A few more hundredths fell after 7 AM yesterday, boosting our storm total to a remarkable 1.42 inches, January now about twice our long-term average.
Here’s what all that precip did to our beloved Cañada del Oro Wash:
After a few more hundredths of rain, the skies broke open, and as we know well, some of our most spectacular scenes occur under deep blue skies punctuated by puffy Cumulus clouds, shadows and highlights on our now snow-capped Catalina Mountains.
In the meantime, more highlights on Sam Ridge:
Finally, that incredible sunset afterglow on our mountains:
Oops, oh yeah, storm tomorrow, supposed to begin in mid-day to afternoon hours. Looks like a third of an incher. Also looks to be a bit colder than the last storm, may see a flake or two by Tuesday morning.
While on the first day, January 29th, the sun was only blocked by mid-level clouds, the rainy ones on January 30th and 31st provided a rain amount to remember here in the Sutherland Heights (and elsewhere–numerous records broken), 2.28 inches recorded over 24 h ending at 7 AM for the past three days, beginning with the 30th:
0.19, 1.56, and 0.53 inches, ending this morning.
Weeds and wildflowers really happy, as will be free range cattle and horses that get out of their pens in the days and weeks ahead.
We have an interesting experiment in progress, one we didn’t know we were going to have re wildflowers this spring.
A local wildflower expert on a public TEEVEE station here was quoted as saying that NOVEMBER rain was critical to wildflower displays. Hmmm. OK, but we had a RAINLESS NOVEMBER here!
So, no wildflowers? A limited display? Some key ones don’t come up at all because November was rainless, while October, December and now January had generous rains?
I don’t think so. My take is that everything will be hunky dory. HELL, no one will be able to tell that November was rainless in our upcoming wildflower displays.
But the reader must be advised royally in this editorial side bar, that the writer is a cloud-maven, not a flower-maven as was expert quoted on public TEEVEE.
So, let the experiment unfold before our very eyes! A chance for all to learn things! Ans, how fun is that?
———————–end of experimental module——————
Too, I wonder how often three sunless days have occurred in southern Arizona? Was probably a rare event that these past three days mimicked Seattle or other Pac NW sites west of the Cascade Mountains in winter so well.
BTW, in an important climate note concerning the Pacific Northwest, it rains more in Eugene, OR, aka Duckville, more than in Seattle, in case you’re a football player and are deciding between the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Donald Ducks prior to the upcoming LOI Day, the National Holiday celebrating when high school kids sign Letters of Intent about where they are going to play college football.
And, continuing a high school theme, don’t forget to watch football today; the Seattle Seahawks, who live right next door to the University of Washington Huskies, will be playing in a big game, so maybe you could get some valuable autographs while playing for the Huskies…. Just a thought.
Back to yesterday……
I think the most surprising part was how nearly stationary rain echoes kept giving all day yesterday. So often, where clouds are almost stationary, they just rain out and thin. But it just kept coming, at least here in Catalina. And, as the storm came to a close, the expected sight of a frosty Lemmon appeared late in the day due to the gradually lowering snow level as the clouds suddenly lifted when a dry north wind rushed in. Should be more of that dry north wind today.
No rain in sight now…. Corrals can dry out, which would be good.
BTW, by later yesterday the local washes were running reel good. In case you missed the flows, here are some floody scenes:
Hiked out to the Sutherland Wash yesterday, arriving about 3 PM to take these docuphotos for you. These were taken near the horse crossing that leads to the “Rusty Gate” and the Coronado National Forest boundary on the east side of the Wash.
Had not seen the Sutherland Wash this big before, in person. Was much higher, though, during the September 8, 2014 event, as deduced from debris piles, when 4-5 inches fell in 3 h.
It was pretty much the same one all day I think. We begin our cloud soliloquy with an unusual sighting of pure Stratus, present before the rain moved in again.
You may wish to pleasure yourself with another and very unusual occurrence of fog right now (7:02 AM) coming out of Tucson, heading toward Marana, south Oro Valley. Very pretty scene this miniute. Heading out now to capture on film.
If you’ve ever been to Indian State of Kerala and the western Ghats, you know that yesterday, with the warmth, the thick, pounding rain with cloud bases at tree-top levels, visibility a mile or two, and with little or no lightning, was a true sample of India in the summer, maybe a July day in the western Ghats.
Congratulations for having experienced India and a TRUE monsoon day without having to go anywhere1.
The totals? 4.48 inches at Our Garden on Columbus Avenue, wettest day in their 37 year record. 4.59 inches on Samaniego Peak. The largest amount I could find was at Stewart Dam by the Salt River, 4.79 inches, all in 24 h, though most of these totals fell in less than 3 h. Below a shot of the CDO wash at or near its peak at Wilds Road, the latter a “street” if I may, one that might now surpass in difficulty the Charoulou Gap for the 4-wheeler and ATV crowd judging from the way it looked yesterday.
BTW, the shots below are from a video taken by yours truly in the pounding rain as the total here in Sutherland Heights surpassed the 3 inch mark, on its way to 4.18 inches. I was the only one there, except for Jessie, who runs Our Garden, who also showed up in the pounding rain right after I did, saying, “I thought I’d find you here.” Huh.
This was twice as big and fast moving as anything I had seen in the prior seven summers, though doesn’t compare to the August 2003 flood in which the CDO wash at this location got all the the way to Lago del Oro Parkway, a hundred yards wider than this.
With yesterdays soaking wet air over us, it didn’t take much to send turrets spaceward, and it MAY have been that those car-floating rains in the Phoenix area had something to do with what happened.
A gust front moving this way was evident in the satellite and radar imagery as new echoes raced to the SE from that whopper after midnight. The gust front appeared to dissipate before getting here, but then not long after the heavy rains began, the wind came up from the north after calm conditions marked the first inch or two. And the rains intensified. Clearly, wherever that wind shift came from, it gave the clouds above us another boost, to push an already memorable rain into historic proportions by helping generated the second two inches. (I hope you logged the time of this important windshift in your weather diary yesterday.)
Here are some shots from that historic day, one that we will likely not live to see again:
OK, its pretty hard to take pictures of rain, but these two below were the best I could do, and I hope you appreciate it. I have no idea why I took 85 pictures of heavy rain; they don’t look that great in retrospect, but it was exciting to be taking them…kind of lost control.
The rest of the day was truly history, and by afternoon, things were clearing out, and by late in the day left those usual, “memorable” scenes of our mountains decked in clouds. The mountains seemed greener, washed up as it were, more than usual after good rains.
Today…..U of AZ mod run from 11 PM last night sez no rain around here today or tomorrow. With the residual moisture we have, and clouds topping Samaniego Ridge this morning, it would be hard to imagine that early on in the day, later this morning that a few huge Cumulonimbus clouds won’t arise over the Cat Mountains before the drying takes hold. So, we might see some great clouds right away, and then watch them wither as the dry air manifests itself.
In the longer term, yesterday’s 12 Z run was amazing since it had more heavy rains down the road, a week or so out, with another “Norbert” like storm traveling up the Baja coastline. Imagine! And on last evening’s run at 5 PM AST, it has it in almost an identical trajectory as Norbert. Check this out. Never have seen that before, such a replication of something fairly strange in the first place. I just saw this now, and am so excited am going to slip it here adding already to “blog excess” and “reader fatigue”:
1In the southern peninsula region of India, east of the Ghats in during the time of the SW monsoon, there are giant thunderstorms with incredible LTG, but they’re more scattered around than the “24/7” monsoon rains in the Ghats, rains that can produce up to 300 inches in a month, though averages are closer to 100.
Still a chance, a small one for a shower today, before it dries out for a few days. Mods pretty sure about rain on the Cats this afternoon, which is good. Should be a very photogenic day, with nice shots of more isolated thunderblasters.
With that out of the way…let us reprise yesterday, the good and the bad.
Only 0.17 inches here in Sutherland Heights yesterday while Saddlebrooke was getting shafted, rain shafted, that is. Moore Road at La Cholla, over there, also got more than TWO inches yesterday afternoon. You can check the interesting amounts here and here.
Another near miss here at the house. May have to sell if this keeps up. July rain here in Sutherland Heights, now at only 2.87 inches (normal is 3.5 inches) while everywhere within radius of two miles has more, for example, about 3.5 inches already over there to the south on Trotter (just S of Golder Ranch Drive), and 4 or so inches in places in and around Saddlebrooke, almost within ear shot.
Here are the effects of more July rain than here; these shots from yesterday morning down in the Regional State Park next to Lago del Oro Road:
Continuing with vegetation shots after nostalgia break:
Also had a surge down the CDO wash. I know you like to see this, you love water, so here are two shots from yesterday afternoon after the Saddlebrooke mash down:
While the rain was a disappointment, all the other scenes yesterday caused more than 200 photos to be taken from it. Since I have termed myself, rightly or wrongly, as a “cloud maven”, I should show you ones I thought were exceptional, pretty and or dramatic. The first one, while I was looking forlornly at the Saddlebrooke cloudburst, “Why there, and not on me?”:
Here’s what rips your heart out, the big, smooth-looking base indicating a good updraft right overhead but nothing comes out. The giant drops, those ones that are the biggest ones in the cloud could be coming down, defeating the updraft that’s been holding them up there because they’ve gotten too big and heavy for it, and likeyly they were even were big hail stones or giant graupel particles (soft hail), and they’re up there. but the strands of those biggest drops begin to streaming downward just a mile away you see. First, you have some sky rage seeing those strands reach the ground just a mile away, your face reddening, but then, being by nature more contemplative, resign yourself to yet another miss as now the sky fills with dead looking debris cloud upstream of you, only producing light, steady “little baby” rain at best, rain that wouldn’t amount to that much, only might be important to a flying ant colony, but that’s about it. Heartbreak Hotel, right here, overhead yesterday, started thinking about moving on again:
Thought back, too, to all the promise, the propitious start to the day with those thunderheads, mimicking hydrogen bomb blasts, over the Mogollon Rim on the north horizon at 9:30 AM. As a cloud maven junior, you would been thinking, “THIS is going to be a special day today.” Here’s that distant scene, so fabulous to see, from Equestrian Trail Road:
With dewpoints hovering near, and even eeking into the low 70s in AZ, with giant thunderstorms complexing our weather with sudden stupifying downpours, one wonders, after all of these blogs, this “body of work” if you will, if the several people who comprise the Cloud-Maven blogpire, one that radiates from one part of Catalina to another, would be able to know where they were if they could be transported to the locations in these two sets of four photos. (BTW, all of which were taken by the present Arthur–hahahaha.)
OK, drum roll, insert photos here.
Two were taken at the Madras (now Chennai) International AP in Meenambakkam, Tamil Nadu, India, in September 1975, and the other two just yesterday afternoon in Catalina, where most of us live. Remember, there are mountains in India, so just because you see some mountains doesn’t mean its NOT India. Also, just because I mentioned two were taken in India first, doesn’t mean necessarily that they are the first two shots below.
OK, begin thinking and analyzing, maybe drink some more coffee.
OK, if you guessed the first two photos were actually taken in India during the REAL monsoon in 1975, you were right. That’s a friend, Venkateswaran, on the far right of the first photo admiring the arcus cloud ahead of the downpour.
The result of our “pseudo-monsoon”, which was a pretty good imitation of the real thing yestserday, shown in the second set of two photos, was another 1-2 inches in the CDO watershed, 0.75 inches in here SE Catalina, 1.16 inches at Sutherland Heights, and a whopping 1.92 inches yesterday afternoon and Our Garden (Jesse, personal communication), keepers of the Catalina long term climo records.
What was the effect on the CDO River at the bottom of East WIlds Road?
It got huge. Coulda rafted brown water. Below are more shots of the CDO wash/river again for the second day in a row, ones after yesterday’s dump. A young bystander (i.e., fellow gawker) said I had arrived after the peak! Said the churning waves that developed every 20 min or so due to surges down the wash, were 8-10 feet high! Here they were about half that, 4 feet or so from trough to ridge. I wanted to “shop” a water buffalo in one of these photos so BAD!
Of course, this flood is “mild” compared to the Aug 25th, 2003 flow, which covered Lago del Oro road.
BTW, rainfall totals hereabouts are now up to or exceed the average July monthly amount of 3.xx inches.
The Weather Ahead
With high dewpoints once again today, 64 F here in Catalina, more large thunderstorms are pretty much in the bag, and importantly, this assertion is corroborated by calculating models, all that I looked at. Here is the forecast rain picture for 4 PM today from the Beowulf Cluster at the University of AZ: 4 PM 20120715_WRF Precip (Flash Animation) As you will see, WIDESPREAD rain is expected, with totals in the “best” cores getting up to 1-2 inches again. Wow, three days in a row of major storms.
Things are supposed to dry out some tomorrow, but showers will still be around before a break of a couple or three days.