A humilis day with a surprise ending; horse prank story

Yesterday was another great humilis day for you, with quite a phase twist at the end.  I am sure most of you out there saw the surprising final touch to a warm day with high-based shallow Cumulus.

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11:52 AM.
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11:52 AM. Cumulus humilis and fractus over the Catalinas, in case you think I was hiding bigger clouds that might have been over the mountains.
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5:15 PM. 95 and 25, temperature and dewpoint. What is the height of the cloud bases above ground level given a 70 degree F difference? Hint: divide difference by 5 and that’s the hieight above the ground in thousands of feet. So they were way up there at about 17,000 feet above ground level!

Let’s see how close that using that old estimator technique was yesterday by examining the Tucson sounding for 5 PM AST (launched around 3:30 PM, goes up about 1,000 feet a minute).  From the Wyoming Cowboys, this:

Ann 5 PM TUS sounding

Wow! LCLP was 515 millibars, just about exactly at 17,000 feet.  Also, look how darn cold bases were, almost -10 °C or 14 ° F, tops around -14 °C or just 7 °F, and yet we see no ice…yet.

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6:06 PM. Which way is the wind blowing at cloud level? Ans: at you. Nice cloud street streaming off the Catalinas over Catalina. Clouds not looking so much like Cumulus humilis anymore but rather more like Altocumulus opacus. No signs of any ice…yet.
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6:09 PM. Hint of ice in this photo of clouds far downwind of the Catalinas (looking north over Saddlebrook and beyond. Can you find it?
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6:52 PM. By this time, there was ice EVERYWHERE! It was an amazing transition from cloud lurking up there with no sign of ice, to ice in almost every cloud. Have hardly ever seen such a dramatic transformation in clouds that seem to be unable to produce ice most of the day. What happened? I don’t know. But will guess. These clouds, part of a moisture slug moving around the big trough coming in, were actually being lifted in time so that minute by minute they were getting a little colder until ice concentrations suddenly onset. Ice seems to depend on droplet sizes (the larger ones freeze at higher temperatures, AND temperature, the same size drop will freeze as the temperature falls. In clouds like this, the largest droplet sizes were likely the same before and after the transition to ice, so one would guess that the temperature at which they would freeze was reached as the tops rose due to a layer being lifted, not because some tops were higher and colder. The transition was too widespread and affected small clouds as well as the larger groupings. Well, lotta handwaving here, but it was an amazing change that transpired last evening.
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7:07 PM. Noticeable virga is now dropping out of those clouds, ice concentrations probably up to a few to tens per liter!
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7:07 PM. Looking toward the Charouleau Gap. Icy looking cloud over there, too. What is going on?
7:08 PM.
7:08 PM. Nice sunset, though. Ice barely visible at right.

While waiting for some rain in the days ahead, not backing off that in any way, though models generally have not had any (bad models!), will pass along a horse prank that happened.

Two days in the morning, as I went to fill “Zeus” water tank in the dawn hours, there was something dark at the  bottom of it.  I thought maybe some poor little animal or bird had drowned in his tank that night.  I reached down, and found it was my State Park baseball cap! I had left it on the top of a panel, maybe above the water tank, wasn’t sure, so it likely blew off the panel into the water tank.  But then again, I wasn’t sure that Zeus hadn’t put it in there on purpose.

But that was a crazy thought.

As a test, yesterday morning I decided to put the cap back on top of the end of a horse corral panel, but much farther away where it could not possible fall into the tank, just in case Zeus was telling me what he thought of me by dunking my cap.

9:41 AM May 4th.
9:41 AM May 4th.

Here’s what I found when I came back in the afternoon to feed Zeus:DSC_3630The same scene as the prior morning!

This was SO FUNNY!  But it was also endearing,

The End

The prankster, Zeus.
The prankster, Zeus.

4 thoughts on “A humilis day with a surprise ending; horse prank story”

    1. Hi, Travis,

      It was just hilarious to see that cap under water again and at the same time, endearing.
      Zeus has now gone off for training for at least a month since he has not been ridden in some years. He did have training earlier in his life.

      Hope we get some rain out of this behemoth trough. Mods have been mostly dry, but I am holding to my measurable rain forecast for Catalina, dammitall!

      a

  1. Zeus figured that old sweat-soaked cap of yours needed to see some water.

    I hope Zeus enjoys his strolls while carrying you through the Arizona hills when he gets back from training. Can’t think of a better way to spend a nice day than wandering along trails on horseback.

    1. That was funny, it really was sweat soaked! Maybe that was it.

      You are so right, David, about really enjoying this neck of the woods! Its just a fantastic experience, as you say.

      a

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