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!
I thought you’d like to read this (Peru’s Niño), forwarded to me by Niño expert, Nate M. Pretty incredible to read about what is happening down there in the wake of the Big Niño of 2015-16, which really turned out to be more of a couch potato in terms of weather production in the Great SW.
But, all this winter, along the Equator near the coast of South America, there has been something we used to call an “El Niño”, but is downplayed or ignored these days because of a new definition that seemed to explain more weather when it occurred, “Region 3.4” a large zone along the Equator WAY out in the Pacific rather than something near the South American coast (that zone now called, “Regions 1 and 2”), as nicely illustrated by NOAA here.
But what has been the effect of what we might call the “Classic Niño”, a warm strip of water along the South American coast, one that doesn’t extend too far into the Pacific? “Read all about it”, as they used to say. Its pretty remarkable.
And here’s what the SST field looks like. Its boiling down there off South America! (Speaking figuratively, of course):
Peru’s Niño can be thought of as a “classic Niño”, the ones written about in the decades before about 1990 or so when the definition of what constituted a NIño (or Niña) was expanded and delineated more sharply among several definitions that were floating around. We ended up focusing on a region WAY out in the Pacific Ocean called, “Region 3.4” that SEEMED to explain more over the prior years.
What’s so interesting about this is that the “Classic Niño” has been underway pretty much all this winter, and we’ve had, especially in California, a classic Niño response; that is, abnormally heavy precip farther down the West Coast that no one anticipated.
Well, the correlations with Cal precip and “classic Niño” occurrences will take a huge jump upward after THIS winter!
End of Statement (hand-waving) on Niñoes.
Local weather statement: for immediate release
Cooler, fluctuating weather foretold here for that latter part of March, I don’t know how many weeks ago, is on the doorstep after the long, anomalously hot dry spell. Poor wildflowers have been suffering, too, fading, looking a little stunted after a great beginning, one rivaling the great displays of 2010.
All of the local weatherfolk are on top of this now, and so no point recasting that stuff. HECK, you can go to Weather Underground1 and get as “good as can be” forecast for Catalina (Sutherland Heights) out to ten days! And, there’s nothing worse for a weather forecaster with forecasting in his blood, than to be excited about an “incoming” and when you mention it to a neighbor he replies, “Yeah, I heard about that already. Supposed to get a quarter of an inch.” There is no air whatsoever in the “balloon” after that. So, if you have a weather-centric friend who says something about the upcoming weather, pretend that you haven’t heard about it yet, “DON’T say something as hurtful, as “Yeah, I heard about that already.”
So, here, we go the long route because most weatherfolk are afraid to go too far into the future because its often WRONG. Our models tend to lie a lot after about even a week, so only the brave go out even ten days!
However, here, we go out as much as two weeks and more because its not a truly professional site but rather want to get something out there earlier than other people, sometimes called a “scoop” in the news and weather business. That’s why our motto here is, “Right or wrong, you heard it here first!” Furthermore, if a longer range forecast posted here is WRONG, you won’t hear about it anymore!
Cloud maven person will say this about the first incoming of several fronts: comes in early Thursday morning, its strong! Rainfall potential: 10% chance of less than 0.12 inches, 10% chance of more than 0.75 inches. Best of those is the average, or about 0.4350 inches in this one. It has great POTENTIAL to be a soaker, but mods have been all over the place; hence, the large range of potential amounts. At least some measurable rain seems to be in the bag, a paper one please, because plastic is insidious. Note, CMP’s forecast is more generous than that found in WU’s latest forecast for Catalinaland.
The weather WAY ahead, unprofessionally so
Let us look beyond the professional forecasting limits to April:
We know we got several storms/fronts zipping across AZ as March goes out like a lion, but what about April?
Looks like that pattern will continue into April with temperatures below normal for the first part. The end of the unprofessional forecasting portion of this blog, though we do have our NOAA spaghetti to hang our umbrella on…. Check it out for about two weeks ahead.
Some clouds recent clouds, including a couple from yesterday
———————– 1Although “Weather Underground” might sound like an org has a radical origin, maybe something left over from the late 1960s, this particular one was NOT formed by 60s “weatherman” terrorists like Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn (the link is for those of you who may have set trash cans on fire, as happened at San Jose State to protest the Vietnam War, to look back at those days in horror or nostalgia; take your pick) , but rather by genuine weather geeks (haha, I count myself among them, those that can’t get enough of weather, there can never be too much, like the guys mentioned in this “Cloud City” article.)
Doesn’t look promising for much rain here in Catalina in March, however. No rain in sight through the next 10 days at least.
Let’s check our 7 inches with what’s happening upwind, say, in CALIFORNIA, and see if there’s been any drought relief there, through February, via the CNRFC:
As you are likely to know from many media stories last year, Cal was in a drought siege of five straight years, with but got a little relief last year in the northern part thanks to help from the giant Niño, one of the strongest ever.
Alas, it was one that failed to deliver as the big rain producer for the south half of Cal and the SW in general as was expected.
In case you’ve forgotten how bad things were in Cal, let us look back at what was being said, those horrific appearing drought maps, and also how hopeful were were at the time that the Big Niño would take a bit bite out of drought. This is a really good article:
Then, when the Big Niño faded away like maple syrup on a stack of buckwheat pancakes last spring and summer, we were surely doomed for more dry years. And, for a time, the dreaded cold tongue of water in the eastern equatorial region, the so-called, La Niña, started to develop, which would be no help at all for a good rain season like a Big Niño is, usually.
The Niña faded away, too, to nothing as the winter went on, so we really didn’t have much going on in the tropical Pacific to help us figure out what kind of winter rainfall regime we were going to have om 2016-17. Not having anything going on meant winter rainfall could go either way, a difficult to figure out situation for season forecasters.
In retrospect it is pretty astounding how big a signal must have been out there SOMEWHERE that this winter was going to be one for the history books on the West Coast in general, and in particular, for Californians. Californians saw their drought chewed up and spit out in a single winter, including snow packs so high the height of some mountain peaks have been revised. (I’m kidding.)
No one saw such an astounding winter coming.
This winter sure makes one think of the QBO (Quasi-biennenial Oscillation, one up there in the Stratosphere where there’s almost no air (haha, well, practically none)… Did the QBO have a role in this astounding winter; was there a delay in the effects of the Big Niño even without a bunch of convection in the eastern Pac tropics? Doesn’t seem that could be right…
But, William “Bill” Lau, U of Maryland scientist, reported some statistical evidence of such a lag way back in ’88 due to a QBO connection of some kind and ENSO, no physical cause could be discerned, however, not yet, anyway. Lau, 1988, is reprised below for readers who want to go deep:
I guess “billows” (“undulatus” in cloudspeak) two days ago in the late afternoon wasn’t enough of a sign that the weather was changing. Yesterday we had fast moving Cirrocumulus with rainbows in it, and as the sun was setting, “jet streak Cirrus”, a line of Cirrus clouds often seen in the very core of high altitude, powerful jet streams passed overhead.
How hard was the wind blowing up there in that Cirrus last evening? Oh, our Tuscon balloon sounding, lifting off around 3:30 PM, going up about a 1000 feet a minute to, indicates that the max wind up there at Cirrus level was 146 knots (just under 170 mph)! Yikes. Poor balloon. Must be in France by now.
The storm has been a bit of a disappointment in rain production. We’ve only logged 0.22 inches1. Not as much as foretold here, 0.33 inches, but that forecast was a better prediction than by “Weather Underground Robotics” (0.58 inches). Its great to beat a robot!
We had another sign yesterday in the fastest moving Cirrocumulus clouds I think you’ll ever see around here (about 100 mph), ones at just 18,000 feet above sea level, 15 kft above Catalina: rainbows of color near the sun called iridescence (also called “irisation”). Here, as is the norm here, are a few too many shots of the same thing2.
The colors themselves, of course, don’t warn of something about to happen, but the fast movement from the southwest did; a powerful jet stream is over you. That strong stream, the result of temperature gradients in the atmosphere, is dividing deep warm air from deep cold air, and steers the alternations of high and low pressure centers, and with those alternations of lows and highs along the jet stream, air is drawn from different latitude zones and the boundaries where those different masses of air meet at the surface, is called fronts. Here, such as last night, its nearly always cold ones.
The rest of the day was pretty exciting, the wind arising suddenly yesterday morning, along with our usual great visibility, and darker blue wintertime skies, made the clouds stand out more.
The sky at last, considering the power of the trough approaching, FINALLY began to fill in. Started looking around for the first sign of ice having formed in these clouds as the air aloft became cooler. Along with this filling in by Cumulus and Stratocumulus clouds, some sun highlights began to appear on our mountains, contrasted by the darkening skies above.
Eventually our jet streak Cirrus provided the background for another great sunset scene:
Today’s clouds and weather
From that map above, you’ll see that there’s a “tail-dragger” trough still to the west of us and about over Sandy Ego (haha). That’s going to keep the air over us extremely cold, and with some sun, the Cumulus clouds that arrive are expected to have tops colder than -15 to -20° C, plenty cold enough for the formation of ice.
Ice means precip, snow up there, rain down here in spots. So, we could still pick up a few more hundredths if a shower happens to drop by. The chance of isolated very light showers in the area is 100%, but no one can tell you if one will actually land on us. You’ll have to be watching, mostly after 12 noon. Look to the west toward the Tortolita Mountains, terrain that ought to spawn one or two of those.
Looks like a longer dry spell ahead; several days to a week, maybe more.
1CoCoRahs gauge, btw. NWS-style gauge had only 0.20 inches, likely due to enhanced wind loss associated with my collapsing prickly pear protector. 2 I was driving and had to park and jump out of car to get these. You only have seconds or maybe a minute or three to capture stuff like this.
What a gorgeous day yesterday was with deep blue skies dotted with Cumulus and one or two shallow Cumulonimbus, highlighted by our snow-capped Catalina Mountains. After the brief warm up, more storms ahead for Catalina!
Explanatory module below
After the brief warm up ahead, still looks “troughulent” and stormy in the SW as December closes out, continuing into January.
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:
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:
Now, just some nice lighting and color:
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!
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
Have had 1.75 inches here in the Heights last few days. Horsies are tromping around in significant mud.
But, to resume a theme about others from the prior entry, those in California, they’d better be paying close attention to the weather a week and more out. In this weather watcher’s opinion, which should count for something, California may be in for an unforgettable January.
Recall how those “ensemble-spaghetti-Lorenz” plots had an unusually constrained (contours of flow, red and blue lines that were unusually bunched together all the way from Hong Kong to ‘Frisco even 10-15 days out? That indicated a high confidence forecast of where the jet stream would be.
USUALLY, the contours are pretty wild, scattered all over the eastern Pac after about 10 days or so, and Cloud Maven Person got overly excited about this esoteric part of weather forecasting, and decided to write a partially decipherable tome on it.
Well, that constrained jet, blasting into Cal from the subtropical latitudes with a terrible ferocity, has continued in model run after model run now, and CMP’s excitement has been further elevated, maybe to penthouse level now, hard to elevate it more.
Way below are a few examples from just last night’s model run based on global obs at 5 PM AST, showing a few sample of the jet stream predicted pattern at 500 millibars, or around 18, 000 feet (from IPS MeteoStar, as usual).
THESE are extraordinary maps, and extraordinary maps mean extraordinary storms, AND they are appearing with extraordinary consistency.
They are also compatible with what we saw in those ensemble-spaghetti plots of a few days ago. So, like the “Frankenstorm” of 2010 that hit California, this series of strong storms hitting Cal in just over a week, will be considered to have been “well-predicted” by those crazy plots.
Is FEMA ready?
I think they will be involved at some point.
But, too, this is a forecast series where we (those in Cal) have lots of time to get ready for big, destructive events.
For Cal, the usual.
1) Huge waves smash the coast, some home roll into the ocean. With a jet having a gigantic fetch from the Pac, huge waves are a certainty, surf will definitely be up, if that’s what you do because the surface winds will ALSO have a huge fetch to build those giant rollers.
2) Winds. At some point, hurricane force winds blow stuff around in one of more of the low centers generated by such a powerful jet stream. Looking at the pattern, I think one within this storm series may produce 100 mph winds or more somewhere in Cal.
3) Flooding. Can the nearly empty Cal reservoirs we’ve heard so much about be filled up in a series like this, something that might go on for one to two weeks? I think so, some anyway. But this is a truly wild thought, and as you can see, CMP is kind of out of control here.
It is certain that the rains with one or more of the low centers that slam the West Coast during this series will produce rains of 10 or more inches in a day in the hill and mountain regions of Cal.
Also, the series begins with a strong, but maybe not exceptional storm about 8 days from now, this after a pretty good rain has already occurred, so the ground is going to be pretty wet when the Big Series hits.
The jet stream pattern strengthens and shifts farther south with each day after this first major storm, and that’s when the real onslaught will hit.
I don’t want to get people overly excited like I am, but I am terming these, and the whole recent series of unbelievable jet streams bashing into Cal, and even Baja!, “the California calamity maps.”
Skipping ahead some more….
Now the timing of these things WILL VARY as the mod runs keep churning out results, but in CMP’s view, the pattern that will cause CA havoc is locked in now, promulgated ALMOST without doubt by our Big Niño.
Here is another amazing map from a prior run, that just makes your jaw drop due to what the models are sensing is “out there” for Cal and the West Coast:
How will SE AZ do?
Seems like passing rains will hit during this CA bludgeoning period, but floody weather not expected.
Since we’re pretty much at our average total for the month of January right NOW, CMP is going out on a limb and predicting an above normal total for the WHOLE month.
Truly LATE breaking news, untimely really, but Augustober 18th was too special a day to ignore:
Giant clouds, dense rain shafts, frequent lightning in the area throughout the afternoon, dewpoints in the high 50s to 60 F; can it really be after the middle of October? Or, is this some kind of preview of climate change we can look forward to in the decades ahead, that is, if you’re thunderphilic?
1:56 PM. Anvil of the Cumulonimbus over west Tucson, drifts overhead of Catalina, and in three minutes, rain drops started to hit the ground. This is amazing because those drops had to fall from at around 20, 000 feet above the ground (estimated as bottom height of this thick anvil) and could only have happened if those isolated drops had been hailstones ejected out the anvil, something that also only occurs with severe storms with very strong updrafts in them. So, if you saw those few drops fall between 2 and 2:05 PM you saw something pretty special.
The weather just ahead, and this might be it for precip for the rest of October
A nice-looking upper level trough is ejecting over us from the SW this morning but the computer model says its going to be a dry event. A second low center forms just about over us in the next day. AZ model doesn’t see much rain for us throughout these events, and rain doesn’t begin here until after dark today.
I think that is WRONG; bad model. Watch for some light showers this morning, then a break and rain overnight (which the models do predict). Due this quite bad model forecast, as seen from this keyboard, I feel must interject for the blog reader I have, an improved rain prediction for Catalina over that rendered by a computer model.
Feel like guesstimating a minimum of 0.25 inches between now and Thursday evening, max possible, 0.60 inches, so the median of those two, and maybe the best guestimate being the average of those two, or 0.425 inches here in Catalina. When you see a prediction of a rainfall total down to thousandths of an inch, you really know that the person predicting it knows what he is doing…..
Below, your U of AZ disappointing, but objective, take on the amount of rain based on last evening’s data and one that is the result of billions of calculations. One must remember that cloud maven person’s calculation of the rainfall amount for Catalina is only based on three.
Well, it could have been more I suppose; some areas of central and northern Arizona have gotten between a half an inch and an inch of rain overnight. Nevertheless, it was great that a passing thunderstorms (“TSTMS” in weather texting) happened here in Sutherland Heights overnight, fabulous, really. Dropped 0.28 inches on Mt. Lemmon, btw.
More scattered showers, and maybe a thunderstorm or two, should develop today. Keep cameras well-oiled for some great cloud scenes.