Now, that’s pretty funny. We specialize here in too much said! Its a niche thing. Of course, not enough can be said about our past July. Take a look:
This, of course, was a new July rainfall record for Catalina/Sutherland Heights going back to 1977, anyway. Had to adjust vertical axis of this chart, too. Formerly, it stopped at only FOUR inches! The moon lore was right! It’s interesting how the ancient lore of early peoples that I made up a month ago was more accurate than the Climate Prediction Center’s prediction of an equal chance of above or below normal rain in southern Arizona while something incredible was on the doorstep! Kind of like last winter in the whole West where record amounts of snow and rain piled up over a huge region, and that, too, was also unforeseen “going in.” Think how horrible it would be if those predictions were always right. Sure, billions could be saved by such accurate outlooks, but then the element of surprise would be gone. How bad would that be?
After the paucity of rain in the preceding five months, and with June carrying into around July 10th this year with its blazing heat and no clouds, all that rain that followed with thunderations day after day, the attendant rain-cooled “breezes” to 50 mph on occasions, blowing stuff all around everywhere, were sure welcomed (?). (Another case of innovative punctuation to emphasize a point, whatever it is.)
Let us begin today by examining the greenth of the 2017 summer on our Catalina Mountains so far, thanks to July’s copious rains. Hah! The climate really has changed. Looking into growing bananas now…Now for some cloud photos from yesterday:
Well, the day closed on a disappointing note as Cumulonimbus debris clouds overspread the sky, killing new convection.
The weather way ahead
Looks like below average rain for August. :(, as we say. Hoping for error here. Average August rainfall here in Catalina/Sutherland Heights is 3.16 inches.
The orangy colors denote the strongest winds in “Jetty Jetstream”, and as you know, the colder, low clouds, ones capable of reaching the temperatures where ice forms, are contained within that ring of strongest winds at this level (500 mb). So, while the models I have looked at so far have no rain here, I think there’s a pretty good chance of a rogue shower tomorrow morning anyway. At least there should be some nice Stratocumulus/Cumulus tomorrow and some will have ice in them. As you know, it’ll be awful windy today, too, maybe 40 mph or so in brief gusts here in The Heights of Sutherland.
Also will be looking for some nice lenticulars since “Jetty” will be right over us, but a little toward the warm side where lenticulars mostly occur.
In the meantime, spaghetti suggests a big trough in our area again about nine days from now. The later ACTUAL model outputs don’t show much of anything. What’s up with that? I’m hanging with spaghetti that later model runs will indicate a strong trough, and at LEAST another pulse of cooler air, and another minor chance of rain as we are going to see today and especially tomorrow as when become within the “ring of winds” aloft. Didn’t Johnny Cash sing something about that? Maybe it was Wall of Voodoo…
Below, some spaghetti for you showing a big trough over Arizona and the Great Basin which is not much reflected in the actual models, as noted. But, just watch my friend, how those model outputs will change to reflect a bigger trough about this time!
In case you don’t believe me that over an inch fell, this digital record from Sutherland Heights with writing on it:
Probably a little more to come, too. Got some blow damage, I’m sure. Will be looking for roof shingles around the yard today.
And, as everyone knows from their favorite TEEVEE weatherperson, “New Storm to Pound SE Arizonans!” Begins Monday night, Tuesday AM. May have snow in it as it ends.
Your know, its no fun telling people what they already know, so lets look ahead beyond the normal forecast period of great accuracy, beyond not seven days, not eight, but beyond TEN days!
First, we set the stage with a ten day look ahead (from last evening) in a NOAA spaghetti factory plot:
This plot indicates that the pattern of a towering, storm-blocking ridge is certain along the West Coast by ten days–will be developing for a day or three before this, That ridge represents an extrusion of warm air aloft over the entire West Coast extending all the way into Alaska. The couple of red lines in and south of AZ are due to the change of a minor, likely dry, cutoff low in our area about this time (plus or minus a day).
In other words, this plot suggests a warmer, dry period develops over AZ, and storms are shunted from the Pacific Ocean, located west of the West Coast, all the way to Anchorage and vicinity, They will be welcoming a warm up in weather up thataway at some point in this pattern.
Is that it, then, for the AZ winter precip? It could happen. Just one more storm after the current one fades away today?
Hint: Sometimes anticyclone ridges like the one in the plot above get too big for their britches, and fall away, or, break off like a balloon from a tether, and a warm blob of air aloft sits at higher latitudes, often floating off to the northwest.
The exciting ramification of this latter scenario is that in the “soft underbelly” of the “blocking anticyclone” (as in American football), the jet stream throws something of a screen pass, goes underneath the belly of the blocking high, and races in toward the West Coast at lower latitudes. Having done so, such a break through pattern (“Break on through to the Other Side”) results in heavy rains in Cal and the Southwest.
Izzat what’s going to happen?
Let us look farther ahead, unprofessionally, really, and see if there is evidence in spaghetti for such a development and you already know that there must be because it would explain why I am writing so much here. Below, the EXCITING spaghetti plot strongly indicating break through flow breaking on through to the other side, i.e., the West Coast, from the lower latitudes of the Pacific:
Well, we’ll see in a coupla weeks if CMP knows what he is talking about.. I think this is going to happen, resembles what’s happening now, and weather patterns like to repeat, more so within the same winter. However, how much precip comes with this pattern will be determined by how much flow breaks on through to the other side….
Let us begin our look at yesterday’s clouds by looking back three days ago before the Big Storm. We had a nice sunrise. Here it is in case you missed it:
Moving forward to only two days ago, the day preceding the nighttime blast: a cold, windy day with low overcast skies all day, shallow, drizzle-producing clouds, something we don’t see a lot of here in Arizona.
By the end of the day, the clouds had lowered again, and we were about to have a very interesting night!
———————- 1Remember how great we hippie relics thought that first Doors album was? Later, the Doors, and that era were to be made fun of by 80s punk and humor group, The Dead Milkman in “Bitchin’ Comaro.” (Its worth a listen.)
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:
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:
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”:
——————————- 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:
What a day for cloud maven juniors and me, too, watching the Altostratus opacus (but sometimes “translucidus” cuz you could see where the sun was) become Altocumulus! It happens pretty often and is the result of lowering, and warming of the cloud tops, but I need to generate some excitement on an otherwise somewhat dull day.
What else is happened as tops warmed? Good-bye virgae (“virga”, in plain speak), except in a couple of locations that raised the question, “Was it hers (Mother Nature’s) or ours (aircraft effects)?”
The slight spread between the two lines illustrates the classic representation of what we measure when the balloon passes through an all ice crystal/snowflake cloud like this version of Altostratus was yesterday morning. The humidity element on the balloon measures the humidity relative to liquid water, not ice, so there will be some spread between the dew point temperature (line on the left) and the temperature (line on the right) when the balloon ascends through an ice cloud. Saturation with respect to ice is indicated here in that deep “overrunning” layer, something also likely to happen tomorrow to the writer’s “company” fubball team tomorrow.
Undercutting flow from the tropical Pacific is on schedule. So, a good chance for major rains along the southern portions of the West Coast in a few days, with a pretty good chance they’ll leak into Arizony.
Yesterday, after an ordinary beginning,, finished in a spectacular, if likely artificial way. Let us work our way through yesterday’s cloudulations:
Later that morning…..
But let’s go zooming up to flight level and take a closer look for a second:
Now, where was I? Got mammatus on my mind again. I love mammatus so much… Oh, yeah, that sunset yesterday…..
And the sun did its job….producing one of the greatest sunset scenes we’ve seen in a long time, even if phony (haha):
Finally, let look at the TUS sounding for last evening, see how cold those Ac cloud were with the ice trail in them:
The astounding thing here, something that goes against everything I believe about clouds, is that it is indicated that the Altocumulus, lacking much natural ice, was at -30° C! Yikes! No wonder aircraft were producing ice trails and stuff yesterday afternoon.
You have to conclude there were almost no natural “ice nuclei” up there at, oh about 24,000 feet above sea level. This is not the first time for such an occurrence of liquid clouds sans much ice at low temperatures1, but they are rare IME. This would never occur in a boundary layer cloud, that is, one where material from the earth’s surface is getting into the clouds, like the omnipresent dust, or biogenic ice nuclei.
The weather ahead
Some “fantasy” storms with rain in them for Catalina, are now seen on the model predictions beyond a week. Spaghetti is favoring this new development now. So, something to keep an eye on.
The view from here? Precip here is “in the bag” because going on subjective feelings, I really want to see a good rain here!
1The famous John Hallett said he saw an Altocumulus lenticularis sans ice at -35°C in a conference preprint! Rangno and Hobbs (1986) claimed to have detected droplets in Altocumulus like clouds at the top of a storm on the Washington coast at -44°C. Their claim, first published in a conference preprint, was later rejected by the J. Atmos. Sci.
Doesn’t happen every November, thunder, but it sure pounded away at times yesterday. Seemed louder than usual thunder a few times even with the lightning over there by the Tortolita Mountains. Of course, that’s where the heaviest rain fell as several T-storms tracked along a similar path over there just a little to the W through N of us, Bio2, in one of the heavier cloberations receiving 1.17 inches.
Here, in The Heights, we received a disappointing, but nevertheless welcomed final total of 0.24 inches. This brings our total here in Sutherland Heights for November up to 0.60 inches. Average is 0.96 inches1. Here, the regional totals as the storm was coming to an end:
As is proper, let us begin examining the nubilations of our storm by looking at those clouds that preceded the actual rain day yesterday.
Moving ahead to yesterday…..
The great thing about yesterday was that because the upper trough lagged so much behind the cold front, you could be sure it wasn’t over, that is, the rain chances. In fact, as the wind turns aloft from a southerly or southwesterly direction to a more westerly one, we here in Catalina have a better chance of having the clouds pile up over us, even if they’re not full fledged Cumulonimbus clouds, they can still reach depths where they precipitate while upwind, they don’t because they may not be deep enough. The Catalina Mountains provides the lift that helps do this, and we saw that happen later in the afternoon and evening when it began to rain again long after the cold front and it so-so rain band went by.
The End, FINALLY!
1If we don’t get more rain by the end of November, I will delete the sentence of a week or so ago stating that November would have above average rainfall. No use having people see that.
4:32 PM. Mix of Altostratus and Altocumulus clouds, with just remnants of the lower Cu. Here it appears that a liquid layer of Altocumulus now resides at the bottom of the Altostratus, or may be embedded in it. The globular masses in the middle of this photo represent droplet clouds that appear to have merged into a plate. In the distance, the telltale sign of lowering tops: only droplet clouds, with a occasional splash of virga can be seen.
5:23 PM. Just a little before a great sunset, which I missed due to a social engagement, the shallow Altocumulus droplet clouds are plainly evident around the sun’s position. Above to center, the backside of the deeper Altostratus clouds with much higher tops, is about to pass over us. Here you can see, how much lower the Altocumulus cloud fragments are than the Altostratus layer as they are illuminated by the sun (upper center highlighted clouds).
All in all, a pretty pleasant day with interesting clouds passing by, though ultimately disappointing since at one time, this was to be a day with showers here. Oh, well, that’s weather forecasting for you.
Another minimal chance for showers comes up in the middle of next week…
Not as good as a rain day with lightning, but yesterday did have its moments in the sky, enough to make the astrologers on Mt. Lemmon jealous with displays of parhelia (“sun dogs”, or “mock suns”), faint haloes, a rare parhelic circle, something you don’t see but once every year or two, and fallstreifen (fall streaks) from Cirrus uncinus clouds going in almost opposite directions, an extremely rare sight.
The rare “parhelic circle” is a local brightening often extending out from a parhelia (sun dog) at a sharp angle, which I just learned about here1. Usually you don’t see a whole circle, just part of one.
These optic displays are caused by ice crystals, of course, ones not too complex, but rather simple ones like prisms, short solid columns, bullets, and hexagonal plates. Some examples of these can be seen here.
The bottom of yesterday’s moist layer was just above 30,000 feet at a temperature of -35° C and extended all the way up to about 40,000 feet above sea level where the temperature were around -65° C.
Some photos documenting the excitement of yesterday
Below, examples of cold Cirrocumulus, ones that quickly transition to Cirrus clouds.
No rain in sight for Catalinans, to get that over with.
However, if you’re bored and are thinking about a quickie storm chasing vacation with the family, monster storms, likely to produce newspaper headlines will be smashing the Pac NW in the next few days. Expect to read about flooding and hurricane to 100 mph winds on the Washington/Oregon coast sometime. Also, Tofino, British Columbia, along the SW coast of Vancouver Island, would be a great place to head for, watching giant waves crash up against the coast and around that lighthouse they have around there, pounding rains…
The long fetch with these storms in the Pacific guarantees some monster waves.
3:49 AM, 14 Oct: Mark “WeatherPal” Albright informed me that a 94 mph wind was observed last evening (the 13th) near Astoria, OR.
The next low, a “regular low” but one energized by leftover moisture from Typhoon Songda, looks to be even stronger than last night’s low. This one comes in moving really rapidly tomorrow evening while deepening (central pressure is dropping further) as it passes over the Washington coast. Looks like that one will be a “blow-down” storm; good-bye timber.
The synoptic pattern (placement of jet streams and lows) is “Freda-esque”, that is, similar to that of October 12, 1962, the infamous Columbus Day storm where a remnant of Typhoon Freda zipped in as a regular low that deepened explosively as it raced up the Pacific NW coast bringing winds of 100-200 mph and blowing down BILLIONS of board feet of timber as well as weather pal, Mark Albright, mentioned above, when he was a kid1.
Well, we sure hope its not THAT similar!
Lots of interesting patterns and complexities in yesterday’s skies. If you didn’t see them, here they are, though its kind of a much ado about nothing, really:
—————————- 1Mark. like most kids who are blown over in a windstorm, wanted to be a meteorologist right after that. Its pretty traumatic and life changing when you’re blown over by wind. CMP’s life was traumatized and changed forever when it snowed a few inches in the San Fernando Valley of southern California when he was six year’s old. Not sure you’ll find this information in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders #5, however, but its a well-known phenomenon in the weather subculture.