Welcome to one of the great cloud blogs of our time today, great as in volume, not in eloquence or anything like that.
6:16 AM. Pink castellanus, Altocumulus castellanus. Note the “micro-cumulonimbus” turret complete with a little anvil that’s shearing off to the left (center left). So now what? Should we have a cloud called an Altocumulonimbus? Maybe so, since on this morning, clusters of Altocumulus grew into major true Cumulonimbus clouds with rain and lightning in Arizona yesterday morning. Its a pretty common thing having thunderstorms and Altocumulus castellanus and floccus based at the same level at the same time.
6:21 AM. Looking pretty much at the same scene but a little farther to the north where a dissipated Cumulonimbus can be seen (on the right) formed at the same level of the Ac cas, in case you didn’t believe me that that could happen.
6:43 AM. Rainbow and corral, horse poop in foreground. Yours today for only $1800. Shows that aforementioned Cumulonimbus was producing rain to the ground. Was the first rainbow event of the day.
12:08 PM. While Ac cas and small Cumulonimbus clouds dominated the sky all morning, heating finally started to launch boundary layer clouds fueled by that heating. With lower than normal temperatures aloft due to an upper level trough, watch out! Here we go!
12:13 PM. Hardly had the thought to “watch out” crossed my mind, when I looked up toward Winkelman and Mammoth areas and saw that it was too late to “watch out” as this gargantuan Cumulonimbus had already exploded up thataway.
1:23 PM. A large Cumulonimbus erupts upwind of Catalina. Will it make it? Because this is a fall circulation pattern with a tough in the westerlies affecting us, the clouds are moving more rapidly than usual and from the southwest, not from the eastern semicircle, our as during our normal “summer rain regime.” Remember, the “monsoon” is in India and all around there.
2:21 PM. OK, its an hour later, that distant Cb didn’t make it but this one upwind looks more promising. Why? Because its got a protruding Cumulus base on the left side suggesting it will keep developing. Same on the right side. Without those re-inforcements to the updraft of this complex, it would die, all or most of the rain fall out before it got here. Let’s see what happens.
2:31 PM. Starts to look disappointing again, but hope arises in the distance. See caption-sized note on photo.
2:43 PM. I could feel your excitement here as the farther out base developed, broadened, new shafts started to appear in the distance from that complex of firm-looking bases. I was excited too. Maybe we’d get half an inch out of this group!
2:44 PM. In the meantime, nice lighting on the Catalinas and moderate Cumulus pass by in a hurry. Thought for today: “Mountains: the canvases on which clouds paint.”
3:03 PM. Heart has sunk by this time, as did yours. New cloud bases (on the left side) driven by outflow winds is causing this thunderstorm to propagating to the right of the wind flow and so the part of this that appeared to be directly upwind of us, and looked so good, was now raining out because there was no new cloud forming to keep it going in a steady state way So, no half inch after all except maybe down there. Oh, me. Nice scene, though.
4:21 PM. Break in the action. This Cumulus congestus cloud person seems happy, thumb is pointing up. Not so much here as upwind clouds have dwindled.
5:13 PM. THen, just after it looked like it was over, and cloud maven person left his post, all HECK broke loose as a powerful thunderstorm roared out of the Tortolita Mountains and off toward Oracle and points north. The shaft that fell out has produced a small arcus cloud, that lower scruff ahead of it. That was to be our hope. A blast out of the north from this monster that could trigger overhead new cloud developments!
5:15 PM. Unnecessary close up of this monster.
5:20 PM. Another look at the dramatic sideswiping storm. Looks more like a shot from Kansas or OK.
5:20 PM. In the meantime a blast of north wind from the giant cell north of us has hit Sutherland Heights and is pushing up a great looking base that is creeping TOWARD us!
5:21 PM. Its only a minute later, but its such a great, dramatic scene its worth checking again.
5:23 PM. That great cloud base just north of Sutherland Heights is starting to unload, but it hasn’t progressed farther south. Hmmmm.
5:29 PM. The north wind was accompanied by a scruff of clouds that topped Samananiego Peak. But what’s wrong here? Look at the poor “quality” of the cloud base over and just east of us now, full of light and dark areas, not a solid blob of darkness as we saw just to the north of us. So, this is going to do nothing here.
5:31 PM. That low cloud continues to race south, and with the sun breaking through, produced a pretty scene if a depressing one due to the lack of a “good” big, dark base.
5:32 PM. That large, dark cloud base has receded to the north while scud clouds still stream south. Dang.
5:39 PM. That great Kansas-looking storm is disappearing now behind Pusch Ridge with only the middle portion of the cloud left to precipitate (once have a great bottom, one that disappeared as the shove upward went to the east. So, its still thick and low enough on the right side to produce a burst of moderate rain, but will it get here?
5:45 PM. Remarkably heavy rain still falls out of clouds that now appear to be only residual Altocumulus/Altostratus (cumulonimbogenitus, of course). And, if you saw this scene, you could anticipate being in somebody’s rainbow when the sunlight got to you, and that you were going to see something special in that regard VERY soon.
5:47 PM. Yes, but two minutes later, the sunlight reached Sutherland Heights causing this rainbow spectacle.
5:48 PM. Another look at this spectacle. There appears to be a pinkish red drop, maybe a part of the rainbow I have to be in for others to the west of me! Real evidence maybe of being in a rainbow when your in the rain and the sun is shining! Never have seen a pink drop before.
5:49 PM. Let’s look and see if there is another end to this rainbow… Yes! There it is toward Charouleau Gap.
5:50 PM. Close up of a rainbow to see what it looks like a little better.
6:43 PM. Stratocumulus of the evening.
A humorous final note: Here are two model runs only 6 h apart from last evening. The first one, from 5 PM AST global data, valid on the 26th, brings that Mexican Pacific hurricane back into AZ/NM as that strong low drops down into Cal! How crazy izzat?
The second panel was the model output from just 6 h later for about the same time. No trough nowhere near Cal as is shown in the first panel, and our powerful hurricane stays well offshore. Still, it was an intriguing glitch of a magnitude you hardly ever see.