Category Archives: The weather ahead

The top 100 weather blogs; the weather ahead still filled with rainy portent

“Rainy portent”;  is there a better phrase for a desert than that?  I don’t think so.  See mini-discussion below, and below that, some soapboxing!  Very excited today!  Where are my pills?

Now, let us discuss the top 100 weather blogs:

Bob Maddox‘ superb site,  representing Tucson, makes the list ! This note and info from pal and fellow weather fiend and fellow science investigator, Mark Albright1:

Top 100 here

“Some notable blogs in the list, Mark notes:
 1) Watts Up With That
 2) Roy Spencer
11) Cliff Mass Weather and Climate (U of Washington Huskies!)
28) Judith Curry, Climate Etc (once worked at U of Washington Huskies as a visiting grad student
30) RealClimate  (from the Huskies)
33) Wasatch Weather Weenies, Jim Steenburgh    (graduated from from the U of Washington Huskies!)
65) Mike Smith
70) Madweather – Bob Maddox (Tucson AZ) (Was grad   student of mighty prof and neighbor, Bill Cotton, whose heard of the Huskies!
83) West Coast Weather – Michael Fagin”
Not sure if “we” (to distribute poor performance beyond a single author) even made the top 1000; the list doesn’t go that low (or high). 
But, we’re not really a weather site, per se, to put a positive spin on a glum finding.  We talk mostly clouds here. not so much weather.  Contains sophomoric, droll, and tongue in cheek “humor”, too.  Maybe Cloud Maven Person’s blogulations would make the top 1000 CLOUD sites!

 The weather ahead and beyond ahead

Cool with passing rains every coupla to few days, maybe some snow with one of those events, as they continue into February.  The first storm begins on January 20th, and then its one threat after another.   This new “troughy” regime should bring the January rainfall total in Catalinaland over average of 1.60 inches (1978-2017).  Currently, we’ve logged 1.10 inches in a NWS style 8-inch diameter gauge. 

Looking for tiny green sprouts out of our desert soil now.

The End

(except for all the footnoted sci commentary below)

sci commentary and soapbox module——

1Mark Albright routinely calls attention to suspect temperature data that’s out there, and other questionable aspects of some climate statements2.  He is widely well thought of for these conscientious efforts in bringing temperature errors to people’s attention3.   Mark was former State Climatologist of Washington State, to be redundant, for many years.  Was more or less fired for questioning claims of HUGE snowpack losses in the Pac NW between the late 1940s/50s (a cold era that started after a warm era in the 30s and 40s) and the late 1990s (a Niño-filled warm decade); to wit, it was a cherry-picked study,  as we learned later via Stoelinga et al 2010 pdf, and by the mountainous snows that  occurred immediately after that bogus claim was published in the Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.

Could snowpack go down gradually over the years in the Pac NW due to warming? Sure! But there was no need to cherry-pick data to create the appearance of an imminent calamity! It destroys credibility when objective investigators like Stoelinga, Mass, and Albright check into them.  Michael Mann, of Penn State and “hockey stick” fame, also fueled the fires of skepticism and doubt needlessly by refusing to give the details (data and methodology) on how he created “The Stick” which eliminated such climate anomalies as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age that followed.  If you read Science magazine, they often refer to the MWP and LIA!  What’s Up With That?  It can’t be both,; didn’t happen but did happen????!!!!!  Dammital.

“Fellow investigator”, CMP? Oh, yeah, baby! Your CMP likes questioning exaggerated cloud seeding reports after they’ve been published in peer-reviewed journals!  Or checking into suspect cloud reports *(after all, he is the “Cloud Maven”) that are the foundations of seeding results. He’s even gone to foreign countries (well, one) to check out suspect cloud reports, help the people of that country understand their clouds.

While CMP   has a number of peer-reviewed pubs  that are critical of cloud seeding (nearly all co-authored with the late mighty Prof. Peter V. Hobbs),  maybe today,  as do so many good scientists and others,  those critiques would just be in blogs?  I dunno.

Journal editors have tremendous power over your getting in these days via who they give your manuscript to to review.  (Well, that’s always been the case).

But today that power has grown enormously since they (a single  editor or an editorial board) can refuse your manuscript on first sight (its “D. O. A.)” and not even send it out for peer-review! This is an intolerable situation since non-objective factors will certainly creep in to such a process.  As an example of unwanted but valid science, Stoelinga et al took years to get into the J. of Climate.

Note to journal editors: Send the damn thing out! Let legitimate, even adversarial reviewers,  determine the fate of a manuscript, with the stipulation that the author (s) have a chance to rebut adversarial reviews which will likely reject a manuscript prima facie. They’re the best ones!

And, no “pal reviews”! They’ve cost us so much in the early published cloud seeding claims here, and in Israel , believed to be accurate by our best scientists and national panels, but cost us and Israel  tens of millions of dollars of worthless cloud seeding based on those ersatz published results.

2Some professors and students at the U of WA delete Mark’s e-mails on arrival; they prefer not to hear about discrepancies or other weather data that might cast doubt on today’s climate issues.  As far as I know, only Prof. Cliff Mass has,  from time to time,  openly supported Mark’s findings putting him even more in the cross hairs of some of his fellow faculty members and especially some other climate scientists and students/post docs since he has often scrutinized and found wanting  some gross claims on climate change.   We are in a science era where questioning  even the magnitude of the warming ahead, even if we believe its coming,  is seen as untoward.  Science is not as it should be!

3If you believe that, I also have some ocean front property in Nebraska I’d like to sell you.

Cloud patterns excite Catalinans; storms continue to pile up for January

A swatch of Altocumulus perlucidus translucidus (sorry, that’s the way we talk around here) passed over Catalina early yesterday afternoon, each “unit” nearly perfectly evenly spaced with its fellow cloud element creating a brief period of cloud awe for those Catalinans (or is it, “Catalina-ites”?  “Catalinians”?  Who knows, who cares?).  Here it is, in case you work indoors and missed it.  It was truly a fabulous sighting!

1:16 PM.
1:16 PM. Starting to take too many pictures of the same thing!
1:16 PM.
1:16 PM, of course.  So pretty.

The afternoon was marked by a melange1 of middle clouds:

1:52 PM. Altocumulus opacus with a Cirrostratus above.
3:11 PM. Some equestrians on horses (haha) went by the house.  Sometimes we focus too much on just clouds here, and so we offer the reader who visits here an occasional relief from cloud fatigue.
3:12 PM. Those equestrians were being shaded by a Altcumulus perlucidus and by an overcast of Cirrostratus.  If you look real hard, you can see a faint halo.  The Cirrostratus was thickening upwind as an upper level wave approached and was increasing the amount of rising air aloft over us. The Altocumulus clouds also thickened toward sunset.  See below.
5:07 PM. Heavy Altocumulus approached from the SW, keeping the sun from under-lighting the Altocumulus as it went down, so no flaming sunset last night. The Cirrostratus overcast continues. All in all, a fine day for Catalinians!

The weather just ahead

The local TEEVEE met men are, of course, pounding out the good news rain is just ahead for Catalina.  Looks like, oh, 100% chance to CMP (Cloud Maven Person) starting after midnight Tuesday to Wednesday.  How much?

This is a potent, but fast moving trough.  Maybe will have only 2-4 h of rain with the passage of the cold front and its rainband.  But, coming from the sub-tropics, should have a appreciable rain band with it.

I would expect rainrates to reach “moderate” as the heart of the band goes by for a coupla hours, anyway.  Moderate rain is defined by the NWS as 0.1 to 0.3 inches per hour.  So, only two hours of moderate rain should be at LEAST  0.2 inches, and most likely more.

We’re thinking here that there’s a 90% chance of more than 0.15 inches, and a 90% chance of less than 0.70 inches.  So, averaging those two leads to a best estimate in CMP’s opinion of 0.425 inches!  Wow.  Nice.

Now, I will look at the U of AZ nested model and see what it thinks.  Kind of game we play here, seeing how a seat of the pants forecast, made over a coupla minutes, measures up to a computer model with billions if not trillions of calculations:

Cumulative rainfall ending at 3 PM AST Wednesday afternoon. Catalina is in the GREEN, indicating that the Beowulf Supercluster thinks we’ll have over half an inch (Ms Mt. Lemmon, over an inch!) I am so happy!

The weather way ahead

After the nice rain just ahead, we have to get through the week-long dry spell before we move into a new stormy regime.  First, a spaghetti depiction of the ridge after our nice storm:

Valid at 5 PM on the 14th. Huge ridge has stacked up along the West Coast, making it look like the drought will continue ad nauseum.  You’ll be discouraged when the middle of January comes around (though by then, everyone will know this is a straw ridge, will collapse in almost hours from this time from the outputs made in real time then.)

Here’s what’s been exciting for a few days now, and below, from last evening’s global model output:

Let’s see what the actual and very latest model run from IPS Meteostar has for us:

From the 11 PM AST last evening global model output this big boy. Unlike so many prior troughs that were bogus this winter at this time ahead (two weeks), this one has spaghetti support and will be real!!! And, it won’t be the only one!!! I’m shouting again!!!

How much these coming rains can benefit our spring wildflower bloom and spring grasses I don’t know, but I sure hope they can resuscitate what otherwise will be a dismal spring.

Expecting a snow event during the “new regime” that takes over after mid-month,  too.  Be ready!


The End

Trace of rain ruffles drought in Catalina! New storm approaches in five days or so followed by a several day dry, warm period followed by more storm threats a few days after that; January beginning to look wetter than December though it wouldn’t take that much rain to exceed Deember’s meager total of just 0.27 inches

Yep, unless you were outside yesterday morning, you probably missed the few drops that fell.   But fall they did, giving us officially a trace of rain for January!  In case you don’t believe me, here is a shot of the incoming shafts of rain.  OK, “veils” of rain.

8:22 AM. Rain reaches the ground from thick Altostratus/Altocumulus clouds.

Now, a historical forecasting criteria note after that paragraphical blog title, a criterion that still holds true:

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Los Angeles forecast office used the 564 decameter height on  500 mb weather maps (those made for about 18,000 feet above sea level)  to delineate where the rain line was for incoming troughs.  North of that, rain fell; south, no rain.
It was remarkable how well that worked.
Don’t know it that height criteria holds here in AZ, probably not, but the 500 wind max seems to be a good discriminator for TUS for rain; under or north of that max seems to be a necessary (though not sufficient) criteria in wintertime.  (That wind max does not hold in Cal; rain often falls south of the 500 jet max; only east of the Sierras and coastal ranges does it hold.)
Lately, as winter gets colder,  the NOAA spaghetti factory has recently lowered the red line heights to 564 dm in their 500 mb spaghetti plots, you can see that in 5 days from last night’s 00Z run, rain is virtually assured in southern Cal using that criterion, and we hope that rain gets here, too.
Check out where red lines are in the plot below.  I’ve helped you to find red lines on this plot by annotating them with an arrow:
Valid at 5 PM AST. See red lines. See red lines move east from California.
But after that trough whooshes by like a Nike logo, in ten days (2nd plot), we’re doomed again to be in the midst of a long warm, dry spell:
Valid on January 14th, at 5 PM AST.

But what about after that next warm, dry spell?  The weather way ahead

 In a less professional comment than the usual ones posted here, reaching beyond the 10 day forecast limit, that domain of the models where things that are forecast beyond ten days often go to hell with just the next model run, these spaghetti plots foretell a collapse of that big fat, storm blockin’ ridge after our next warm, dry spell!  It collapses into a muddle down, oh, I dunno, way down in subtropics somewhere.  Yay!  I can feel your happiness as I write this for you!
That ridge collapse means, first of all, that strong storms will blast Cal with needed flooding (well, big rains, anyway), and its likely that those Cal blastin’ storms will reach into all of Arizona providing a much needed hiatus in our drought, that is, will bring appreciable rains right here into Catalina as well.  You can see if I have made this up by looking at the whole sequence here, keeping an eye on where those red lines are foretold to be.
So, that’s it, that’s my take on the longer term weather pattern:
A Change Gonna Come,” as so eloquently sung by the master, Sam Cooke, when that 500 mb criterion was being used in LA, and apropos here because a change is gonna come, not that long from now.    (Warning:  The historical video scenes with Sam’s heartfelt tune will bring tears I just learned…  Everyone should see it.  Yep, we’ve been through a lot since he sang that song….)
Will keep you up to date every so often if it looks like my take, cribbed from the spaghetti plots is going to be correct in that  drought bustin’ part I’ve described beyond ten days. In the event this “take” goes bad,  it will, of course,  not mentioned again.  May have to fall back on writing about aircraft ice production in supercooled clouds to distract you.
The End

Artifact skies

I use that expression not only to draw attention to myself since my name is Art, or, “Artie boy” to mom, but also because I had a role in bringing this phenomenon to the attention of the scientific community; that is, that an aircraft could glaciate portions of clouds at temperatures as high as -8°C.  This in a peer-reviewed article  so controversial it was rejected twice by journal reviewers  before “getting in “(pdf here)!  Some background on why this happened is found in a footer way down below….

Its common knowledge today that an aircraft can produce in essence a contrail in clouds at temperatures down to about -10°C and must be avoided when researchers are sampling the same cloud over and over at below freezing temperatures.

Back to the beginning:

The day began well enough with a nice sunrise over the Catalinas:

7:28 AM. Really cold Altocumulus perlucidus lurks over the Catalinas.   The sounding suggests that this layer was at -26̂°C, and yet no ice or virga is present.  This is not unusual.  Ice tends to form more readily when the droplets in clouds are larger–these were likely tiny, 10-15 microns in diameter, and, being a layer high in the atmosphere, not connected to the ground, meant there would be a dearth of ice-forming substances like dirt, well, kaolin mineral particles.
8:01 AM. Well, OK, for the really sharp-eyed cloud maven juniors, yes there was a trace of ice here and there in those clouds.

Here’s the early morning National Weather Service  balloon sounding from the U of AZ:

This sounding was launched about 3:30 AM AST yesterday morning. During the day, the bottom of the Altocumulus clouds lowered and got a little warmer, but still plenty cold for aircraft ice production.

Then, as the Altocumulus layer filled in from the west, the aircraft effects roared to life.  An example from yesterday, one that passed right overhead of little Catalina!

10:01 AM. A parch of aircraft-induced ice in this Altocumulus perlucidus translucidus composed of supercooled droplets otherwise, is about to pass overhead of Catalina.


10:08 AM. High temperature contrails rip through a Altocumulus perlucidud translucidus layer up around -25°C.
10:10 AM. Looking for some optical fireworks here, such as a tangential arc (halo curving the wrong way), but only a hint of one showed up. Can you see it?
11:23 AM. Another clearing with ice below it is seen just SW of Catalina from the parking lot of Basha’s where I went to get some cottage cheese.
11:33 AM. Sun dog (parhelia) lights up in the ice patch above after I came out of Basha’s with some cottage cheese.  Note to writers;  little, seemingly irrelevant details like what you bought in a supermarket makes your writing come alive for the reader.
1:21 PM. There’s another couple! They were just everywhere yesterday!
3:52 PM. Later as the moist layer deepened and lowered further, there was ice aplenty, but it was impossible IMO to tell whether it was au natural or aircraft-induced. Surely, some was due to aircraft penetrations of supercooled clouds. However, when the air is rising enough, a hole or ice canal may not appear since droplets can reform rapidly.
3:52 PM. Looking more to the west where the long trails of ice are more visible.
4:14 PM. I feel asserting here. I assert that this one is from an aircraft, but with droplet backfill that prevented a hole from forming.  Looks like “phony” virga to me, and, of course, to you, too, as a certified member of the cloud maven society.
5:21 PM. Interestingly nearly all virga disappeared about this time, certainly nothing extraordinary that led to the suspicion of aircraft induced ice. The sounding suggests that the higher temperatures that the Altocumulus layer was at may have been the reason. See below…
The U of AZ balloon sounding launched at 3:30 PM suggests the bases of the Altocu have dropped down to about 18,000 feet above sea level, 15,000 feet or so above Catalina, and are much warmer, and thicker than when the day started as we could see.



The weather ahead

More interesting middle and high clouds, probably a great sunset/sunrise or three, but no rain, just virga.  The present mass of middle clouds passing over has some virga and sprinkles, but that’s about it  from this episode.  No real support yet for a change in our dry, warmer than normal weather regime in spaghetti plots though one trough a week or so out is forecast to bring a little rain.

The End

Some background on “APIPs”

This phenomenon had been shot by photographers for decades, yep, DECADES,  BUT, it was believed (apparently) by those doing cloud research, that it only happened at very low temperatures such as those when the normal contrails we see occur (at temperatures lower than -35°C), viz.,  it was ignored.

Another factor was that all of the rare photos of this phenomenon, dubbed “Aircraft Produced Ice Particles” (APIPs, by yours truly, though not the greatest name)  appeared in lay or quasi-lay publications and were likely missed by those with big Ph. Ds. who only read technical journals.  An example of this was on the cover of  the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society in 1968, a cover shot which drew the greatest amount of reader comments that the journal had ever seen!  They went on for a couple of months, some suggesting that the ice and hole in cloud was due to a meteorite!

Also, it was a rare case indeed when the photographer could report the temperature at which it occurred. 

Sprinkly clouds passed over during night; check dusty cars for drop craters and evidence of a trace of rain

Honestly, I gave up on the chance of rain overnight into this morning at sunset yesterday due to the absolutely clear skies.   And, like you, woke up to not one cloud within a 100 miles!  How could this be, given the synoptic situation?  Started slicing apples for some humble pie, but then, when looking at a radar and cloud loop (this one from IPS MeteoStar) saw that lower clouds had magically erupted to our west before midnight,  and by the time they got here in the early morning hours, had little showers coming out of them!

I did not park my own dusty car out from the carport, either. I thought I would at LEAST see a pile of clouds on Ms. Lemmon, too, this morning!  Sure wrong there.  Here are a couple of images from what has to be considered a tiny weather miracle:

201704290745_SWR 201704290830_SWR

Chances of rain increasing (imagine!), for  just over a week from now as actual model outputs begin reflecting what spaghetti (the many outputs) was indicating, i.e., a big upper trough in the West-Great Basin area.  At the time that spaghetti was indicating that, the actual model outputs were not, indicating that they were outliers.

Check this out from last night.  Since this model output is more in agreement with that crazy spaghetti plot, it inherently has more credibility, and is likely not an outlier model run.   That what the NOAA spaghetti factory is used for, getting a handle on those runs that might be wild, and those that are more likely to verify.

Its valid on the morning of May 8th and shows a trough coming out of the Pacific ahead of the one from the Pac NW, shown at this time over northern Cal.  The hope here would be that the one from the SW would have a generous amount of sub-tropical clouds with rain in them.


6:04 AM, 28 April. About the only lenticular seen. Oh, well, there were a few weak ones off to the north, but that was it. CIrrostratus is the higher cloud, too thin to be Altostratus.

Cloud shots will be posted later this morning of the next day….. (i didn’t get to is as I had planned)

12:52 PM, April 28. There can hardly be a better shot of Stratocumulus. While it looks dark, it was partly because of the Cirrostratus or Altostratus overcast; it was that thick, not thick enough to reach temperatures where ice would form in it, and rain would come out.  And no rain did, and soon this whole overcast was gone, as was the higher Cirrostratus that shadowed it.
4:09 PM. No ice came out of these clouds, but they did allow those beautiful sunny highlights on our Catalina Mountains.
4:09 PM. No ice came out of these clouds, but they did allow those beautiful sunny highlights on our Catalina Mountains.
4:40 PM. Its remarkable how after weeks and weeks of no rain that so much of our mountains and desert vegetation remains as green as it is.

Yesterday afternoon, the 29th.  Here’s what shallow, icy clouds look like, reflecting the unusually cold air above us.

4:44 PM, April 29th.
4:44 PM, April 29th.
5:43 AM this morning. In an unusually timely post, here’s a leftover ice puff from yesterday over there beyond Charouleau Gap. You’d be guessing, if you cared, that the tops of both of these icy clouds was colder than about -20° C (4°F) since there seems to be so much ice.


The End

PS:  Chance of rain still holding for the 8th.  See below for new depiction of big “cutoff” vortex over AZ from last evening’s model run:

Valid at 5 PM, May 8th.
Valid at 5 PM, May 8th.

Sunset was pretty good; raindrops tomorrow morning? In nine days as well?

Haven’t had much to say, brain pretty empty again after the big review of the NAS 2003 review which really needed reviewing and commenting on real bad….

(More “late homework” in the offing.)


Nice sunset last night; we have had a series of pretty nice ones over the past few days.

April 26th. Sunset over the Charoulou Gap.
April 26th. Sunrise over the Charouleau Gap.
Orangy mountains highlighted by a gap in the Altostratus layer that allowed the setting sun to shine through.
7:04 PM. There was some turreting in this line of Altostratus that passed over, and because of those deeper tops, indicating stronger, if still slight updrafts, larger snow particles developed and produced this line of heavier virga underneath it.
7:10 PM.
A contrail that’s more than about ten minutes old, now, after the new Int. Cloud Atlas has been released, termed, Cirrus anthrogenitus, maybe castellanus in this case, too.

From IPS MeteoStar, this interesting map for tomorrow morning.

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.

Map valid for tomorrow morning at 5 AM AST.
Map valid for tomorrow morning at 5 AM AST.

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!

Valid at 5 PM May 7th.
Valid at 5 PM May 7th.


The End


“Peru’s Niño”

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):

Sea surface temperature anomalies as of yesterday from the Navy!
Sea surface temperature anomalies as of yesterday from the Navy!  Wow.  That hot water is fueling giang Cumulonimbus clouds, ones that spew out huge anvils that can affect the weather in the mid-latitudes, disrupt the normal winter patterns of where highs and lows like to go.  Could such a warm anomaly, limited to the near coastal region of South America, have created this astounding winter in the West?

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

2:33 PM.  Yesterday afternoon saw a few globs of lenticular forming on top of mini_Cumulus clouds, ones that made you think the summer rain season could be at hand, given the 90+ heat of yesterday around these parts.
12:52 PM.
12:52 PM.  A high  (above 30 kft above the ground) and cold (less than -40°C patch of Cirrocumulus cloud that is going to transition to CIrrus over the next 10-20 minutes.
1:12 PM:  Later that same patch as those cloudlets spread out and merge into just an ordinary Cirrus after being that delicate-looking patch of Cirrocumulus. Most Cirrocumulus clouds are not this cold, but rather evaporate or fatten into larger elements of “Altocumulus” clouds, rather than transition to Cirrus.
Had a nice sunset a couple days ago (15th), some liquid Altocumulus cloud slivers with higher Cirrus.

The End

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.)

Measurable rain to fall in Catalina at last!

The chance of measurable between this afternoon and Saturday morning isn’t 10%, or even 50%, but 100% as seen from THIS keyboard.  If you want a better forecast than that, go to the NWS, Tucson, or see Bob’s expert take.  I like Bob.   But we go for it here; don’t mess around.  The last measurable rain, only 0.10 inches,  fell WAY back on November 27th.  I wonder if you remember it?  Probably not.  I don’t.

Rain hits after midnight tonight after a day of heavy middle cloud overcast (that would mostly be Altostratus opacus, probably with virga later, maybe some Altocumulus embedded or at the bottom or below that As layer, with mild temperatures.  Don’t expect sunset color tonight since the cloud deck is likely to extend too far to the west for that.

These middle and upper clouds, whose bases will lower as the day goes on and during the night when the rain hits, are associated with a surge of moist air from the tropical Pacific.  This chapter of rain will followed by an extremely sharp cold front passage (“FROPA” in weather speak) late Friday night or early Saturday morning with another round of light rain.

AZCat model output foresees quarter to half inch here in Catalina.

Wind will be a problem.

This situation will be accompanied by a really intense low developing to the north of us and the wind by tomorrow mid-day through early Saturday morning will be ferocious.  We’re likely to see gusts here in Sutherland Heights to well over 50 mph from the SW as the wind bunches up against the Catalina Mountains, helping to increase speeds here in The Heights.  CMP suggests putting loose stuff in the yard away somewhere.  He might even do that himself instead of trying to find where all his baseball caps, left outside on the front porch,  went the next day.  Some composition shingles likely to come off, too.

The Weather WAY ahead

The good news here, if you like below normal temperatures and chances of rain or snow, is that the forecast models are indicating we’re in the mean trough position.  Periodic fronts and troughs will affect the SW over the next two weeks, bringing with them at least a CHANCE of rain, while cooler than normal spells are virtually certain.

Check out the spaghetti:

From last night's computers, valid two weeks from now, Dec 30th at 5 PM AST.
From last night’s computers, valid two weeks from now, Dec 29th at 5 PM AST.

Notice the broad dip to the south in those red lines beginning in the eastern Pacific Ocean then down to Baja and then back toward the east-northeast into the southern Plains States.  The 5700 meter height contour (red lines) is pretty much on the edge of the jet stream, and a dip like this would be considered a weakness, a vulnerability for troughs in these plots.  Remember these are initial starting conditions in last evening’s global data with DELIBERATE slight errors put into those data to see how slight errors affect the outcomes.   There are almost no differences at the beginning, the errors are so slight.

And there are ALWAYS slight errors in our measurements, of course, so spaghetti helps pin down what those errors might do to embarrass us forecasters.   When those red (or blue lines) cluster somewhere into a band, it means that the errors introduced have little effect on the position of the troughs at this level (500 mb).

For example, over there off SE Asia, the cold continent and the warm ocean constrain the jet stream into a tight bundle of contours.  Errors don’t have too much influence on where that jet stream will be off Asia;  its pretty much locked into place.

Down stream, things are more of a mess, but you can still see, in this case, where there is kind of a bunching to the south in the red lines in our SW domain.  So, there would be, oh, moderate confidence of passing upper level troughs during these latter days of December. At least that’s what I see from this from here.

Worried about wildflowers now, due to the paucity of fall rains….so really hope December can come through with some major rains!

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Rain, inches of it, still foretold for Catalina Mountains; and, an inch or more for Catalina itself!

In case you don’t believe me, here’s the model crunch from our very own Banner University of Arizona Weather Department (aka, Hydromet and Atmos Sci Dept).  You can watch the storm play out hour by hour here.

The large totals of rainfall expected by mid-day this Monday, November 21st. This output based on the global data from 5 PM AST last evening.
The large totals of rainfall expected by mid-day this Monday, November 21st. This output based on the global data from 5 PM AST last evening.  As you can see, I hope, Ms. Lemmon is supposed to get over 3 inches!  Wow.  How great would that be? I put some writing on this image to help you understand where you are.

However, as you can see, to throw cold water on such a great prediction, we are in the HEART of a rather narrow band of heavy precip, which raises the uncertaintly level a lot on just how much rain will actually fall.    Somewhere, these days, there is a Gaussian like distribution of the rainfall at point locations so you can see just what the model spread is in the rain predictions, but I haven’t located it and am too lazy to look right now.  If I come up with that, will post it.

So, just as good as that, I will say that measurable rain will fall in Catalina between Sunday evening and mid-day Monday that the least likely amount is 0.15 inches (10% chance of less), which would be a real poop, and the most, 1.00 inches (10% chance of more, a luxuriant rain, washing so much dust off stuff).

The average of those extremes is usually is closer to the actual total, which in this case would be 0.625 (correction! 0.575!  Egad, dividing by 2 is still pretty hard for me) inches at my house.  The idea here is that we meteorologists often know what’s NOT going to happen better than what is,  in the domain of precip forecasts,  and so by starting with extrema, to be erudite there for a second, we can narrow our predictions down, not get too carried away as often happens here.

BTW, if you want really great, professional level forecasting besides that by the TUS NWS , see Bob’s discussions!  He’s always got great stuff.

The first high clouds ought to be arriving later this afternoon.  Have cameras ready.  Should be a nice sunset to go with them since there shouldn’t be a total overcast to the west.

Really looking forward to this rain!

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May in November to end; rain dead ahead

Rain?  Cumulative totals predicted here from the University of Arizona Hydro and Weather Dept.  Starts overnight Sunday.  For those too lazy to review the information at the link above, here is a map of the rainfall totals ending at 11 PM, November 21st:

Cum precip through 11-21-2016 11 PM AST

Note that within this swath, Catalina is predicted to get over an inch of rain!  Note that the swath is not very wide.  A wide swath of heavy rain would be one as wide as the State.  So, we have to figure that this is a lucky hit at this time, and count on something less as a virtual certainty since the swath above will move around as new model runs look at it.  Typically, they shift a little east over time in those future model runs.  Hope not.

Have cameras ready for a pretty sunrise.  Lots of high ice clouds up there.

The weather WAY ahead

Spaghetti suggests more rain chances after a several day dry spell following the Monday rains.  Check out the “pretty strong” indications that we are in the trough bowl as the month comes to an end, meaning troughs should be populating Arizona during the last days of November.  In turn, good November rains, and one seems to be in the high confidence pipeline for SE Arizona as a whole, means the spring wildflowers will be given a boost.  I will go on record here as now forecasting, if that’s what this is,  a wetter than normal November rain total1.  Our November average since 1977 is 0.96 inches.

The ensemble or spaghetti plot from the NOAA spaghetti factory from last evening's global data.
The ensemble or spaghetti plot from the NOAA spaghetti factory from last evening’s global data.

The End.


1This sentence will be deleted in the event of a drier than average November and will, therefore, not be on record.