Thundering herd roars down from the Catalinas; more thunder expected

A rare day for Catalinians:  five thundering cells drifted off Ms. Mt. Lemmon and its environs and over Catalina and Oro Valley yesterday providing lots of local excitement.  The Sutherland Heights district got 0.46 inches, and early on, was leading Mt. Lemmon and the Samaniego Peak gauges because the cells did not drop their loads until over the foothills and the Valley.  Below, the exciting day reprised:

DSC_0104
12:52. Cloud street drifts off the Catalinas over Catalina.  Because the Cumulus clouds didn’t seem to be going anywhere, were so modest  in the afternoon, rather than thundering before noon, I was kind of sad, disappointed.
1:46 PM.
1:46 PM.  But, then when suddenly those clouds began erupting upward, reaching the ice-forming level, and rain falling out, I was so happy.  Started raining on me a few minutes after this shot.  You can see the slight initial rainshaft to the right of center on the foothills of the Catalina Mountains.
DSC_0114

1:51 PM. Rain approaches Sutherland Heights/Catalina from the east. The little guys up there began to thunder as well. Several cloud to ground strikes in that area you see in the photo! Amazing how small a lightning producing cloud can be here sometimes.  However, “thunder1” only dropped 0.06 inches here; more fell a little south.  Still, it was so great to see measurable rain fall!

 

DSC_0121
2:11 PM. Remarkably, and hopefully, after thunder1 went by, it looked like another cell might drift off the Catalinas into Catalina soon afterward!

 

2:25 PM.  Thunder2 underway toward the Gap.
2:25 PM. Thunder2 underway on Sam Ridge.  Samaniego Peak recorded 0.94 inches yesterday.  More cloud to ground strikes here, some rather distant, a mile or two,  from this shaft, so watch it when you’re watching it.  (Professional viewer;  do not attempt.)

 

3:58 PM.  Thunder3 rolls off the Catalinas!  This was much larger than Thunder1 and 21, and drenched the south side of Catalina, and into Oro Valley with rains of around half an inch.  The lightning was awesome.
3:58 PM. Thunder3 rolls off the Catalinas! This was much larger than Thunder1 and 21, and drenched the south side of Catalina, and into Oro Valley with rains of around half an inch. The lightning was awesome.
4:02 PM, just FOUR minutes later!  Thunder3 in full dump mode.
4:02 PM, just FOUR minutes later! Thunder3 in full dump mode, lightning galore!
4:14 PM.  Small crowd of lightning viewers.  One is using the cushion technique of blocking lightning.  It is NOT effective; this is an urban legend.
4:14 PM. Small crowd of local lightning viewers. On the left, a viewer is using the “cushion technique” to block lightning. It is NOT effective; this is an urban legend.  This cannot be emphasized enough.

 

5:10 PM.  A remarkable Thunder4 formed on the Catalinas and headed toward Catalina!  I could not believe it!
5:10 PM. A remarkable Thunder4 formed on the Catalinas and headed toward Catalina! I could not believe it!

 

6:07 PM.  If there was a downside to the rain, it was that dusty floodwaters (a great name for a western singer, BTW) began to impact dirt roads.
6:07 PM. If there was a downside to the rain, it was that dusty floodwaters (another great name for a western singer) began to impact dirt roads. Note sign at right…

 

7:29 PM.  The day ended with a great rosy glow (another great name for a singer!) on the northwestern horizon, but it wasn't the end of the thundering herd, was it?  Nope.

7:29 PM. The day ended with a great rosy glow (another great name for a singer!) on the northwestern horizon, but it wasn’t the end of the thundering herd, was it? Nope. FQT LTG was only an hour or so away.  Now that was really was amazing, that Thunder5,  developing near and rolling off the Cat Mountains early last evening.  What a great day it was after appearing to be a disappointing one during the late morning and early afternoon.  To reprise the whole day:  see movie.

 

Well, C-M person has told enough stories about past weather for today, so shutting down here at 4:42 AM.  Dewpoints are still very high, mods expecting more thundering herds in the Catalina/Oro Valley area today.

Have camera ready for some great shaft shots, those black, straight sided ones that go all the way to the ground. If you can, try to get the shot just before the bottom drops out; the two make a great, dramatic couplet for friends and family to enjoy I find.

Farther ahead…..

A disturbing, possibly week long dry spell has been showing up in the models, beginning the 17th, lasting through the 25th or so.  Has to do with a giant summertime upper level trough set to bring those record low temps to the upper Midwest beginning in the next few days.  The NW flow on the backside of this  trough is foretold to extend into Arizona, thus, drying things out and pushing the tropical air southward.  May see some hot days and only small Cu and maybe very isolated, distant Cumulonimbus clouds during that time.  Ugh.

 

On the bright side, spaghetti says, and with a lot of confidence,  that the dry spell will be eroded and the normal wetness will return after the 25th or so.  I think you can see that here, now that you’re an expert spaghetti consumer:

NOAA "spaghetti" plot, valid for 1700 AST, July 26th.  Looks great for storms!
NOAA “spaghetti” plot, valid for 1700 AST, July 26th. Looks great for storms!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End.