Nothing much else here of too much interest except the usual cloud blabber… haha
Looks like another day for a chance of rain late….
Nothing much else here of too much interest except the usual cloud blabber… haha
Looks like another day for a chance of rain late….
Not much going on lately, so will dip into the archives from two days ago. One cloud in particular was so spectacular in its defiance of gravity, rocketing upward the morning of the 4th. So here are shots from that day…
6:46 AM, Aug. 4: The day began with a pretty normal looking patch of Altocumulus perlucidus (honey-comb pattern). No virga, so its likely not too cold. The sounding suggests it was up at 16,000 feet ASL, or 13 kft above Catalina at about 0°C (32 F).
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.
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.
“Frog strangler”, folk expression from the South for extra heavy rains, btw, which is what we had, except we have toads, not frogs.
Here’s what I think happened to produce 3.36 inches on Sutherland Heights. The winds were from the east at cloud levels. Cumulus spawned off the Catalinas/Mt Lemmon area, but the wind shear brought the tops over Sutherland Heights about the time they got cold enough to form ice, yesterday around -5° to -10°C (higher than the usual temps for ice formation because the cloud bases were so warm. I know what you’re thinking, “huh?” Take my word for it, that’s the way it works; the warmer the bottom of a cloud, the higher the temperature at which ice forms in it. Of course, over the oceans cloud base temperature doesn’t make that much difference… I better quit here on that.
Where was I? Oh… So, leaning out from the mountains is where they began to dump their loads beginning in mid-morning, when updrafts were likely modest. The first one missed Sutherland Heights altogether (except for a sprinkle, but drenched Oracle Road and the Basha’s area. And, likely because it didn’t rain on the east side of the Catalinas until later, those monster turrets kept spawning upwind of us.
The second in this series was a stronger turret, one that could stand more upright against the wind shear and dropped its load on Sutherland Heights. Indicative of stronger updrafts in that one was the onset of thunder, first aloft, then in ensuing turrets shooting upward, increasing cloud-to-ground strokes until it was unsafe to go outside without the thought of being fried.
And of course, the rainrates picked up, and stayed that way as new turrets launched off the same zone of the Catalina Mountains through mid-afternoon. That in itself was remarkable, and if you looked around, you could see that it wasn’t raining all that much either to the north or south of Catalina, and that the rainshafts faded as they trekked across Oro Valley.
The net result, an incredulous 3.36 inches here (3.37 inches in NWS-style gauge here), bound to raise eyebrows concerning possible rain gauge fraud; nothing like it anywhere in the local area! The ALERT gauge on the Golder Ranch Bridge only had 1.46 inches and Samaniego Peak, 1.93 inches! There will be very few days in our lifetimes like yesterday. Go to rainlog.org to see how amazing our local amount was in comparison to other gauges, once again raising the specter of fraud due to an outlandish amount1.
And, again, it was closer to what a REAL monsoon day in India, say, at Cherrapunji, where passing heavy rains are accompanied by the occasional thunderclap. So, in a sense, yesterday you were climatically transported to a land faraway, where tree roots are so big they make bridges out of them…
Some photos of this event, well, too many, really, after all, too many cloud photos is our niche!:
The End, of a very hurriedly thrown together piece. Got actual work that must be completed soon, something if you read it, it would be so boring you’d want to shoot yourself before you finished it! Sciency stuff. Oh, well, nose to grindstone now.
May 25th, yesterday, starting with sunrise color
Later yesterday morning, some interesting “Altocumulocirrus”, a rare breed indeed, mocking/mimicking Altocumulus.
Maybe Cirrus floccus would come closest to the true name, but to every eye but that of a genuine cloud maven person, it would be deemed just “Altocumulus”. Check these out to see how good you were–and NO correcting your cloud diaries!!!!
Now for some prettiness from yesterday evening:
Haha, most readers won’t even notice! But maybe some cow-centric, instead of cloud-centric, folks will drop by, raising the worth of this blog to above $35 if sold….that according to a “biz” site.
Had a rainbow yesterday. Hope you noticed. It was pretty early and overhead west. I think the clouds did not have ice in them. The rain echoes were not showing up on the radar, suggesting the beam went over the tops. Sounding suggested tops might have been as cool as -5°C. In any case, the drops were able to tip the bucket a couple of more times, and along with yesterday afternoon’s brief, light rain showers our total has climbed to 0.37 inches for the storm. Not bad, though as in money, you always want more.
These storm breakup days are always our prettiest, and that’s often what this site is about, being pretty. Yesterday had some fabulous scenes; couldn’t stop shuttering cam. It is a real neurotic compulsive behavior pattern, as afflicts some of us cloud and storm-centric folk. Check Mr. Olbinsky’s work; his work goes beyond phenomenal whether you want a wedding photographer or want to see a storm chasing video. But it takes that kind of eccentric energy to be special, to stand out as he does.
Here, though, we let the storms and cloud scenes, such as they are, hope for the best, and let them come to us…. Kind of a lazy storm chaser’s attitude.
Still cold aloft, so having some nice Cumulus today is in the bag, the early Stratocumulus devolving into Cu, that is.
At this hour, a small, pin-wheeling, galaxy-like vortex is drifting toward Catalina. Last night the town was ravaged by 0.30 inches of rain and winds to 50 mph around 2 AM as one of its pin-wheeling bands came through, likely with a big arcus cloud fronting it.
This was the first measurable rain in Catalina since I don’t know when. You probably don’t remember, either, its been that long.
More rain is expected as the little pin-wheeling vortex moves overhead of the little village of Catalina today and on to New Mexico tomorrow.
Plunked below is the Pima County ALERT rain map amounts with the Sutherland Heights amount plunked on it as well. We did pretty well it appears, compared to surrounding amounts. Yay. Our desert will love this! The greatest amount here is 0.46 inches at Dan Saddle in the CDO upper watershed. I guess he hasn’t found it yet.
And if you mention our desert vegetation, as I have, how can you not exult over the fabulous blooms on one of the most horrible plants on earth (haha), as far as spines and glockets go, the prickly pear!
Our models, supported by those ensemble “spaghetti” maps are making most of May look pretty darn nice, at least through 20th-25th as the upper air configuration reprises troughs twixt now and then. They’re looking like dry cool fronts, though, no rain in ’em. Snowbirds done left too soon!
A Cumulus cloud! Then traces of ice spewing from them as they deepened and spread over the sky! Then masses of VIRGA, snow drifting downward toward the parched desert, which is mostly parched all the time anyway. What a day, Mr. and Mrs. Catalina!
How high up were the bottoms of those Cumulus clouds with all that ice? Oh, about 17,000 feet above sea level, 14,000 feet above Catalina by mid-to late afternoon. The base temperatures, as you could tell with all that snow virga hanging down, had to be way below freezing, about -9°C, about 16° F.
Now, with all that ice, can you guess how low the temperatures had to be up around the tops of those clouds? Remember, if the top is about -12°C in a thin cloud, the droplets are very small because they haven’t been lifted upward much, 1000 to 1500 feet or so, there’s probably not going to be any ice. The smaller the drops, the harder it is for nature to create an ice crystal. So guessing that the tops were 1000-1500 feet above the base would be a good starting point, but horribly WRONG for those clouds with a lot of ice! A cloudwise neighbor, hearing that estimate, might start laughing, or at least sniggle.
With all that ice up there, and cold based clouds, a good estimate would have been -22.3°C, because adding the decimal would make it appear that you know more than you really do. Here’s the sounding from the U of AZ for yesterday afternoon when all the ice was in full display, down thataway as well as here:
As you know, the actual rain from this incoming system doesn’t get here until late tomorrow. We have to go through a dry slot aloft before the Pacific moisture gets here. The U of AZ Beowulf Cluster output is suggesting that we here in Catalinaland should get at least a tenth of an inch as an upper level vortex goes by (run is not complete as of this writing). But, because this vortex aloft that’s going to affect us is rather small, a slight position error could mean much more than that. It would seem the potential rain amount here might range from a least amount of 0.05 inches to ten times that amount, or 0.50 inches, more uncertainty than usual! Good chance of some thunder with this situation, too, to remind us that the summer rain season is getting closer.
The NOAA spaghetti factory had indicated this situation and the chances of rain on the 8th more than 10 days ago, and that is the power of those crazy maps, to give us some insight farther out in time than we normally can do any reliability. The scenario of “troughiness” over us continues well into May in those plots, and that should mean temperatures are moderate, not “ovenly” as we like to say here. Check it out here.
But that also means very windy at times, too, along with a chance for additional rain.
Unbelievable…. Well over 100 inches in the coastal range just north of San Luis Obispo (see arrow below). And, check those max totals in the table at right, too.
April also produced significant precip in central and northern Cal with almost 20 inches of water at the wettest site. More will accrue in May, too.
And remember most of all, that no one saw this incredible year coming! I think that’s why we love weather.
Makes up for the disappointing Big Niño water year of 2015-16, too.
Oh, and just now, a very exciting sighting on the front door!
This is great news, heard here first of course (haha), after a pitiful April with no measurable rain. Poor desert.
Its been suggested by the NOAA spaghetti factory for some time, but now actual precipitation is showing up in the models pretty regularly for around May 8th and thereafter, and so we can gleefully start dusting off our umbrellas, seeing if we have enough change for the car wash afterwards, etc.
Even WU (Weather Underground) is starting to catch up, showing about a 3% (THREE percent!) chance of rain at that time from last night’s model output. Its “waymore better” (a nice name for someone) than that, I think, though its not 100% yet. That percentage should be climbing as the days get closer.
BTW, Have never seen such a pronounced “retrogression” as that shown today over such a vast region of the globe in those spaghetti plots, and that’s why I’ve taken to the air today.
The good news for AZ-ians is that we get placed in a trough in the lower latitudes, albeit a weak one; a dip in “jetty jet stream” to the south over us (meaning cooler temperatures than average aloft should prevail) with some enhanced chances for rain after our main chances coming right up on the 8th and beyond for a couple of days.
As you know already, ovenly weather for this time of year, with temperatures far above average, is just ahead, which takes a big, fat high pressure dome aloft over us. That high will dissipate as “troughy” conditions begin to shape up toward the weekend.
So, venturing farther, it would seem a reasonable temperature first half of May is ahead, with RAIN, after the “meltdown” later this week.
Time for a random thought before closing: