Sutherland Height residents rejoice and grouse over drought and road bustin’, super local, 3.36 inch “toad strangler”

“Frog strangler”,  folk expression from the South for extra heavy rains, btw,  which is what we had, except we have toads, not frogs.

Here’s what I think happened to produce 3.36 inches on Sutherland Heights.  The winds were from the east at cloud levels.  Cumulus spawned off the Catalinas/Mt Lemmon area, but the wind shear brought the tops over Sutherland Heights about the time they got cold enough to form ice, yesterday around -5° to -10°C   (higher than the usual temps for ice formation because the cloud bases were so warm.  I know what you’re thinking, “huh?”   Take my word for it, that’s the way it works;  the warmer the bottom of a cloud, the higher the temperature at which ice forms in it.  Of course, over the oceans cloud base temperature doesn’t make that much difference…  I better quit here on that.

Where was I?  Oh…   So, leaning out from the mountains is where they began to dump their loads beginning in mid-morning, when updrafts were likely modest.  The first one missed Sutherland Heights altogether (except for a sprinkle, but drenched Oracle Road and the Basha’s area.  And, likely because it didn’t rain on the east side of the Catalinas until later, those monster turrets kept spawning upwind of us.

The second in this series was a stronger turret, one that could stand more upright against the wind shear and dropped its load on Sutherland Heights.  Indicative of stronger updrafts in that one was the onset of thunder, first aloft, then in ensuing turrets shooting upward, increasing cloud-to-ground strokes until it was unsafe to go outside without the thought of being fried.

And of course, the rainrates picked up, and stayed that way as new turrets launched off the same zone of the Catalina Mountains through mid-afternoon.  That in itself was remarkable, and if you looked around, you could see that it wasn’t raining all that much either to the north or south of Catalina, and that the rainshafts faded as they trekked across Oro Valley.

The net result, an incredulous 3.36 inches here (3.37 inches in NWS-style gauge here), bound to raise eyebrows concerning possible rain gauge fraud;  nothing like it anywhere in the local area!  The ALERT gauge on the Golder Ranch Bridge only had 1.46 inches and Samaniego Peak,  1.93 inches!  There will be very few days in our lifetimes like yesterday.  Go to rainlog.org to see how amazing our local amount was in comparison to other gauges, once again raising the specter of fraud due to an outlandish amount1.

And, again, it was closer to what a REAL monsoon day in India, say, at Cherrapunji, where passing heavy rains are accompanied by the occasional thunderclap.  So, in a sense, yesterday you were climatically transported to a land faraway, where tree roots are so big they make bridges out of them…

Some photos of this event, well, too many, really, after all, too many cloud photos is our niche!:

10:03 AM. The MO for yesterday's rains in miniature. Cumulus launched off around Mt. Lemmon and leaned out over Sutherland Heights as they rose upward. As the tops got higher over us, ice began to form in them, and, down and out it came. Some of the ice, because cloud bases were so warm, began to rain
10:03 AM. The MO for yesterday’s rains in miniature. Cumulus launched off around Mt. Lemmon and leaned out over Sutherland Heights as they rose upward. As the tops got higher over us, ice began to form in them, and, down and out it came. Some of the ice, because cloud bases were so warm (about 60°F, 15° C), probably was frozen raindrops.
DSC_5517
11:08 AM. Only SPKLS so far, but since tallest part of cloud is over Sutherland Heights, some large drops are almost imminent.
11:13 AM. Rain begins in earnest.
11:13 AM. Rain begins in earnest.
11:27 AM. Shafts intensifying.
11:27 AM. Shafts intensifying.
11:53 AM. Pretty much out of control, just snapping away at this incredible intensity of rain!
11:53 AM. Pretty much out of control, just snapping away at this incredible intensity of rain!
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11:53 AM. One second later. Haha. It was three seconds later!
12:37 PM.
12:37 PM.
2:20 PM.
2:20 PM.
DSC_5616
3:16 PM. The CDO wash is full, but not huge, where standing waves a few feet high form (as in the 4+ inch dump of September 2015).
4:06 PM. The raging Sutherland Wash. Was making a lot of noise down there, mostly from this area near the Cottonwoods where the wall is. You could hear it probably all over Sutherland Heights if you listened carefully. Was raining lightly at this time, OCNL LTG, too.
4:06 PM. The raging Sutherland Wash. Was making a lot of noise down there, mostly from this area near the Cottonwoods where the wall is. You could hear it probably all over Sutherland Heights if you listened carefully. Was raining lightly at this time, OCNL LTG, too.
4:06 PM. Another view of the raging Sutherland Wash, probably near its peak.
4:06 PM. Another view of the raging Sutherland Wash, probably near its peak.
4:25 PM. The lightning from this once proud Cumulonimbus cloud has ended, and now it is resigned to be lightly raining Nimbostratus or Altostratus, I don't which, but I what I do know is that its, "cumulonimbogenitus." And don't tell me you haven't heard of "genitus", either, because its a chapter in the Bible!
4:25 PM. The lightning from this once proud Cumulonimbus cloud has ended, and now it is resigned to be lightly raining Nimbostratus or Altostratus, I don’t which, but I what I do know is that its, “cumulonimbogenitus”, “Genitus, of course, being one of the books of the Old Testament Bible–you find information like this that you won’t find on other sites.

The End, of a very hurriedly thrown together piece.  Got actual work that must be completed soon, something if you read it, it would be so boring you’d want to shoot yourself before you finished it!  Sciency stuff.   Oh, well, nose to grindstone now.

 

5 thoughts on “Sutherland Height residents rejoice and grouse over drought and road bustin’, super local, 3.36 inch “toad strangler””

  1. 3.36 inches- that’s a lot of rain for a summer day! The heaviest one day rain i can recall up here was way back in July 1972 (you might remember this as well, Art). I think we had about 2.5 inches on the 8th that month. Meanwhile, expecting some light rain this evening, then back to the heat.

    1. Pretty remarkable, all right, Roland, and, so entertaining.
      Well, I had not gotten to SEA by 1972, was in Mitchell, SD, that summer functioning as a radar meteorologist for a cloud seeding outfit. Then it was back to Durango after August where my permanent forecasting job was.

      What a summer pounder for Vancouver, CAN!

      a

      1. Oh, too bad- I thought you were in Seattle for most of your life. Yes, 2.5 inches was a lot. Certainly haven’t seen anything close to that amount for a long time. Also, as you would expect, an amount like that in the PNW would be spread over an entire day- not in a few hours.

  2. Art, I read your blog today, pretty exciting and detailed. The pictures kinda of grab my soul. I saw all that weather happening, but leave it to you to get the best pictures and explain what went on. I just love this page. I’ve glimpsed you a few times at Bashas’ but was too shy to say hello.
    Just a little worried about the people not liking what you wrote. How could they not, you’ve “been there” and know the real weather facts.
    Your biggest fan, A

    1. Thanks, Amber, for your VERY nice comment! Sounds like we’re pretty similar folk; neurotically cloud-centric, well, maybe not for you, but definitely for ME! Please say “hello” sometime.

      I wish I had more time to blog right now. I have this manuscript, a big review, and its due on the 28th, and its like a gigantic homework assignment that I have to keep at every day. And, since it has controversial elements, for all this work, it will probably be rejected by reviewers anyway! Hah, in fact, I’ve been rejected many times. (Hah#2, I assert that I was ahead of my time…. 🙂 Lately, I was rejected so bad that the journal (Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.) didn’t even want me to send my proposed ms (again, a controversial one) ms OUT for review after they saw the title! Had bad izzat? And, I haven’t even talked about girls here, either.

      Maybe I’ll get my “Rejected By______” tee shirt out, maybe the one that has the script, “Sharon, 1982” on it… There’s a theme here. 🙂

      I haven’t heard anything negative, though sometimes I do skirt things where people might get “excited”, though its always meant to be in a playful way.

      Thanks, again, Amber!
      Now, back to the “homework”….

      a

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