May take Jake Horse out to see if the Sutherland Wash is running, anyway, if the CDO is not running here in Catalina.
Thunderstorms (at least 4 separate ones yesterday), with hail, graupel, wind, rain; what a nice day for Catalinans and our environs. Lightning was still visible as of 7:52 PM last evening, and close enough that thunder could be heard, technically meaning a thunderstorm is in progress in weather parlance. Here’s some pea-sized hail for you, sent by a listener, “Dave”, in Sutherland Heights:
Was awakened by a moderate rainshower just before 3 AM. Dropped 0.03 inches in a few minutes, to bring the total to 0.40. Another shower followed within half an hour, but bucket didn’t tip for even 0.01 inch. May have to jiggle it to get that extra 0.01 inch that I KNOW fell. Hahahah.
In the meantime, exulting over the large amounts, so well foretold by the U of AZ Beowulf Cluster run from 24 h ago. Truly amazing! Our total here was also well=predicted by that model; amounts in this storm increase northward reaching 0.87 inches at Oracle State Park, 0.55 inches at the NE corner of Saddlebrooke. We SO needed a good rain. Here’s where the totals are:
Here are some mind-boggling statewide totals from the USGS, some approaching two and a half inches of water content at Sunflower near Payson! How great is that?! Really, this has been a billion dollar storm in dropped water and snow. Maybe it should have a name now.
You will can also access rainfall data from the U of AZ rainlog.org network here, and from CoCoRahs national network for Arizona here. As always, its necessary to point out that in the rainlog network, the measurements reported this morning will be assigned to yesterday’s date, while the ones in the CoCoRahs system will be assigned to today, March 9th.
Since its unlikely to rain for at least 10 days, I thought I would overdo the precipitation data for our billion dollar storm.
Sadly, as you will see in this Pima County ALERT gauge totals above, we in the north end of the County really got the nice rain; most of the county did not. We were lucky we were that bit farther north because it wasn’t the wind direction helping us out in most of the storm; that “help” is taking place now because the wind is more from the west at cloud levels. Going into yesterday yesterday evening the wind at cloud/mountain top levels was from the south-southwest rather than from the west, and normally that more southerly flow helps the south facing sides of the Catalinas, as much as us. So, it was more to do with cloud top temperatures and those clouds being a bit too warm to the south, while northward and to the northwest (perpendicular to our jet stream), the temperatures decreased rapidly at the same level in the atmosphere, and that in turn, allowed cloud tops to deepen more as they went nortward. Make any sense? Here’s a map of temperatures aloft for yesterday, two graphics to try to explain this:
First, here’s last evening’s TUS sounding, as rendered by the Cowboys of Wyoming. Its got some writing on it:
———begin tedious stream of consciousness again, probably worth skipping——–
Graupeling hard here at 3:38 AM! Third shower since getting up! Pounding roof. Very small, like rice grains. Just quit, like someone turned a light off at 3:41 AM. Tells me its a new cell that just formed with narrow strands of precip/graupel. Investigating…no echo at 3:36 AM nearby… waiting for next 6 min sweep… 2:42 AM: No echo! I have not seen this happen before. Could it have developed and died in less than 5 min? Did not tip bucket! Its just like yesterday, we had no less than four hail/graupel episodes and I was beside myself thinking of those balls of ice bouncing OUT of my rain gauge collector! I was being short-changed in the amount of precip I could report. I think I am going to have to add to my rain total, maybe 0.03 inches due hail balls that bounced out
——————–end of tedious stream———————-
OK, now up to 0.13 inches in rain that has fallen since about 3 AM. This is great, because now the total amount in the storm is 0.50 inches here!
After a few sprinkles-its-not-drizzle amid brief sunbreaks yesterday morning, the first thunderstorm rumbled across Marana and the Oro Valley at 9:30 AM.
These early morning stratiform (flat) clouds will disperse into Cumulus and Stratocumulus in clumps. They’ll be cold enough at cloud tops for ice and virga, but clouds likely will be too shallow for more than a hundredth or two in the heaviest precip areas around Catalina. Things dry out later in the day, the Cu becoming smaller, so the best chance of measurable rain is before, say, 2 PM.
Get camera out fast, too. THere was a huge dump of hail or snow on Charoleau Gap last night or this morning I suspect, and it looks spectacular even now at 6:53 AM. Its local, because its not seen at the same elevations to the south on Samaniego Ridge. But, it will just be gorgeous with those deep blue skies and white Cumulus clouds all around.
The End, finally, I think.