Category Archives: Lenticular clouds

Sunrise, sunset colors drench Gatalina, AZ; Cal storms reach epic proportions

We’re often confused with the California island, Catalina, and even places in Spain.   Google “Catalina” and see if I am lying again. Oh, maybe that was Catalonia, SP…

Nevertheless, isn’t it time to think about a new name for our “Census Designated Place”, Catalina?  In fact, at one time, each Catalina island and our Catalina, each had a marina to further confuse things by adding superficial similarities….

Think about it.

Some sunrise scenes among too many available to the writer from his camera card:

Let's look at the Tortolita Mountains, drenched in sunlight.
Let’s look at the Tortolita Mountains.
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Cirrocumulus on the fade.
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Highlighted Cirrocumulus.
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About as complex as a patch of Cirrocumulus could be. It did seem there were TWO levels of Cirrocu here, which might help explain criss-crossing patterns.
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Nice Altocumulus lenticularis in the usual spot downwind of Lemmon when the flow is from the W-SW up there.
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Wide angle view of our spectacular sunrise. How you experienced it live.

Now, for sunset color:

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5:47 PM. Will think of something later.
5:47 PM. Will think of something later.

As you may know, there is some violent weather hitting the West Coast, California in particular.  Let’s see what the Reno office of the NWS has to say about the incoming storm:

“…BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST WEDNESDAY…

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM WEDNESDAY TO 4 AM
PST THURSDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RENO HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD
WARNING, WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST WEDNESDAY. THE WINTER
STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM WEDNESDAY TO 4 AM PST
THURSDAY.

* TIMING: DANGEROUS BLIZZARD CONDITIONS DUE TO HEAVY SNOW AND
  STRONG WINDS WILL CONTINUE TODAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING.
  PERIODS OF MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH
  WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

SNOW ACCUMULATIONS THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING: 5 TO 10 FEET ABOVE 7000 FEET WITH 3 TO 7 FEET AT LAKE TAHOE LEVEL.

(Note:  The large font size, the capitalization, suggest, as we know, that the writer is screaming, which I am.)

* WINDS: SOUTHWEST 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 60 MPH THROUGH
  WEDNESDAY MORNING. SIERRA RIDGE GUSTS OVER 100 MPH.

* SNOW LEVELS: BELOW LAKE LEVEL...MAY BRIEFLY RISE TO 6500 FEET
  THIS AFTERNOON BEFORE FALLING AGAIN.

* IMPACTS: DANGEROUS LIFE THREATENING BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WITH
  NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY WILL EXIST FOR TRAVEL AND OUTDOOR
  ACTIVITIES WITH HEAVY SNOW ACCUMULATION ON ALL SIERRA ROADS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TRAVEL!
ROAD CREWS AND FIRST RESPONDERS MAY NOT BE ABLE TO RESCUE YOU.
STAY INDOORS UNTIL THE SNOW AND WIND SUBSIDE. EVEN A SHORT WALK
COULD BE DEADLY IF YOU BECOME DISORIENTED1."

As we know, extremely heavy snows in the Sierras can trigger cannabalism, It is our sincere wish that those affected by this severe storm curb his or her appetite for humans, i.e,  that cannibalism does not break out in the Reno-Tahoe area, or ANYWHERE (capitalization for emphasis) in the Sierras during this terrible storm or its aftermath.

The End
————————–
1Thanks to Prof.  (emeritus) Roger Pielke, Sr., Colo State, for passing this warning along.  His son, a great scientist as well, btw, has the exact same name, and that’s why THIS Roger goes by “senior.”  Thought you’d like to know that.

In case you missed them…a 2008 full moon and, moving ahead, yesterday’s sunrise

The full moon of December 11, 2008. Thought maybe you'd like to see it again coming up over the Catalinas.
The full moon of December 11, 2008. Thought maybe you’d like to see it in case you missed it, or see it again if you did see it.  Maybe you had a special memory with this moon.
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7:09 AM. Altocumulus perlucidus with a little lenticular underneath.
7:43 AM.
7:10 AM. Zooming and zooming.
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7:10 AM. Zooming some more.
7:14 AM. Iridescence is evident in the cloud ripples just above the mountain silhouette.
7:14 AM. Iridescence is evident in the cloud ripples just above the mountain silhouette.
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7:16 AM, Contrails were soon visible in our Altocumulus layer, the aircraft making it at the right edge of the photo. Appeared to be in a climb out going right to left. And, when you see these “high temperature contrails” in Altocumulus, you can be sure ice will form and rifts will develop as a little bit of light snow develops and falls out.  The jillions of ice crystals in the contrail cause the droplets in the Altocumulus to evaporate, in a way, gutting it. An ice crystal is like a low pressure center when amid droplets;   the droplets evaporate and those water molecules deposit themselves on the ice crystal, a process named after the discoverers, Wegner-Bergeron-Findeisen.   Eventually the crystal is large enough to settle out and a clear streak results unless the air is rising rapidly and can replace the droplets (as generally happens in storms).  Sometimes the lift in the Altocumulus layer is enough that a clear canal caused by an aircraft can fill back in after many minutes.
7:18 AM. Two aircraft contrails, about a minute old.
7:18 AM. Two aircraft contrails, about a minute old.  After two or three more minutes, they will not be visible within the cloud, though ice is forming, decimating the droplets around the intense streamers of ice in the contrail.
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7:28 AM. The small ice canal (the ice is hanging just below the Altocumulus clouds–kind of hard to make out, but its there.
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7:42 AM. Those little clear streaks are hardly noticeable now, partly because they were quite narrow, and because of perspective and things bunching up in the distance.

 

From the Cowboys in Laramie, Wyoming, this TUS sounding for yesterday morning in the pre-dawn hours:

Suggested locations of cloud layers. The Altocumulus layer in which the contrails were embedded seems to be at -25°C, a "normal" temperature for this kind of "high temperature contrail". In general contrails are not supposed to occur until the temperature is below about -35° C and the air is moist, thus they are usually seen amid or near Cirrus clouds. not down in Altocumulus.
Suggested locations of cloud layers. The Altocumulus layer in which the contrails were embedded seems to be at -25°C, a “normal” temperature for this kind of “high temperature contrail”. In general contrails are not supposed to occur until the temperature is below about -35° C and the air is moist, thus they are usually seen amid or near Cirrus clouds. not down in Altocumulus.   See usual contrail height at Cirrus levels  in moon photo.

As the morning wore on, the Altocumulus deck faded away, moving east, and we were left with some Cirrus clouds, but what kind?

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10:58 AM. Cirrus of some type, but notice there is absolutely no fibrous details (strands and such) as we normally see in Cirrus.  Could be transverse waves in a Cirrostratus deck since Cirrostratus can be fog like, have no detail, in a version we call, Cirrostratus nebulosus.  The up and down motions would cause clearings perpendicular to the wind up there.  The lack of strands and uniformity in these bands suggests very tiny ice crystals, ones having very little fallspeeds.
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2:34 PM. Some nice “hovercraft” clouds, Altocumulus lenticularis off in the distance SSW. Hung around out there for a couple of hours.
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3:17 PM. This one appeared to be concave upward, which was a little odd. Zoomed view next.
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3:17 PM. Looks like the inside is higher than the outside. Huh.

Well, that was  it for photography yesterday.

Doesn’t seem to be any reliable indication of rain in sight.   Oh, sure, rain here pops up in the models almost every day, but its about 12-15 days out.  As the model gets closer to the day it predicted rain, it seems to go away like the “water mirage” on a hot paved road; always ahead of you, but you never get to it.  We’ve had some major rains indicated in the models as of a few days ago, but spaghetti was never very high on those events (clustering those crazy lines in a trough over us), so it wasn’t even worth mentioning.

And, even that rain is a gonner in the model runs from last night!

The End

Colorful evening ends day with a colorful morning; a note on the great Cal rains of October 2016

Not much else to talk about, no rain of course;  what is that?

But with so many colorful scenes yesterday, we can be partially sated by the  lives we lead here sans rain here.  October ended with a puny 0.01 inches in Sutherland Heights.

Now, because I grew up in California and remain a little Cal-centric, this brief diversion from AZ:

But droughty Cal got nailed though, from about San Luis Obispo, so we can be happy about that I guess.  One station, Gasquet RS,  near the Duck border,  got just under 28 inches in October; stations in the Santa Cruz Mountains, way down by Monterrey, got between 14-17 inches!  From the California-Nevada River Forecast Center, this nice map of October rainfall anomalies in that domain.  Red is real dry, and that’s the color we would be in if it was the California-Nevada-Arizona River Forecast Center:

Many departures are far over the map color-coding limit of 350%, but are over 1000% of average!
Many departures are far over the map color-coding limit of 350%, but are over 1000% of average!  Note red below normal swath.  This tells you that the mean area of low pressure at the surface and aloft was just off the West Coast.  Pac NW set maximum October rainfall records, too.

But let us not dwell any more of generous rains that others got, but celebrate the color and clouds of Arizona.   Here are yesterday’s glorious scenes, beginning with a spectacular Altocumulus lenticularis under some Cirrus at dawn:

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6:37 AM.
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6:47 AM. Ac len stack.
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10:51 AM. Tiny patch of Cirrocumulus tried to hide in front of some Cirrus. Hope you weren’t fooled and logged this sighting in your cloud diary. Cloud maven person almost missed it himself.
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12:50 PM. There were lenticulars aplenty yesterday. Here’s another one in a location a little different from normal, beyond the Catalinas. Upwind edge is the smoothest one at right. No ice streamers coming out the downwind end, so must have been pretty “warm”. Lenticulars, due to their tiny droplets and those droplets having short life times, have been known to resist ice formation to temperatures well below -30°C -22° F). Pretty amazing.
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2:42 PM. Kind of clouded up in the afternoon, and with breezes, made it seem like something was up. It was, but far to the NW of us. We have been under a streamer of high to middle clouds originating deep in the Tropics for a couple of days. Here some lower level moisture has crept in on cat’s feet, to be poetic for a second, and has resulted in small Cumulus and Stratocumulus clouds underneath the Cirrus and lenticulars standing around. All in all, though the temperature here reached 87° F, a very pleasant day.

Now, just some nice lighting and color:

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5:32 PM. The almost flourescent plant in the foreground is what is known as a “cholla.” The end elements fall off quite easily and attach to things like your pant leg if you brush by them on a horse, or if back into them while walking and correcting your horse for something when he’s acting a little “wild.”  I can report that when seven or eight of them are stuck to the back of your shirt, its really hard to get that shirt off.  In fact, it just about won’t come off without a major scream.
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5:35 PM. The higher Cirrus are shaded by clouds to the west, but the lower remnants of Stratocumulus/Cumulus and a few Altocumulus are highlighted as though they were meant to be for this photo. So pretty.  Notice, too, how there seems to be more than one layer of Cirrus.
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5:44 PM. Cirrus and Altocumulus, the latter with some turreting making those the species, “castellanus”, if you care.
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5:47 PM. A nice flame-out of Cirrus occurred as those pesky clouds blocking the fading sunlight from striking them opened up below the horizon. A few Altocumulus castellanus can be seen, too, but relegated to shadow status.

In a further celebration of dryness here, let us examine the rainfall cumulative rainfall predictions calculated by the University of Arizona’s Dept Hydro and Atmos Sci computer the period ending at Midnight on November 5th.  Says the coming rain in the State misses us here in SE AZ while falling just about everywhere else, of course.  Dang.  Let’s hope it one of the worst model predictions ever!

This really poor forecast is based on the global data from last evening at 5 PM AST.
This really poor forecast is based on the global data from last evening at 5 PM AST.

 

The End.

A thunderful day brings a little rain to Catalina, drenches the Tortolita Mountains.

The day started with some nice Altocumulus “pancakus”, some lenticulars and breezy conditions, reminding one of fall day with a cold front approaching.   Small Cumulus appeared quickly, but with the wind, you wondered if they would get enough heating to power upward into Cumulonimbus clouds.

By noon you had your answer as a large Cumulonimbus complex settled in just beyond the Tortolita Mountains west of Catalina.  And it pretty much recurred  there and over the Tortolitas all afternoon.   In the meantime, passing light showers dotted this side of the Catalinas, but that was about it.  No “Code 4” shafts on those mountains yesterday.   Rain totals were less than a half inch, and most less than a third.  On the other hand, would guess that parts of the Torts got well over an inch. The cores missed us again, with Sutherland Heights logging only 0.03 inches.

Developing showers passed over Catalina dropping occasional very large,  sparse drops, but shafts generally fell out of those clouds after they had passed off to the northeast.

Late in the afternoon, the line of recurring showers finally approached Catalina, but as dry air encroached in the middle levels, at the same time, catching up to that standing line, all those great mushrooming clouds were no more.  The cloud story board is below:

Yesterday’s Clouds but Yesterday’s Gone

(by Chad and Jeremy but with photos of Peter and Gordon with whom the former were often confused with,  the site notes!  How funny is that?)

Oh, well,  yesterday might well have been  the end of the summer rain season here in Catalina as far as rain goes, so an ending point song seemed appropriate.

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6:16 AM. Altocumulus with a underlying Altocumulus castellanus.
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6:16 AM. Another view of Altocumulus with an underlying line of Altocumulus castellanus.
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8:06 AM. Altocumulus perlucidus translucidus (real thin).
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10:55 AM. Altocumulus lenticularis clouds provide the real look of a fall day with a significant jet stream overhead. Cumulus begin to form on the Tucson Mountains in the distance.
12:56 PM.
12:56 PM. The idea of a fall day is quickly dispelled by the rapid growth of a narrow Cumulonimbus calvus cloud.
12:57 PM. Wow.
12:57 PM. Wow. At the same time, there’s been an explosion of Cumulonimbus clouds to the west through northwest of Catalina. This looked REALLY promising for a dump here, since it would surely expand southward (to the left) from the rain shafts in progress.
1:30 PM. Line of thunderstorms reaches the Tortolita Mountains. This is looking extremely good for Catalina though the thunderstorm is moving left to right rapidly, not toward us. Why does it look good for Catalina? Because you expect winds pushed away by all that falling rain to blow back against the sotuhwest winds and generate new Cu congestus and Cumulonimbus clouds upwind of the shafts, and more in line with Catalina. Summary: it didn't happen though there were numerous times it looked like it was verging on doing this. So, all those thoughts you had out there that this was going to happen were in considerable error.
1:30 PM. Line of thunderstorms reaches the Tortolita Mountains. This is looking extremely good for Catalina though the thunderstorm is moving left to right rapidly, not toward us. Why does it look good for Catalina? Because you expect winds pushed away by all that falling rain to blow back against the sotuhwest winds and generate new Cu congestus and Cumulonimbus clouds upwind of the shafts, and more in line with Catalina. Summary: it didn’t happen though there were numerous times it looked like it was verging on doing this. So, all those thoughts you had out there that this was going to happen were in considerable error. This was probably because the southwest wind against which the outflow was clashing, was too strong yesterday, limiting how far upwind new clouds could develop.
1:34 PM. This was looking so great! Bases massing there on the right side, pretty much upwind of Catalina.
1:34 PM. This was looking so great! Bases massing there on the right side, pretty much upwind of Catalina.
1:43 PM. Tortolitas now submerged in water.
1:43 PM. Tortalitas now obscured by water.
1:49 PM. Showers are developing farther upwind of the main blast over the Tortolitas as expected and near to upstream of Catalina! Gloating here. Was SURE now we'd get a tankful of rain within the hour.
1:49 PM. Showers are developing farther upwind of the main blast over the Tortolitas as expected and near to upstream of Catalina! Gloating here. Was SURE now we’d get a tankful of rain within the hour.
1:53 PM. In only a few minutes its looking so much better for us, and these showers are racing at us. Looks like the whole line is drifting east, too.
1:53 PM. In only a few minutes its looking so much better for us, and those showers and thunderstorms are racing this way!  Looks like the whole line is drifting east, too.  In the meantime, the thunderstorms moving away from the Tortolitas and toward Saddlebrooke Ranch and points north have sent out a blast of northerly winds into Sutherland Heights, pretty much like yesterday.  The clouds overhead begin to respond to that uplift caused by this blast of north winds.
2:06 PM.
2:06 PM.
2:16 PM. First nice cloud base waits until passing by to drop load, but another promising one appears upwind!
2:16 PM. That first nice cloud base waited until passing by to drop its load, but another promising one appeared upwind!
2:17 PM. In the meantime, another ferocious thunderstorm is dumping on the same area of the Tortolitas as the prior ones!
2:17 PM. In the meantime, another ferocious thunderstorm is dumping on the same area of the Tortolitas as the prior ones!
2:21 PM. A closer look at the Tortolita blast. Expect wind from this to reach Catalina.
2:21 PM. A closer look at the Tortolita blast. Expect wind from this to reach Catalina.
2:22 PM. WIth the north wind blowing you're looking for something to erupt upwind of us as the nose of that north wind pushes into Oro Valley. But here you see that the organization of the cloud bases is poor, too many little light and dark areas, no broad base indicating a strong updraft. This was a depressing shot.
2:22 PM. WIth the north wind blowing you’re looking for something to erupt upwind of us as the nose of that north wind pushes into Oro Valley. But here you see that the organization of the cloud bases is poor, too many little light and dark areas, no broad base indicating a strong updraft. This was a depressing shot but I took it anyway.
2:27 PM, The severe thunderstorm over the Tortalitas has moved NE. Here you see the kind of cloud base you want to see just upwind of you, not that mess in the previous photo.
2:27 PM, The severe thunderstorm over the Tortalitas has moved NE. Here you see the kind of cloud base you want to see just upwind of you, not that mess in the previous photo.
2:29 PM. Only a few minutes later, but look at the change that has occurred upwind of us! That north wind scooting down into Oro Valley has finally triggered a massive base just upwind of us We are going to get pounded!
2:29 PM. Only a few minutes later, but look at the change that has occurred upwind of us! That north wind scooting down into Oro Valley has finally triggered a massive base just upwind of us We are going to get pounded!
2:33 PM. But that great cloud base moves to the west of us, adajacent to yet another blast on the Torts. Ugh. Just can't get this right.
2:33 PM. But that great cloud base moves to the west of us, adajacent to yet another blast on the Torts. Ugh. Just can’t get this right.
2:36 PM. Some lightning for you in case you don't believe me that these were thunderstorms.
2:36 PM. Some lightning for you in case you don’t believe me that these were thunderstorms.
2:49 PM. Yet another promising base, more in the upwind direction passed over, only to leave some enormous drops. Compare splash marks to that mesquite pod on the sidewalk. Sounded like hail at first. But the main load fell downwind. I thought we were going to really get shafted right then, too. Not.
2:49 PM. Yet another promising base, more in the upwind direction passed over, only to leave some enormous drops. Compare splash marks to that mesquite pod on the sidewalk. Sounded like hail at first.
But the main load fell downwind. I thought we were going to really get shafted right then, too. Not.
3:03 PM. An example of poor cloud base structure upwind of us.
3:03 PM. An example of poor cloud base structure upwind of us.
3:04 PM. Curtains of heavy showers continue to bombard the Tortolitas, Amazing how many cells passed through that area as this zone of converging winds remained stationary instead of advancing toward us as I believed it would.
3:04 PM. Curtains of heavy showers continue to bombard the Tortolitas, Amazing how many cells passed through that area as this zone of converging winds remained stationary instead of advancing toward us as I believed it would.
3:18 PM. As skies cleared overhead, some of the prettiest scenes of the day were of these brilliantly white Cumulus congestus clouds over the Catalinas.
3:18 PM. As skies cleared overhead, some of the prettiest scenes of the day were of these brilliantly white Cumulus congestus clouds over the Catalinas.
3:20 PM. Ice detection drill... Can you tell that those two turrets in the last photos are now mostly ice?
3:20 PM. Ice detection drill… Can you tell that those two turrets in the last photos are now mostly ice?
3:28 PM. Can a scene be more beautiful? The turret on the far left has converted to ice.
3:28 PM. Can a scene be more beautiful? The turret on the far left has converted to ice.
3:29 PM. A single strand of hail or the largest drops have plummeted out of this base. This suggests that they were either very large particles, or that the updraft had a minute weakness that allowed some of the load aloft to escape in something of a narrow chute.
3:29 PM. A single strand of hail or the largest drops have plummeted out of this base. This suggests that they were either very large particles, or that the updraft had a minute weakness that allowed some of the load aloft to escape in something of a narrow chute. And, of course, its part of the line still pounding the Tortolitas!
3:47 PM. FINALLY the line appears to be shifting east toward Catalina, but the tops aren't as high, there are no giant cells any more, an indicating that both drier air is moving in and that the instabliity aloft is changing to less favorable for large storms. Oh, me. This was a discouraging scene.
3:47 PM. FINALLY the line appears to be shifting east toward Catalina, but the tops aren’t as high, there are no giant cells any more, an indicating that both drier air is moving in and that the instability aloft is changing to less favorable for large storms. Oh, me. This was a discouraging scene.
3:55 PM. While not as heavy as prior showers, there is still hope that the line will produce measurable rain in Catalina as it drifts east.
3:55 PM. While not as heavy as prior showers, there is still hope that the line will produce measurable rain in Catalina as it drifts east.
4:05 PM. By this time, its looking like the slowly advancing line will die before it gets here.
4:05 PM. By this time, its looking like the slowly advancing line will die before it gets here.
5:24 PM. That line: Done and done.
5:24 PM. That line: Done and done.
6:39 PM.
6:39 PM.

The End, whew.

Yesterday: less Cu, more Strato; today, more Cu, less Strato

Punctuation:  its hard.   Not sure about that in the title. Oh, well.  Kind of sad that English is my first language, too.

Yesterday was definitely more Stratocumulus-ee (clouds flatter than expected) than anticipated, which hurt since it was foretold here that it would be Cumulus-ee day.   And there was but the slightest evidence of any ice around, something that was also expected.  So the record of almost always being right on weather and clouds (i.e., >50% of the time) took a hit, which hurt, to repeat something about personal feelings.

Too, with noticeable breezes at times, the sky almost completely overcast at mid-day as well, and the temperature well below 80 °F, it seemed darn COLD for late April.

Today, looking ahead, the air cools over us again as it did two days ago as a puddle of cold air slams down the interior of the West Coast and into AZ, and we should see some nice, photogenic Cumulus/shallow Cumulonimbus this afternoon, and, since the coldest tops will be well below -10 °C, there should be some virga and light showers around.  So, another chance today for a little measurable rain here in Catalinaland before April closes out.  The jet stream at mid-levels remains south of us, too, a critical aspect for cool season rain in the Great SW.

With more instability today than yesterday, there should be some more sun around compared to yesterday since holes due to downward moving air around the upward moving air in cumuliform clouds will be out there.   Looking forward to today!

Still looking for the good rains next week as extra jumbo-for-May trough crashes into Cal from the Pac.

Yesterday’s clouds

In reverse order, today.  They imported that way, and am too lazy to move them all.

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6:49 PM. Looking toward Romero Canyon. Very nice lighting and shadows on our beautiful Catalina Mountains. Hard to believe that enough folks voted to cut off views like this when Oracle was widened and sound walls were put up in front of their homes to save, oh, 2-3 decibels is all, AZDOT said.
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6:49 PM. Nice lighting on Samaniego Ridge as the sun went down.
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4:23 PM. Nice “muffin-like” Cumulus over Ms. Mt. Lemmon producing a huge shadow. (hahah; its the cloud overhead left that’s causing the shadow. Kind of a dramatic shot I thought.
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3:15 PM. Lots of cloud coverage by those flattened tops (Stratocumulus cumulogenitus) with small to moderate Cumulus clouds below.
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3:12 PM. Thought I saw just that slight veil of ice (center), but maybe “grasping for a seed and swallowing a camel” here.
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1:06 PM. Looking NNW at Cumulus cloud with flattening tops due to an inversion lurking north of Saddlebrooke village.
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1:06 PM. A mix of Stratocumulus with small Cumulus clouds below lurk over and west of the Catalinas.
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7:35 AM. “Regular” Altocumulus with underlying Stratocumulus lurk to the north.
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7:29 AM. Altocumulus lenticulars lurk behind the Catalinas.

 

The End

Hurricane force winds strike the Sutherland Heights!

If you don’t believe me, and slept through it during the power outages when it was COMPLETELY dark last night, here is a MEASUREMENT of the event from a private weather station,  The arrow points to the event, 58 knots, which is about 67 mph.  This is the greatest wind measured by the PWA in seven years, here and a few down there on Wilds.  The measured (here, the max one-minute speed) wind is, of course, LESS than the actual greatest 1s or 2s puff, likely well over 67 mph.  Unless you have a fancy ultrasonic  anemometer, too much inertia in the cheaper ones to get those instantaneous puffs.

NEW:  Got to 100 mph on Mt. Sara Lemmon before tower on which an ultrasonic anemometer was installed blew away.

Hope your trees are intact:

WInd measurement from Davis Vantage Pro Personal Weather Station located right here somewhere in Sutherland Heights.
WInd measurement over the past 24 h from a Davis Vantage Pro Personal Weather Station located somewhere in Sutherland Heights.  (Remember in Israel, that popular top 40 radio station that said, “Braodcasting from SOMEWHERE in the Medeterranean” and every one knew it was that ship located a half mile or so offshore of Tel Aviv.  Played Springstein, that kind of thing for all to hear.

 

Only 0.17 inches tipped by the Davis Vantage Pro, but with wind blowing as it was, you KNOW that’s going to be substantially low.  We really can’t measure rain that accurately in any thing but perfectly calm conditions.  The more accurate measurements are made if your gauge is sheltered by vegetation that is about the height of the gauge top right near the gauge, but then increases like the inside of a bowl as you gradually move away from it in all directions.  No trees, please, too close!  Preferably your gauge is on the ground not up somewhere, too, which would exaggerate the losses from wind.

Now, I will go outside and measure the rain in two ground mounted gauges, one a NWS-style 8-inch gauge, and the little toy 4-inch gauge from CoCoRahs, that national group that wants your measurements! Sign up now.  Here are the other totals:

NWS gauge, 0.22 inches

CoCoRahs gauge, blew over, no total!  Dammitall!  Wasn’t as protected in the weeds as I thought.  That total “likely” was around 0.24 or 0.25 inches.  CMP had privately predicted, 0.28 inches for this storm, whilst a major forecast professor from CSU who lives in Catalina predicted an INCH1!

Brutal out there, too. Temp only 43° F, still windy.

The weather way ahead

Sorry to say no rain for Catalinaland in our latest computer forecasts through the middle of February as the Big Niño hyped so much here and elsewhere is turning out to be  big poop so far.

Cal rains only great in the far north of the State during January, and in the northern Sierras.

Sucked in by the Big Niño thoughts here, CMP  was predicting quite the mayhem in Cal during the last 15-16 days of January, and 25-30 inches at some locations during that time here is a table for that period from CoCoRahs.  Note Shelter Cove, near the King Range, has the most.  Totals are sorted in descending order, Jan 13-31.

CoCo Jan 13-Jan 31 Cal rain

 
No doubt your curiosity was piqued and peaked by seeing how much rain could fall on you if you lived in Shelter Cove, on the Lost Coast of California. Well, here’s what its like there. Has an AP, too!

IMG_3339
A view of Shelter Cove, showing airport and control tower. Yep, you can fly right in!
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Another view of Shelter Cove. King Range is in the distance. NO DOUBT, rainfall up there WAS more than 25 inches if about 22 fell at Shelter Cove!

May try to get some more of that Cal precip since Jan 13, finding a modicum o direct verification of that huge amount of rain prediction.

No Mavericks surf competition yet, though larger waves have been battering the Cal coast over the past two-three weeks.  Below, surf for today.

Cal big surf Jan 31

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4:04 PM. Nice lenticular, devolving into flocculated Altocumulus downwind. The cells the form downwind from the smooth upwind edge are likely due to the latent heat released when condensation occurs, causing weak up and downdrafts to develop father downwind.
5:58 PM. Dusty sunset, and once again I point out that this would be a great name for a western singer. No worrisome dark spotting on sun.
5:58 PM. Dusty sunset. No worrisome dark spotting on sun.

The End

————————————-

1Maybe the “Ivory Tower” has not only protected him from the hiccups of the “real world” due to tenure and that kind of thing, but also from discerning what real weather will be like.  hahaha.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  Recall CMP was NOT tenured, but just a “staff” meteorologist with a “light” at the end of the funding grant tunnel, year after year for about 30 years.  So, I am pretty mad about “tenure”.  Hahahaha, just kidding maybe.

“Tenure” was a recent subject of a Science Mag editorial (“Wither (wither) Tenure“), too; costs everybody, especially students, a LOT of money, it was said.

Too, often young bright researchers are blocked by senior professors having tenure and making large amounts of money that hang on well past their productive years.

Cloud Maven Person:  Resigned from the U of WA Cloud and Aerosol Research Group due to feeling he wasn’t earning his high “Research Scientist III” pay anymore, brain dimming, though there was a pile of money that he could have continued on with.  Title of resignation letter:  “Time to Go”.  This free-ed up monies for staff folks that remained in our group, too.

Com’on decrepit tenured faculty, give up!  Resign now!

PS:  My friend tenured fac is STILL active, gives talks/presentations around the world still, even though he’s quite a geezer now, as is CMP.

.

1.75 inches and counting; 3-7 in SE mountains

What a great wildflower-producing/maintaing storm!  While some, well most,  of the exceptional weather expected, like TSTMs, funnels, hail,  locusts, and afternoon arcus clouds, were not really observed, a lot of rain was.  Here’s your cloud day for our stupendous storm, not yet over, beginning with a how-it-fell chart:

How it fell.
How it fell.
7:43 AM.  A very Seattle=like view if the Catalina Mountains were the Olympic Mountains west of Seattle.
7:43 AM. A very Seattle-like view if the Catalina Mountains were the Olympic Mountains west of Seattle, complete with standing lenticular cloud overhead, here due to the SSE winds aloft.  Overnight, with just 0.19 inches,  we were one of the driest places in SE Arizona due to shadowing of the rain due to that southerly wind.
8:31 AM.  Almost the same scene, lenticular plate overhead holding in place, though it soon began to fade.
8:31 AM. Almost the same scene, lenticular plate overhead holding in place, though it soon began to fade.

 

9:00 AM.  Hike to get closer to rain, and to see if Sutherland Wash, east of Sutherland Heights, had any water in it after a few inches had fallen on Ms. Mt. Lemmon
9:00 AM. Hike to get closer to rain, and to see if Sutherland Wash, east of Sutherland Heights, had any water in it after a few inches had fallen on Ms. Mt. Lemmon.  Very pretty sight, coulda been on the west side of the Cascade Mountains, except for the lack of forests.
9:03 AM.  Another dramatically gray scene, something in the way of a cloud street coming off the Catalinas at ME.
9:03 AM. Another dramatically gray scene, something in the way of a cloud street coming off the Catalinas at ME.
9:08 AM.  Classic Arizona rain day scene.  Can't really be anywhere else with that saguaro, can it?
9:08 AM. Classic Arizona rain day scene. Can’t really be anywhere else with that saguaro, can it? Oh, btw, there was NOTHING in the wash at the Cottonwoods!
Jake the horse enjoys new sawdust while waiting for the rain.  Dreamer horse looks on.
9:47 AM.  Bored with the lack of rain, took this;   Jake the horse, also bored,  enjoys new sawdust while waiting for the rain which can’t seem to get here.. Dreamer horse looks on.

 

11:15 AM.  Still wating for rain, though it continues to pound the Catalinas, which is good.
11:15 AM. Still wating for rain, though it continues to pound the Catalinas, which is good.
10:50 AM.  Still hasn't rained here in Catalina after the rain near dawn.  However, this nice cloud base began to hover to the south of us.  Will it do anything?  Stand by.
10:50 AM. Still hasn’t rained here in Catalina after the rain near dawn. However, this nice cloud base began to hover to the south of us. Will it do anything? Stand by.

 

11:47 AM.  That hovering cloud base, much like a lenticular, continued in place, but at this time,  rain was beginning to fall from the downstream portions
11:47 AM. That hovering cloud base, much like a lenticular, continued in place, but at this time, rain was beginning to fall from the downstream portions over us!  And, look how summer-like the rain intensity looks on Pusch Ridge!  It started to get real exciting now.

 

1:21 PM.  Still R- to R falling out of this stationary cloud just upstream of Catalina. You could see that the backside of the rain upwind of us was only a mile or two away, but it never arrived during that 2 h rain.  One of the most interesting rain situations you and I have ever seen.
1:21 PM. Still R- to R falling out of this stationary cloud just upstream of Catalina. You could see that the backside of the rain upwind of us was only a mile or two away, but it never arrived during that 2 h rain. One of the most interesting rain situations you and I have ever seen.  About a quarter of an inch fell during this situation.  Nice.  And still, the “Yikes” period mentioned yesterday, suggested by the progs,  was still ahead!  But would it disappoint?
1:59 PM.  For those meteorologists and cloud mavens that like to work without looking at radar, this scene should have got your heart pounding.  Note the dark line on the horizon, "The Yikes Event" is about to happen!
1:59 PM. For those meteorologists and cloud mavens that like to work without cheating and looking at radar, this scene should have got your heart pounding. Note the dark line on the horizon, “The Yikes Event”m triggered by “Red Curly Air” aloft,  is about to happen!

 

1:59 PM.  Close up of the arcus cloud on the  and windshift line on the horizon about to move in.
1:59 PM. Close up of the arcus cloud on the and windshift line on the horizon about to move in.
2:26 PM.  In case you didn't believe me, this.  Visions of lightning  and hail danced in my head;  maybe some arcus would turn into a tube!
2:26 PM. In case you didn’t believe me, this. Visions of lightning and hail danced in my head; maybe some arcus would turn into a tube!
2:57 PM.  Cutting to the chase, just before the gush of wind and hours of rain.  The rain here is just arriving at Oracle Road.  No LTG, no hail, no funnels were observed though I looked damn hard.  That hangy down thing did not have rotation.
2:57 PM. Cutting to the chase, the so-so arcus cloud fronting the rain just before the gush of wind and hours of rain for Catalina arrived. The rain here is just arriving at Oracle Road.  No LTG, no hail, no funnels were observed though I listened and looked damn hard. That hangy-down thing did not have rotation.   See chart at beginning of blog for the great rain that fell.  Of course, with all the upper level support this had (“red curly air”) you knew it was going to be a wide rain band, not a cheesy narrow one.  We didn’t get the more severe Cumulonimbus clouds probably because there were no sun breaks ahead of this line (as was anticipated); temperatures stayed cool, in the mid-50s.  Still, it was a great work of rain (again, see chart).

The End, of yesterday’s cloud story, finished the next day after that.   See yesterday’s cloud story today.

 

Rain piling up; 3.4 inches already on Ms. Lemmon, more elsewhere!

And,  will there be a tornado today, too?  Arcus cloud almost a certainty.    Get cameras ready!    Read on…farther down.

4 (FOUR!)  inches  at Park Tank, Reddington Pass area by 6 AM ! Incredible for so early in the storm!  Check more  totals out from your friendly Pima County ALERT regional gauges.    Mods on track to verify those huge amounts that were predicted the day before yesterday! Washes will be running!  Flowers happy!  I’m happy!  Lot of excitement here!      !                                        !

Only 0.15 inches here in Sutherland Heights/Catalina…. so far (6 AM).   :{

Yesterday’s study in gray

DSC_2297DSC_2285DSC_2288DSC_2300DSC_2319DSC_2327DSC_2333 DSC_2342

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today!

Some excitement just now, after seeing that a major rain band had passed by, and we’re now in a break in the rain.

Will it rain more?  Tune in at 11 to find out…..  (hahahaha;  we don’t do that here!  More excitement.)

Went to U of AZ mod run from 11 PM AST last night, the very latest, then saw that a narrow,  heavy band or precip, maybe a squall line, something out of the Midwest, was foretold for us Catalinans this afternoon!

Then went to examine upper air and positioning of vorticity maximums ejecting out of our incoming trough (vorticity maximums represented by redness in the plot below from the University of Washington’s Weather Department– color scheme by Mark Albright, the color man up there:

Positioning of "red curly air" (vorticity or rotational areas) in the atmosphere at 1 PM AST today, looking for the cause of the afternoon rainband.  The approach of red curly air is accompanied by upward motion in the atmosphere.  When I looked at this, I exploded with a "yikes!". more excitement, today's theme.
Positioning of “red curly air” (vorticity or rotational areas) in the atmosphere at 1 PM AST today, looking for the cause of the afternoon rainband. The approach of red curly air is accompanied by upward motion in the atmosphere. When I looked at this, I exploded with a “yikes!”. more excitement, today’s theme.

This was exciting due to incoming “red curly air” this afternoon above us, AND,  due to those spreading out of the contours over us (see arrowhead).  Diffluent contours are indicative of air spreading out aloft, something that leads to enhanced upward motion.

And, to blab on, the air aloft will be cooling off on top of our high-for-winter dewpoint air (50s), which should lead to large Cumulonimbus clouds, likely organized in a line of thunderstorms, as all this happens this afternoon or evening.

And, going over the edge here some, as is my wont, we might well see a funnel cloud somewhere today.  This is the kind of situation that you can get them.  So, to sum up today:

Possible funnels!  Will they reach the ground somewhere in AZ?  Maybe.  Lightning!  Hail likely, too!  Rain rates likely to reach an inch an hour, though that rate may not last an hour unless you’re real lucky and get shafted real good.

Will be watching intensely for all these manner of things today!  Haven’t been this excited since Oct 2nd, 2010,  I think it was when they had that tornado in PHX!

Remember, too, our motto:

Right or wrong, you might have heard it here first!

The weather way ahead

While a long spell of dry weather comes after this 2 day event, the mods have popped up with a heavy dose of rain in two weeks.  Of course, normally this would be considered Fantasy 101.  HOWEVER,  a slight amount of credibility is added when such a pattern that brings rain strongly resembles the one you have now.  Check out these upper level flow maps out, as rendered by IPS MeteoStar, that has just moved their pay wall to March from February (yay!).  The first one below is for today’s situation, and the second one for Valentine’s Day in two weeks.  Look pretty similar don’t they.

You see, weather has a memory like your horse.  You ride to Deer Camp way up in the Catalinas; you’ve never been there before, nor has horsey, and then you head back, but you’re not sure of the way.

Well, horsey will remember for you!

(To continue with the extra excitement theme of today’s blog!)

Well, the weather has a memory that we call “persistence”, likes to do the same thing over and over for awhile, and so when a similar pattern turns up in the models that you have now, we give it a little more credibility than none when its two weeks out, maybe 30% chance of actually happening (i. e., still a bit of a long shot).

Here's what we have today; low off Baja spinning moist air from the far southern latitudes into AZ.
Here’s what we have today; low off Baja spinning moist air from the far southern latitudes into AZ.
Valid at 5 AM AST, February 14th, Valentine's Day
Valid at 5 AM AST, February 14th, Valentine’s Day
2015013000_WST_GFS_SFC_SLP_THK_PRECIP_WINDS_384
The big rain accompanying the Valentine’s Day Storm.

The End!

0.05 inches so far; a rare sighting in Seattle in January

1)  The quarter inch predicted/hoped for here fell on Borrego Springs, CA, (0.27 inches) instead.   So, it was pretty close.  We received a measly trace in the past 24 until we got 0.05 inches just now!  Barely made the 0.05 inches, thought to be the least that could fall.  So, in humility, will be expanding limits of storms, maybe go with 0-5 inches possible amounts for every next storm.  Should hit those.

2) Mods still think more rain is ahead over the next few days, beginning on Thursday.  This period of rain has always been predicted to be more than yesterday anyway.

3) As an outstanding weather note for my reader, I thought I would post this photo from a friend in Seattle of the exceptionally warm weather for this time of year they had yesterday in Seattle (60s).  A young1 woman at Green Lake in Seattle displays how warm it is by dawning a bikini, near where the present writer used to live.  “Smells like global warming”,  as Seattle’s own Kurt Cobain1 might have said about yesterday,  if he wasn’t dead.

While there have been studies about cherry blossoms and that kind of thing coming out earlier in the spring back East of late, maybe there should be one about bikinis coming out earlier, too.  How many weeks earlier in spring than during the Little Ice Age, do we see bikinis nowadays?  How long has the bikini season been lengthened?  Is it commensurate with lengthening of the growing season? That would be a VERY interesting scientific question to address, one that needs to be fully addressed via graphs and photo documentation.  Applying  for NSF global warming grant monies now…..

Yesterday afternoon at Green Lake in Seattle.  A young woman dawns a bikini!  Unheard of in January in Seattle!
Yesterday afternoon at Green Lake in Seattle. A young woman dawns a bikini! Unheard of in January in Seattle!  Thought I would display this full size so that you could see how warm it is.  Thanks to Bob S, Ballard District,  for supplying this datum.

 Yesterday’s clouds

8:31 AM.  Rainband encroaches from the south horizon.  Flow was from the southeast, but movement of band was to the north.  The clouds in the foreground are two layers of Altocumulus.
8:31 AM. Rainband encroaches from the south horizon. Flow was from the southeast, but movement of band was to the north. The clouds in the foreground are two layers of Altocumulus.  The banded rain cloud moving toward us would be Nimbostratus.
11:30 AM.  Dammitall, its still not here, and now the rain coming out of the band is so slight you can see through to the other side!  Nice birds of some kind on the wires, upper left.  Makes me think of that Leonard Cohen song, Bird on the Wire, best interpreted by Judy Collins, of course.
11:30 AM. Dammitall, its still not here, and now the rain coming out of the band is so slight you can see through to the other side! Nice birds of some kind on the wires, upper left. Makes me think of that Leonard Cohen song, Bird on the Wire, best interpreted by Judy Collins, of course.

 

11:31 AM.  Lotta birds on the wire.  I thought you should see this.  Above, Altocumulus/Stratocumulus, with a higher layer of Altostratus.
11:31 AM. Lotta birds on the wire. I thought you should see this. Above, Altocumulus/Stratocumulus, with a higher layer of Altostratus.
4:08 PM.  After the trace and clearing, a new bank of Altocumulus/Stratocumulus and rain band approached from the south
4:08 PM. After the trace and clearing, a new bank of Altocumulus/Stratocumulus and rain band approached from the south.  Virga can be seen on the horizon, too.  Hope building again for measurable rain.
4:19 PM.  From the corral, a display of Altocumulus/Stratocumulus lenticulars downstream from the Catalinas.
4:19 PM. From the corral, a display of Altocumulus/Stratocumulus lenticulars downstream from the Catalinas.  Nice lighting on hills, too.
4:30 PM.  Cloud maven juniors should have noticed that the lower layer of clouds here are LOWER than the clouds that passed over earlier.  That means the incoming rainband had a better chance of producing measurable rain though it didn't.
4:30 PM. Cloud maven juniors should have noticed that the lower layer of clouds here (left of center), are LOWER than the clouds that passed over earlier. That means the incoming rainband had a better chance of producing measurable rain though it didn’t.
4:40 PM.  Another great sign that measurable rain was on the doorstep though it didn't were these faint Cumulonimbus tops.  Gettin' excited here, as you were no doubt.
4:40 PM. Another great sign that measurable rain was on the doorstep though it didn’t were these faint Cumulonimbus tops showing up beyond Pusch Ridge. Gettin’ excited here, as you were no doubt.  Some pretty hard radar cells came up out of Mexico then.

That’s it.  No more photos, no rain last night, either, but in some kind of rain miracle, it has just put 0.05 inches in the gauge! So, the forecast from this typewriter that 0.05 inches was the least that could occur in this “storm” has been verified!

Conditions not ripe for much more, though a few light showers are still upwind.  Clouds oughta thin as the morning goes along,  with huge breaks in the clouds this afternoon.

Mods suggest more rain beginning as early as Thursday night.  This one has more potential for rain here, somewhere between 0 and 5 inches, i. e., only a 10% chance of less than zero; less than 10% chance of more than 5 inches.  There, that should do it….

The End

———

Composer, lead singer for that Seattle band, Nirvana.  You can see Kurt in a cloud of smoke singing, “Smells like air pressure here“, a Bill Nye parody of the true Nirvana hit where Cobain sings in a lot of smoke, “Smells like teen spirit.”  Compare versions.

The rains (plural) ahead; reviewing “Lorenz” plots

It doesn’t get much better than this plot below for our Catalina weather 10-13 days ahead, which is always pretty fuzzy-looking as a rule.  “Better” means for rain chances here, which is not everyone’s “better.”

Here’s the excitement:

Note blank area, that is, an area free of lines area centered on the gambling and other mischief-permitting State of Nevada1.

Note how the red lines dip down into Mexico, whilst the blue lines bulge northward into Canada along the West Coast.  Valid at 5 PM AST, January 22nd.

This error-filled plot2 tells us that it is almost certain that a trough will be in the lower middle latitudes where we are on January 22nd or so.  Just about guaranteed.

In the meantime, those blue lines indicated that a ridge of high pressure is going to divert northern storms into Canada and southeast Alaska.  Sometimes we refer to situations like this as “split flow”; the southern portions of storms in the Pacific move ESE toward southern California and the Southwest, while the northern portions split off to the NE, as is happening now. Weak upper level disturbances pass overhead, the next one tomorrow, and with it, a little more rain,  the models say.

U of AZ mod has rain moving in toward dawn tomorrow with totals here amounting to about like that last rain, 0.10  to 0. 25 inches.  Given model vagaries, probably the lower and upper limits here are likely to be 0.05 (worst case scenario) and 0.50 inches (best case scenario), so a best guess would be the middle of those,  0.275 inches, not too much different from the AZ mod.  This is the sports-like part of weather forecasting.  What’s your estimate, fantasy or otherwise?

BTW, there were quite a few stations reporting over an inch of rain in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties during the past 24 h, and so while weak, this system is pretty juicy, lots of liquid water as measured by dewpoints which should rise into the upper 40s to low 50s here during the next day.  Also, there have been some embedded weak Cumulonimbus clouds and that’s a possibility here tomorrow, too, as the rainband goes by.  You’ll be able to tell that by strong shafting below the clouds.  As always, hoping we here in Catalina get shafted tomorrow.

But the ones these days are weak, while the split ahead in 10-13 days is likely to contain much stronger disturbances, well, at least ONE before it gives out.

Yesterday’s clouds

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7:22 AM. Sunrise Altocumulus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_1646
11:42 AM. Another very summer-like looking day with clouds beginning to pile ever higher over the Catalinas.

 

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12:51 PM. Small Cumulus are developing over the Catalinas while far above them are, two crossing contrails, about the same age suggesting that aircraft crossed  paths simultaneously. The FAA flight separation rules now allows for 1,000 feet of separation instead of the 2,000 feet in years past,  and so if you’ve flown recently, you may have noticed planes that appeared to be a lot closer to you than ones a few years ago. This has been permitted due to improvements in aircraft GPS accuracy, and was deemed needed due to the vast increases in air traffic in the decades ahead.   Still, there were times when opposite flying aircraft were so CLOSE, passing by like bullets,  that you wanted to scream to the pilot, “Hey, wake up and smell the air space!!!!”

 

DSC_1654
1:44 PM. Probably had a little ice in that smooth section, but overall really looked like a miniature summer Cumulonimbus cloud. Did not see if it had an echo, and never was it clear that there was ice.
DSC_1661
2:02 PM. As Altocumulus castellanus overspread the sky, lenticular clouds were still visible beyond the Catalinas. Some lenticulars began to sprout turrets, an odditity, but one driven by the condensation of water, something that releases a little heat (in this case) to the atmosphere causing the cloud to be more buoyant.

 

DSC_1678
5:32 PM. A sunset of Cirrus and Altocumulus. Not bad.

 

————————

1What a great and honest state motto that would be!  “Nevada:  That US State where gambling and other social mischief is OK with us!”

2Don’t forget that due to growth in computer capabilities, we can now have many model runs from the same data and be done with them in a timely way.  These “spaghetti”, “ensemble” or better yet, “Lorenz” plots are computer model runs with deliberate (!) slight errors introduced to see how the model forecasts of high and low pressure centers changes, given a few slight errors.  This is because there are ALWAYS errors in the data anyway, there are always error bars on measurements, etc.  By doing this, only the strongest signals in the forecasts remain, indicated by grouping of lines these two colors of lines, red and bluish.  So,  the forecast of the jet stream coming out of Asia is very, very reliable.  Things go to HELL, downstream (toward the east), but some likely patterns can still be seen, such as the one over the Southwest US where a trough/low is almost certain in our area then.  Will it bring us rain in Catalina?  Hell, I don’t know because if the trough is a little too far to the east of us, we might only get cooler.  However, since Cloud Maven person has a postive rain bias, he will say, “Absolutely.  There will be rain in the Catalina area on January 22nd or so”–the actual timing might be off by a day or so.