What a nice steady rain with honest-to-goodness drizzle mixed in over the past two days. We’ve now had 4.24 inches in the past 30 days!
And yesterday, you saw the rarely captured on film, drizzly Stratus clouds, essentially something akin to wallpaper in the sky, but with misty visibility below its base. I hope you got a lot of photos of it; occurrences like that in Airizona1 its like finding a clean-shaven Lincoln penny.
And, of course, you knew that with misty, drizzly rain, clouds were shallow, no matter how dark they looked! Here’s the afternoon TUS sounding (from IPS MeteoStar) confirming that assertion2:
The drizzle likely fell from shallower parts of this cloud, while the accumulating rains, ones that “tip the bucket”, were likely associated with clouds all the way to that -10° C, where lots of ice would have formed. Drizzle occurrences and lots of ice in clouds at surprisingly high temperatures such as those tops we had yesterday are common, mutually inclusive observation in airborne studies of clouds then the tops go much below -4° C. But, its an unusual occurrence in AZ since we rarely have shallow clouds like yesterday’s with droplets in them large enough to form drizzle.
So, drizzle and what we call, “ice multiplication” occurring in our clouds yesterday made it a rare day, indeed for Arizonans to enjoy even if the mid-40s temperature all day was “less than optimum.”
Next up, more substantial rain after a couple of pretty nice, but maybe not thermally optimum days. Below, the latest output from the U of AZ supercomputing weather calculator showing the cumulative precipitation over the whole SW during the next week, starting from last evening. Quite fun to see the totals build up in that link above:
Being from southern Cal, what I find interesting is that another 10-15 inches of precip is forecast by this model’s output in the northern mountains of Cal, on top of the 20-30 inches they’ve already had JUST THIS MONTH!
Some cloud highlights
It pretty hard to top a photo like this one, so maybe I will just quit here. Wait to see what interesting clouds today brings for us. They’ll be shallow again as an inversion clamps down on the tops even a little more so than yesterday’s afternoon sounding shows, and the Stratocumulus and Cumulus clouds will be thinner, higher bases, lower tops, marginal for ice formation. So, not expecting to see ice in clouds today, but, then I wasn’t expecting so much rain, either from this little system that went through….
OK, one more:
1Misspelled on purpose to emphasize the quality of the air we have in Arizona, at least yesterday. Chamber of Commerce, are you listening? “Airizona,” as our new State name, would work great to attract people from smog-laden regions. I’m sure! Hmmm, or maybe just a good, new athletic shoe would do it, “Nike Airizona”… Nike, are you listening?
2One of the great moments in a life, as we all know from time to time, is in confirming an assertion, which also might be accompanied by gloating.