Jan 10th. Time seems to be standing still, as we look a a cloudlet spewing heavy virga.
Also 7:19 AM, Jan 10th. Time seems to be standing still, as we look a a cloudlet spewing heavy virga.
7:22 AM, Jan 10th, time moving ahead again. Close up of that Altocumulus with virga. Top must have been turreted, colder maybe a half hour or hour before this photo to have so much ice compared to its brethren.
7:22 AM, Jan 10th, time moving ahead again. Close up of that Altocumulus cloud with virga. Top must have been turreted, colder maybe a half hour or hour before this photo to have so much ice compared to its brethren.  That’s the learning part of this sequence.  Doesn’t look like an artifact from an aircraft because there is droplet cloud at the top, and not just a clear spot, which usually happens when an aircraft makes ice in a “supercooled” droplet cloud.
5:14 PM, Jan 10th. THought this was a neat scene, Cirrus uncinus, the long trail of ice crystals falling behind, the overhead view.
5:14 PM, Jan 10th. THought this was a neat scene, Cirrus uncinus, the long trail of ice crystals falling behind, the overhead view.
12:57 PM, Jan 8th. Makes you want to cry... This Cirrus spissatus is trying so HARD to be a precipitator to the ground, and doesn't know that those bottom ice crystals are evaporating 25,000 feet above it.
12:57 PM, Jan 8th. Makes you want to cry… This Cirrus spissatus is trying so HARD to be a precipitator all the way to the ground, and doesn’t know that those bottom ice crystals are evaporating 25,000 feet above it.

The weather just ahead

U of AZ latest mod output (from 11 PM AST last night) has a substantial rain on the doorstep.  Starts here in Catalina Saturday afternoon with projected totals over half an inch nu mid-day Sunday.  Check it out:

Totals valid at 11 AM AST, Sunday, Jan. 15th.
Totals valid at 11 AM AST, Sunday, Jan. 15th.

HECK, this storm wasn’t even predicted 10=12 days ago!  The major weather change was indicated about the 20th, plus or minus a day.  Those storms, indicated in the NOAA “spaghetti” plots more than 12 days ago, are still in the pipeline after we have a brief “recovery” from the “surprise” storm about to arrive on Saturday!  Yay.

This sequence of storms is so great for the AZ water situation, too, as well as giving it to Cal good again around the 20th as well.  No doubt, as the humans we are, the peoples of Cal  will be complaining about TOO MUCH WATER!

This will lead to apathy about water issues, you can bet on it!  See the well-known “cloud seeding cartoon” about drought and apathy posted so many decades ago in a journal article on cloud seeding by editorial nemesis1, Bernard A. Silverman, J. Appl. Meteor.,
termed the “Hydro-illogic Cycle”:

Published in 1978, but was around in the cloud seeding culture for many years before that. Used without permission. hahaha
Published in 1978, but was around in the cloud seeding culture for many years before that. Used without permission. hahaha  I believe it was drawn by the founder of Atmospherics, Inc., Tom Henderson’s daughter.  Atmospherics, Incorporated performed numerous cloud seeding operations in the US and around the world beginning in the early 1950s.  Yours truly worked for them on several occasions in the  early 1970s as a “radar meteorologist” directing seeding aircraft.  Later, I became a published critic, mostly with Prof. Peter V. Hobbs,  of a number of cloud seeding projects.

The End
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1Nothing yours truly submitted during the era of BAS as Editor of the J. Appl. Meteor. “got in”, including the benchmark paper reporting that our own aircraft was creating ice in clouds at temperatures as high as -8° C.   Three sole-authored papers critical of cloud seeding that I submitted were rejected in 1983 alone!  All or parts of them were published years later.

The paper on our aircraft, submitted originally in 1981, was rejected twice before being accepted and published in 1983. The effect was confirmed in experiments conducted in the Mono Lakes area in 1991, by the president of Atmospherics, Inc. mentioned above! Aircraft produced ice particles at unexpectedly high temperatures is a now well-known phenomenon that researchers have to be aware of when re-sampling the same cloud with an aircraft at below freezing temperatures.

Soap box:  It really is the editor of journals that determines whether you’re going to get in or not. They know, or should know, those who are going to keep you out or not, those with axes to grind, and those who are more objective.  However, let me say this, I like Bernie.  Has a great sense of humor. Below, Bernard A. Silverman.  You can see the twinkle in his eye:

Bernard A. Silverman, publisher of the "Hydro-illogic Cycle" at the Cape Town, SA, WMO award
Bernard A. Silverman, publisher of the journal article containing the  “Hydro-illogic Cycle” cartoon at the Cape Town, SA, 2006 WMO award ceremony for achievements in weather modification.  He acknowledged in that  1978 article that he was a cloud seeding advocate.

Sunrise, sunset colors drench Gatalina, AZ; Cal storms reach epic proportions

We’re often confused with the California island, Catalina, and even places in Spain.   Google “Catalina” and see if I am lying again. Oh, maybe that was Catalonia, SP…

Nevertheless, isn’t it time to think about a new name for our “Census Designated Place”, Catalina?  In fact, at one time, each Catalina island and our Catalina, each had a marina to further confuse things by adding superficial similarities….

Think about it.

Some sunrise scenes among too many available to the writer from his camera card:

Let's look at the Tortolita Mountains, drenched in sunlight.
Let’s look at the Tortolita Mountains.
DSC_1173
Cirrocumulus on the fade.
DSC_1169
Highlighted Cirrocumulus.
DSC_1161
About as complex as a patch of Cirrocumulus could be. It did seem there were TWO levels of Cirrocu here, which might help explain criss-crossing patterns.
DSC_1152
Nice Altocumulus lenticularis in the usual spot downwind of Lemmon when the flow is from the W-SW up there.
DSC_1147
Wide angle view of our spectacular sunrise. How you experienced it live.

Now, for sunset color:

DSC_1203

5:47 PM. Will think of something later.
5:47 PM. Will think of something later.

As you may know, there is some violent weather hitting the West Coast, California in particular.  Let’s see what the Reno office of the NWS has to say about the incoming storm:

“…BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST WEDNESDAY…

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM WEDNESDAY TO 4 AM
PST THURSDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RENO HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD
WARNING, WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST WEDNESDAY. THE WINTER
STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM WEDNESDAY TO 4 AM PST
THURSDAY.

* TIMING: DANGEROUS BLIZZARD CONDITIONS DUE TO HEAVY SNOW AND
  STRONG WINDS WILL CONTINUE TODAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING.
  PERIODS OF MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH
  WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

SNOW ACCUMULATIONS THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING: 5 TO 10 FEET ABOVE 7000 FEET WITH 3 TO 7 FEET AT LAKE TAHOE LEVEL.

(Note:  The large font size, the capitalization, suggest, as we know, that the writer is screaming, which I am.)

* WINDS: SOUTHWEST 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 60 MPH THROUGH
  WEDNESDAY MORNING. SIERRA RIDGE GUSTS OVER 100 MPH.

* SNOW LEVELS: BELOW LAKE LEVEL...MAY BRIEFLY RISE TO 6500 FEET
  THIS AFTERNOON BEFORE FALLING AGAIN.

* IMPACTS: DANGEROUS LIFE THREATENING BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WITH
  NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY WILL EXIST FOR TRAVEL AND OUTDOOR
  ACTIVITIES WITH HEAVY SNOW ACCUMULATION ON ALL SIERRA ROADS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TRAVEL!
ROAD CREWS AND FIRST RESPONDERS MAY NOT BE ABLE TO RESCUE YOU.
STAY INDOORS UNTIL THE SNOW AND WIND SUBSIDE. EVEN A SHORT WALK
COULD BE DEADLY IF YOU BECOME DISORIENTED1."

As we know, extremely heavy snows in the Sierras can trigger cannabalism, It is our sincere wish that those affected by this severe storm curb his or her appetite for humans, i.e,  that cannibalism does not break out in the Reno-Tahoe area, or ANYWHERE (capitalization for emphasis) in the Sierras during this terrible storm or its aftermath.

The End
————————–
1Thanks to Prof.  (emeritus) Roger Pielke, Sr., Colo State, for passing this warning along.  His son, a great scientist as well, btw, has the exact same name, and that’s why THIS Roger goes by “senior.”  Thought you’d like to know that.

Future shock

From IPS MeteoStar,  this “YIKES!”

Valid at
Valid Saturday morning, 5 AM, January 21st.  Spaghetti was indicating a big change about then, but this is ridiculous (maybe not credible).  This scenario would bring a very violent storm into southern Cal and Arizona about this time.  That white region represents wind velocities of over 100 mph at 500 millibars, around 18,000 feet above sea level, and EXTREMELY unusual occurrence for that region off San Diego, CA.  That would provide the energy for an exceptional lower level storm.

Is this the Big Niño pattern we’ve been waiting for all these years (well, one, anyway)?  Its the kind of thing we looked for last winter during the giant El Niño and there was all that publicity about how much precip the Great Southwest would likley get.  Then it was pretty much a “no show.”

Could this really be a lagged Big Niño pattern caused by a stratospheric phenomenon known as the Quasi-biennal Oscillation or “QBO”?

It was posited years ago by a researcher in a peer-reviewed journal article (not The Atlantic or Reader’s Digest) that I have been too lazy to look up, that the QBO can induce a lag in El Niño effects.

Hmmmmm.

Personally, I blew it off when I read it, but now have hope that person was onto something.

Also, in Science mag recently, it said that the “QBO was positioned to produce heavy rains in Europe”, the first time I have heard that the QBO was associated with weather in the Weathersphere where all weather occurs, clouds and storms and sh… like that.  Hahaha, it is so funny to cuss right there, out of science context!

(Its not really called the “Weathersphere” but rather, the “Troposphere1“,  but thanks for reading that anyway. )  ((Too much laughter-inducing caffeine imbibed this AM…))

The Troposphere is  BELOW the stratosphere as my one blog reader might already know, but its generally thought that doings in the stratosphere don’t have much effect on the Troposphere.  Well,  unless there’s a lot of smog up there produced by a volcanic belch (like Pinatubo, which cooled the earth for a coupla years back in ’92-’93).  That’s 1992 and 1993.

Will be fun to see what REALLY happens.  And, oh, I guess things are collapsing sooner than around the 20th, too.  But will defer to Bob and the other fine professional meteorologists to let you know about that happenstance.  (There are some great photos from Yellowstone by Mike L in Bob’s last post!)

The End

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1It was suggested by this keyboard pounder  in a scintillating article, oh, 50 years ago or so,  in the Spartan Daily student newspaper, San Jose State, not Michigan State,  that the “Troposphere” be renamed, “The Pollutosphere” due to all the crap we put in it and that we rename Earth, “Polluto”).  Think of what the other civilizations out there think of us as they see things flying off the planet  into outer space; “There they go, littering again….”, besides their evaluations of the increasing aerosol depth of the atmosphere.

Polluto?   Fits doesn’t it , with all we’ve messed up;  microplastics throughout the oceans, smog most everywhere, invasive plants and species wiping stuff out, burning up forests, etc.  Perhaps  renaming Earth could be seen as an honorarium of sorts for the late planet, “Pluto.”   Well, that was a depressing summary.   Need more coffee…and more thinking about storms!

Rain, maybe snow, to fall in Catalina after the 20th

This from a NOAA spaghetti plot interpretation by the author Arthur.  Take a look:

Valid the 17th of Jan at 5 PM AST. No rain, no way! Look at the bulging lines N of AZ, humped northward, indicating the presence of a storm-blocking ridge!
Valid the 17th of Jan at 5 PM AST. No rain, no way! Look at the bulging lines N of CA and AZ, humped northward, indicating the presence of a storm-blocking ridge!

But, like most house of cards, by the 21st that ridge is long gone.  So sometime around the 20th or so, of course, a little fuzzy at this point), look for a drastic change in the weather as troughs and storms develop.  And, I will opine that we’ll see some snow this time around.  See below:

Valid 21 Jan, at 5 PM AST.
Valid 21 Jan, at 5 PM AST.

That’s my excitement for today for you.  Will check back on this in a few days, who knows, with more exacting information.

The End

Some optical stuff; some holey stuff

Once again we had a brief period of optical fireworks, as a rare “circumzenithal arc” developed overhead of Catalina in some Cirrus strands.  Hope you saw it and bragged about it to your less observant friends.   After saying that, follow it up in a moment of feigned reflection,  speaking to no one in particular, with a comment about “how sad it is when people don’t notice the beauty in the world around them.”   Your friend will appreciate what a sensitive person you are.  That would be great!

Here are the scenes so many missed because you only have SECONDS to see them light up, peak out and disappear (but I saw it!):

9:28:31 AM. First highlight begins, center, leading edge.
9:28:31 AM. First highlight begins, center, leading edge.
DSC_0927
9:28:44 AM. Here we go!
DSC_0933
9:29:43 AM. Starting to really light up!
9:30 AM. Where were you? Of course, like a rainbow, you would have to be where I was to see this exact sight, but I was alone.
9:29:45 AM.  Zooming in….   Of course, like a rainbow, you would have to be exactly where I was to see this exact same sight, but I was alone and therefore, the only person in the world to see this.
9:30:29 AM. Last little wisp of color goes over.
9:30:29 AM. Last little wisp of color goes over.

Whew, that was pretty much the climax of this event.  Began to relax. calm down,  as the possibility of seeing more “arcs”, began to fade.  No more Cirrus was upwind.

Most of these I have seen have been due to aircraft-produced ice particles (“APIPs”, as named by Rangno and Hobbs way back in 1983, J. Appl. Meteor.), i. e., contrail like events produced by aircraft that occur at much higher than expected temperatures in “supercooled” clouds.

No Altocumulus clouds were around this line of Cirrus uncinus clouds at the time this passed over, though there were plenty around, however.  Likely this was produced upwind by an aircraft in Ac clouds, and the Altocumulus droplet clouds just evaporated.

These aircraft produced ice clouds start out having prodigious, unnaturally high concentrations of ice, thousands per liter, and that in itself would lead, due to the competition of vapor among them, to tiny, pristine ice crystals like solid columns that would refract the sun’s light.  So, that’s my thought on the origin of this line of Cirrus uncinus, the line itself raising suspicions about its origin.  It extended much farther than shown in these photos, and was intermittent, likely reflecting where the Altocu was, and where there were holes in the coverage.

Then, a great cloud iridescence:

11:03 AM.
11:03 AM.  Iridescence, about as good as it gets.
11:07 AM. Iridescence lights up a portion of an Altocumulus cloud.
11:07 AM. More iridescence.  Hope you saw this, too.

 

Next, holey stuff.

Never seen anything quite like what happened in those quasi-laminar clouds that developed later in the morning over and near the Catalinas, so must show :

11:08 AM.
11:08 AM.  Intrusions of dry air started punching holes in clouds all over.
11:09 AM. Holes started to appear in adjacent clouds.
11:09 AM. Holes started to appear in adjacent clouds.
11:09 AM. Zooming in at this strange phenomenon.
11:09 AM. Zooming in at this strange phenomenon.
11:11 AM. Geeminy Christmas, the sky is falling!
11:11 AM. Geeminy Christmas, the sky is falling!
11:12 AM. Closer to life size here. Pretty remarkable. Outside border of hole seemed to have collapsing cloud filaments supporting a localized downdraft punch.
11:12 AM. Closer to life size here. Pretty remarkable. Outside border of hole seemed to have collapsing cloud filaments supporting a localized downdraft punch.
11:12: More holes began to appear next to the main one.
11:12: More holes began to appear next to the main one.
11:14 AM. More hole craziness!
11:14 AM. More hole craziness!
11:15 AM. Wow. Look at the complexity in that hole.
11:15 AM. Wow. Look at the complexity in that hole.
11:17 AM. This lenticular had an exceptionally smooth top, but a hole started to develop underneath and a little downwind.
11:17 AM. This lenticular had an exceptionally smooth top, but a hole started to develop underneath and a little downwind.
11:17 AM. Another dry air hole punch appeared. What an interesting day this has been so far, and its not even noon!
11:17 AM. Another dry air hole punch appeared. What an interesting day this has been so far, and its not even noon!

 

Well, as you could imagine,  I could go on and on about this, with many more photos, but need to quit here.  And besides, it pretty much cleared off in the afternoon, and the hole phenomenon ended.

The End.

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Couple of artsy cloud shots from yesterday among a couple of others

12:49 PM. Wow, look how much thicker a seemingly uniformly thing layer of Altocumulus perlucidus is in those dark areas!! Not! Those are shadows from a higher splotches of CIrrus, some of the "uncinus" variety.
12:49 PM. Wow, look how much thicker a seemingly uniformly thing layer of Altocumulus perlucidus is in those dark areas!!  Not! Those are shadows from a higher splotches of CIrrus, some of the “uncinus” species.  This is what I do here, try to pull a fast one on you.
12:02 PM. The prior shot was looking S under the Ac per layer. Here's what the sky looked like to the N, providing the explanation for dark spots in that Ac layer. Haha, really fooled you at first!
12:02 PM. The prior shot was looking S under the Ac per layer later in the day.     Here’s what the sky looked like to the N a little earlier, providing the explanation for dark spots in that Ac layer.  Haha, really fooled you at first!

Now, we take this break for art, and not fun:

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“Saddle with Undulatus”. Yours for $1200, and, of course, free shipping!
"saddle with Undulatus", zoomed view, full sized jpeg! Yours for $1800!
“saddle with Undulatus”, zoomed view, full-sized jpeg! Yours for $1800!

Some water was still flowing in one of the little creek tributaries to the Sutherland Wash yesterday.  Nice.

1:53 PM.
1:53 PM.
2:01 PM. Short-lived patch of Cirrocumulus (right) with larger Altocumulus elements (left) all at the same level. Also, if you can find it, and aircraft-produced patch of ice. Testing 1-2-3.....
2:01 PM. Short-lived patch of Cirrocumulus undulatus (right) with larger Altocumulus elements (left) all at the same level. Also, if you can find it, and aircraft-produced patch of ice. Testing 1-2-3…..

Big rains in Cal mountains and Bay Area, some hill totals over 6 inches past 24 h, lower sites, 1-3 inches.  Floody rains will take a big bite of out of drought during the nest 12-14 days.

Nothin’ reliably seen here, though, except passing high and middle clouds.

The End