Kind of getting tired of gorgeous rainbows every day, ones without a lot of rain here in The Heights. But, here they are again:
Upwind Cumulonimbus clouds faded as the trudged toward Catalinaland yesterday, bottoms evaporating, raining out, leaving only a big patch Altostratus cumulonimbogenitus way up (at least ten kft above the ground) there with rain drops just big enough to survive evaporation and reach the ground just before 3 PM.
In the meantime, all the excitement, possibly spurred by the gusty outflow winds that accompanied the above seen, was happening almost overhead to the NW-NE, as a great line of Cumulus bases blackened. They were already passed us, but if they unloaded and sent a pulse of wind out and toward us, then we might end up in a wind clash zone, with huge clouds forming overhead. OK, was dreaming again, but here’s what was going on, which ultimately led to another major dump on the CDO watershed.
Hiked over to see if the Sutherland Wash, east of the similarly named housing development, Sutherland Heights, had a good flow from our “Mighty Kong” of prior day. It had:
The weather ahead
Seems Remnant Roslyn will spit out another snippet of moisture ahead of our fall-like cold front passage late Sunday or early Monday bringing clouds, and with clouds, a slight chance of measurable rain. Don’t hold your breath for measurable rain IMO. Hope I’m as wrong as the prediction I made to a friend that the Stanford Cardinal would trounce the wildly overrated Washington Huskies fubball team last night.
Litterfolk continue to prefer Bud Light cans and bottles over craft beers. While its interesting to make these surveys, CMP reminds readers, “Litter responsibly; in a receptacle.”
The trash you see here was collected during a single trip to the Sutherland Wash and back.
The Sutherland Wash Flow Report
A little water has resumed flowing in the Sutherland Wash hereabouts due to our recent rain:
The Cottonwoods Blowdown Report
The wind damage below was confined to an area only about 100 yards wide, and at the bottom of a small canyon leading down from Samaniego Ridge. Once suspects that a narrow microburst, some supergust, hit just in here as a rivulet of air collapsed down from the east-northeast after having gone over the mountains. It was likely further funneled by that little canyon and blasted these poor trees.
Yesterday’s clouds report
Cumulus got off to an early start, a line of Cumulonimbus to the north providing a hint of what was to come when the sun came out.
The weather ahead and WAY ahead report
More pretty Cumulus clouds today, likely some will reach Cumulonimbus stage (develop ice) and shower here and there. Flow will be off the Cat Mountains and so we here in Catalinaland are a little more elgible for a shower building on those mountains and drifting this way.
The models continue to occasionally produce a very heavy rainstorm in southern AZ on or about April Fool’s Day, once again appearing yesterday on the 18 Z (11 AM AST) run. See below, a really pretty astounding prediction again. This system comes from deep in the Tropics, so deep you wonder if it might have some hair from a giant Galapagos tortoise with it. It comes and goes in the models, but there is continuing modest support for a low latitude trough to affect Arizona in the “ensemble” outputs, or “spaghetti” plots.
1“The Cottonwoods” is a local name given to a portion of the Sutherland Wash next to the Baby Jesus Trail Head. It appears on most trail maps, and is a popular spot for underage drinking parties on weekends.
The author has made two claims. Let us look at the evidence, the first of which was obtained yesterday morning in support of one of those. A hiker/walker, the author met, we will call him, “Bob”, though it seems doubtful that’s his real name since he had quite a strong northern European accent, said there was no running water in the Sutherland Wash, “only dampness.”
This proved to be an incorrect statement. I wonder how many other people I have corrected just now?
The wash has now been running without interruption for about six weeks. Below, two photos with dogs in them taken yesterday of the flowing Sutherland Wash at the Baby Jesus trail head, aka, “The Cottonwoods”:
Q. E. D.
2) Can it rain again in March in the Sutherland Heights (epicenter of the above titular forecast)?
It could, but the assertion by the author is stronger than “could.” Let us again look at the evidence for such a claim.
There are several opportunities for rain here during the remainder of March.
1) the upper low that goes over tomorrow and Friday will produce scattered mountain showers in the area; a sure thing, but light ones.
2) then that SAME low, after nesting in the Tropics for a couple of days comes back over us with an even greater chance of rain next week since its had a chance to scoop up some tropical air (think Altocumulus castellanus, unstable clouds that can become little Cumulonimbus clouds).
3) In the longer term, “troughiness” (“cyclonicity”) is indicated to reside in our Great Southwest by spaghetti maps. Some individual model runs have even had big rains in the area in 12-15 days from now. Below, an example from IPS MeteoStar, which for some reason did not follow through on the “fee-for-service” they had been announcing was coming for about three months so’s that we would have to pay to look at their nice renderings of government model stuff1:
Another example of the wettest model run I could find, trillions and trillions of galloons of water released in storms in the SW:
So, at LEAST three or four days in the remaining days of March with a chance of measurable rain, and THAT equals 100 % chance of rain falling within a 10 mile radius of the Sutherland Heights housing district between now and, and pushing the forecasting frontier even farther, say, the end of March! Going that far with such high confidence (100%) forecast is inappropriate for professional forecasting, but not here. So, this is a forecast for measurable rain on or VERY near us covering an amazing 19 days!
BTW, spaghetti thinks a trough of the magnitude above is goofy; see below. HOWEVER, there is a pretty strong tendency for cyclonic action here, just not as strong as the one above. The one above is likely goofy, an outlier model run….at this time. But, just like that New England win over the Seahawks in the last second when the Seahawks were about to run it in, but goofily passed the ball instead for an interception, outliers do occur.
Will keep an eye on this fun forecast from this keyboard, and get back to you from time to time IF it rains in the area. Otherwise, you will not hear from me again on this matter.
Below, some morning spaghetti for you.
So hope for additional rain before the end of March is not dead, as it seems today, but has much life, in fact, to repeat, “100%” life.
Here it is. You may need an optical enhancement tool to see the radar echo speck nearest Catalina, and its not the one nearest the arrowhead below, but continue in that direction:
You can also check on all the rain that fell overnight in the region here, courtesy of Pima County ALERT rain gauges. BTW, they aren’t capable of reporting traces, so if you see bunches of zeroes, it doesn’t mean some drops didn’t fall somewhere in the network.
Non-verification of this rain can also be found via our fine TUS NWS “storm total” view, 10:30 PM to 4:30 AM this morning:
In the meantime, all those rainy cloud blobs to our NW right now (first image) look like they will be able to just make it to Catalinaland after all.
In our last chapter, it looked like the strong cold front would move through tomorrow as just a dry cold one, but now the chances of having a little rain (a wet cold one) have been zooming up. The models have readjusted their thinking and now that critical ingredient, the core of the jet stream (at 500 mb) passing over us ahead of the trough core itself is being predicted.
And with that configuration as the front goes by Catalina, and believe me you’ll know by the 10-15 degree temperature drop, a tiny amount of rain might fall. Also, look for a pronounced lowering of cloud bases to the W-N of Catalina as it gets close, something in the way of an “arcus cloud”, marking the leading edge of the windshift to the N. Could be nice and dramatic looking tomorrow. Those cloud base lowerings are pretty common with fronts here.
How much rain?
Oh, possibilities range between 0 (a complete bust is still possible) to only about 0.25 inches, tops in the “best” of circumstances. But, this keyboard would like to see ANYTHING measurable; that would bring happiness.
There are some more rain blobs showing up in regular intervals in the days ahead for you to think about, as rendered by IPS MeteoStar. Arrows have been added to show you where you are, if you are in SE Arizona:
In the storm below, which is pretty much going to happen now, the range of amounts as seen from here, at least 0.15 inches, top, 0.50 inches, best guess, therefore, 0.33 inches (from averaging the two.)
There’s great uncertainly in whether this last storm will actually occur, so range of amounts are zero to 1 inch. :} See reasons for uncertainty below, besides being too far in advance or our models to be reliable anyway.
While a significant storm on the 1st is virtually assured according to spaghetti, this last major event in the panel above is doubtful. See below, in another lesson on consuming weather spaghetti:
Yesterday’s fine clouds
The End, though I COULD go on and on and on, and then on some more. Its who I am….
Its been this way for quite a while, actually since the big rains of late January, but I only found out about it yesterday: “Thousands Gather Under Cloudy Skies for Beach Fun at Catalina State River and Beach Park !” (if one were writing a newspaper headline). See below.
Before reaching the beach at the State Park, saw some luxuriant spring undergrowth among the trees, and a nice Cumulus turret, one that went on to grow up and be a weak Cumulonimbus:
The weather ahead, as you and I both hope it will be
Been a lot of phony storms in the 10-15 day range indicated by the WRF-GOOFUS model, ones presented here with regularity, then ended up jilting us. So, today when the Canadian model came up with an appreciable rain pattern for AZ in only SIX days, Feb. 21, it was time to exult, switch models, and climb back up on the blog saddle:
What’s even better in this map is that the rain has only begun on the 21st. As you can see, the bunching of the contours off the Cal and Oregon coasts and west of the center of the low, upper left panel, tells you immediately that more rain would be ahead for us if this configuration is correct. That’s because the low will propagate southward, and closer to us, not move off in some untoward direction with a stronger wind field on the back side than on the front (east) side. Also, in a pattern resembling the Greek letter, “Omega1“ as we have in the eastern Pacific and West, lows like to nest in the SE corner of the “Omega”, getting cutoff, stagnant, out of the main jet stream flow, all of which prolongs bad weather in that sector of an “Omega” (here in the SW US). So, lots to be optimistic about today. Strong support in spaghetti for this Omega pattern, too.
Now I haven’t looked at the US WRF-GFS model based on the same obs because it might have something different, a storm that’s not as good as the Canadian one, and I don’t want to know about it. Still feel pretty hurt by the big storm presentations for AZ that weren’t very sincere in that model. And, as we know, sincerity is mandatory in a relationship, even one with weather maps.
While on the first day, January 29th, the sun was only blocked by mid-level clouds, the rainy ones on January 30th and 31st provided a rain amount to remember here in the Sutherland Heights (and elsewhere–numerous records broken), 2.28 inches recorded over 24 h ending at 7 AM for the past three days, beginning with the 30th:
0.19, 1.56, and 0.53 inches, ending this morning.
Weeds and wildflowers really happy, as will be free range cattle and horses that get out of their pens in the days and weeks ahead.
We have an interesting experiment in progress, one we didn’t know we were going to have re wildflowers this spring.
A local wildflower expert on a public TEEVEE station here was quoted as saying that NOVEMBER rain was critical to wildflower displays. Hmmm. OK, but we had a RAINLESS NOVEMBER here!
So, no wildflowers? A limited display? Some key ones don’t come up at all because November was rainless, while October, December and now January had generous rains?
I don’t think so. My take is that everything will be hunky dory. HELL, no one will be able to tell that November was rainless in our upcoming wildflower displays.
But the reader must be advised royally in this editorial side bar, that the writer is a cloud-maven, not a flower-maven as was expert quoted on public TEEVEE.
So, let the experiment unfold before our very eyes! A chance for all to learn things! Ans, how fun is that?
———————–end of experimental module——————
Too, I wonder how often three sunless days have occurred in southern Arizona? Was probably a rare event that these past three days mimicked Seattle or other Pac NW sites west of the Cascade Mountains in winter so well.
BTW, in an important climate note concerning the Pacific Northwest, it rains more in Eugene, OR, aka Duckville, more than in Seattle, in case you’re a football player and are deciding between the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Donald Ducks prior to the upcoming LOI Day, the National Holiday celebrating when high school kids sign Letters of Intent about where they are going to play college football.
And, continuing a high school theme, don’t forget to watch football today; the Seattle Seahawks, who live right next door to the University of Washington Huskies, will be playing in a big game, so maybe you could get some valuable autographs while playing for the Huskies…. Just a thought.
Back to yesterday……
I think the most surprising part was how nearly stationary rain echoes kept giving all day yesterday. So often, where clouds are almost stationary, they just rain out and thin. But it just kept coming, at least here in Catalina. And, as the storm came to a close, the expected sight of a frosty Lemmon appeared late in the day due to the gradually lowering snow level as the clouds suddenly lifted when a dry north wind rushed in. Should be more of that dry north wind today.
No rain in sight now…. Corrals can dry out, which would be good.
BTW, by later yesterday the local washes were running reel good. In case you missed the flows, here are some floody scenes:
Hiked out to the Sutherland Wash yesterday, arriving about 3 PM to take these docuphotos for you. These were taken near the horse crossing that leads to the “Rusty Gate” and the Coronado National Forest boundary on the east side of the Wash.
Had not seen the Sutherland Wash this big before, in person. Was much higher, though, during the September 8, 2014 event, as deduced from debris piles, when 4-5 inches fell in 3 h.
It was pretty much the same one all day I think. We begin our cloud soliloquy with an unusual sighting of pure Stratus, present before the rain moved in again.
You may wish to pleasure yourself with another and very unusual occurrence of fog right now (7:02 AM) coming out of Tucson, heading toward Marana, south Oro Valley. Very pretty scene this miniute. Heading out now to capture on film.
While living the big western life yesterday by riding a horse, me and my ridin’ pal, Nora B., came across some water flowing in the Sutherland Wash by the rusty gate on the east side of the wash that leads to Coronado National Forest land.
So, with with a 3-5 inch rain on the Catalinas, there WAS some water in the Sutherland here in the Catalina area. It was remarkable that there was no sign whatsoever of water having flowed at the Cottonwoods at the Baby Jesus Trail head on the north side of this flow (shown below), but water was flowing in it a few hundred yards farther downstream.
Nor was there any sign that water had flowed from our big rain in the Sutherland Wash at the back gate to Catalina State Park. In fact, we saw where this Sutherland Wash water disappeared just down from the rusty gate.
So, a lesson has been learned here about wash water flows: it can be flowing modestly between two dry points. Huh. Might not see this again for some time, and it will all be going away soon. Too bad so many of us have to pass hiking or horseback riding to these rare scenes today due to a necessary Pac 12 football TEEVEE vigil beginning just after 12 noon today and lasting through midnight I think. Kind of sad when you have to make choices between two equally worthy activities like these.
Cloudwise, I hope you logged the occurrence of distant Cumulonimbus clouds in the high country on the NW-NE horizon late yesterday afternoon.
The “perfect storm”? Well, maybe the perfect rain, and it kept giving fro several hours yesterday after our best model said it should end yesterday before 11 AM. And what a nice rain! 1.18 inches total here in Sutherland Heights, as measured by a CoCoRahs plastic 4 inch gauge. (You might consider getting one, btw, or one from the U of A’s rainlog.org)
Went down to the CDO and Sutherland Washes to see what was up after seeing the gargantuan 4.96 inch total on Ms. Lemmon, and the 3.62 inches at the Samaniego Peak gauge. Below is the resul for the Sutherland, both were the same, nary a drop in them:
The weather WAY ahead, too far ahead to even speculate about:
NOAA spaghetti plots still suggesting a pretty good chance of rain here around the 23-25th of this month. Nothing before then.
Went on an hike yesterday to see what the water levels had gotten to in the Sutherland Wash, located at the base of Samaniego Ridge, during our historic downpour. I began at the Cottonwoods at the Baby Jesus Trail head and worked my way down the wash about a mile, to where the fence is that demarcates the Coronado National Forest boundary and the State Trust Lands. It appeared that the flow in the Sutherland Wash had reached depths of 4-6 feet in the narrower parts, and about 3 feet deep, and 80 feet wide (!) near the south fence. Had crossed that part of the wash by that fence many times on horseback. I had seen little streams of water in it a number of times, but nothing close to what apparently had happened on Monday morning; it must have been a stunning sight. The peak of our storm appeared to fall on the Sutherland Wash watershed.
First, nice sunrise yesterday. Hope you caught this.
The weather ahead….
Still looking like an upper trough along California will scoop up soon-to-be Hurricane “Odile” (not “Opal”, as suggested here yesterday) and send its remains into Arizona and with that, another blast of tropical rains. Another four or five inches added to our current water year total would make it look pretty good (hahah). Right now, Catalinans are looking at 14.56 inches for this WY (Oct to Sept). Average is 16.82 inches over the past 37 years.
PS: There was some ice in heavy Cumulus clouds off to the north toward Oracle Junction yesterday, BTW. Hope you noted it.
With no rain in sight now, and its looking more and more like a third late winter and spring in a row with precip below normal (there’s only been one other “three in a row” in our 36 years of Catalina records), I thought would pay homage to the Great 2010 13 Day Run of the CDO at East Wilds Road (farther below).
In the meantime, yesterday I came across a nice gurgling creek, making the kind of gurgle that characterizes New Age relaxation CDs. It was coming down the Big Rock Creek wash-tributary that empties into the Sutherland Wash at the Cottonwoods, a local name given to an area of the Sutherland Wash were illicit beer parties often take place. There was no water in the Sutherland above this point.
The Great CDO Run of 2010
I had forgotten that the Canada del Oro wash (river?) at East Wilds Road had run for as many as 13 consecutive days beginning on February 28th and likely ending three years ago today1. Here are a few of those shots with the date. That run, and the “Road Closed” sign on E. Wilds at the CDO began to feel like a permanent feature of life here in Catalina. You wondered if catfish were in there. It was such a special time then. And it had already run several times beginning after January 20th.
What was surprising to Mr. Cloud Maven person, a cloud maven not a drought maven, was that after two consecutive bountiful months of rain and snow, the State of Arizona, and our local region of Arizona were still considered to be in drought, “abnormally dry”, according to the Drought Monitor folks. Here is there map for March 16, 2010.
At the end of March, and after three consecutive months of above normal rain and snow in our area (8.02 inches in Catalina, or nearly twice the normal amount), with one of the best wildflower displays in many, many years in progress, 200 inches of snow and one the best all time ski winters at Mount Lemmon, articles in the AZ Star about all the water that was flowing in the washes, we were STILL classified by the Drought Monitor folks as “abnormally dry” (see below).
I began to have the depressing thought that it was impossible to exit a drought classification after those three fabulous months.
1The Pima County stream gage at the bridge over the CDO wash at Golder Ranch Drive wasn’t working during that time (flow data here), and I don’t have photo evidence for two days, the 5th and 6th. Dang. Also, the run likely continued a little beyond the 12th, but don’t have photo evidence for the 13th, either. Dang#2.