Well, it was reel good to get some rain, but we were SO close to a big dump! Of course, the sophisticated reader will have noticed right off the air was larded with Floridian-style humidity yesterday morning. And what was the other sign for great (large) clouds immediately in front of you? Clouds topping Mt Sara Lemmon1 or even lower elevations of the Catalina mountains. Here is a short of those early raggedy, small Cumulus clouds, in case you missed them and wanted to see them again:
What was interesting is that not much growth in any of the local clouds occurred through about noon, though they filled in the sky some. I decided to go to a movie at noon, rather than face the disappointment of just shallow clouds all day yesterday; I had opined to friends around dawn on a horseback ride that when you see clouds topping the Catalinas it is a near sure sign of large clouds and heavy showers around later in the day. They might not land on you, but they will be there.
But nothing was happening through noon to indicate that it was going to happen. But what a change in the sky when I got outside at 2:30-3 PM! Huge Cumulonimbus clouds here and there, big, icy anvils everywhere, growing Cumulus all over, too. I will never again go to a movie and miss a change like that.
Here in Catalina, we came SO close to a major late afternoon gully washer. Check this sequence out. Looks like regions of Catalina State Park got the core of this dump. The dark, solid base of this cloud (a good indication of a good updraft above you) began to extend westward and over the south part of Catalina and our place! I waited for the HUGE first drops to fall out, as they do under such bases like this. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot!”, I screamed at the cloud, recalling the words of Pat Benatar. “Drench me, baby!” I waited and waited, but it drifted away toward the S, towards Pusch Ridge, and that darker part never did drop rain. Cargodera Canyon, NE corner of Cat State Park reported the most rain (reports), but only 0.16 inches. That amount would not have even been close to the maximum amount dropped by the shower in the photographs below. From the writer’s storm chasing days with his trusty raingauge, at least 0.5 inches fell.
BTW, if you are driving around seeking maximum rainfall amounts from the initial dumps like these because you are upset that they don’t get recorded by in-place gauges, and you feel YOU MUST GET OUT OF YOUR CAR to plant your raingauge, do so only immediately AFTER a lightning strike. I shouldn’t even be writing this kind of thing since it drastically conflicts with NWS lightning rules, but that’s what I did when I storm chased in this area many years ago. Silly boy, maybe lucky to be writing this today! So, don’t even think of doing this really; mount your gauge on top of your car! It’ll look great there.
With the Floridian air mass still in place, another day of sights like the ones below are guaranteed. Maybe today Catalina will get its share of the liquid bounty!
1As a heterosexual male, I like to point out that Mt. Lemmon is one of the rare feminine mountains, not the usual male mountain, as a nod to women everywhere.