….as of 6 AM.
And we might even end up with TWO inches total for this storm! Amazing! I couldn’t imagine it, even as a precipophile with a known bias, that more than 1.5 inches would fall from this situation (10% chance of more than that I wrote), with a best guess of only about an inch.
Even the mods grossly underestimated the amount of rain that would fall during the day yesterday, and THAT was the huge surprise in this situation, with several inches falling in the Cat Mountains in the first 18 hours. It appeared in the models that the major rains would occur overnight and this morning, rather than during the day yesterday.
Three to five inches of rain have fallen in the Catalina Mountains since the storm began about 36 hours ago. Is the CDO flowing? Sutherland Wash? Streamflow reports for the CDO don’t show anything at this hour, surprisingly.
We’re now in the main cloud and rain band wrapping around the upper low near San Diego and more showers, maybe a roll of thunder, will continue through this evening. This band was supposed to be the major rain producer, in the mods, but likely won’t now, though won’t be as great a rain producer as yesterday. Probably a tenth to half an inch likely during the day as the band continues over us for another few hours. And here is your U of AZ mod rain forecast, hour by hour.
While not forecast in this U of AZ mod run, sometimes secondary bands develop separate from, and behind the main one we’re now in, and I think there is a pretty good chance of that happening today. Often, there’s a nice sunbreak as the main band departs and before the second separate one comes through, so watch out for that possible surprise in case you think the storm is over.
Pity the poor Oregon Donald DuckTM football team, playing in “Eugene weather” against the Cats today in Tucson, Arizona. Imagine what they expected the weather to be here even a week or two ago! And those poor Tour de Tucson bicyclers, too, peddling around flooded streets!
Upper low passes overhead later in the day tomorrow, which means a day with the coldest air will be over us then, and with that, we’ll have some great looking Cumulus and small Cumulonimbus clouds, scattered showers, maybe enough depth for some graupel and lightning before the weather dries out again for a few days.
Sometimes in these situations like we have today, dramatic line of showers/thundershowers with a fronting arcus cloud can develop to the west and southwest and roll across Marana and Oro Valley in the afternoon. Will be looking for something exciting like that today.
Coming up, another forecasting conundrum….
While the US model has a trough passing over Cal as November closes, while the GEM Canada has the SAME trough offshore of Baja at the same time, a huge dispersion in model results we don’t see very often when they start with the SAME global data and its only five or six days away!
Recall the USA model was in error for the current storm early on, showing it to come inland and be rather dry when the Canadians came up first with a monster using that same global data. So, leaning toward the Canadian model this time around; that the incoming low at the end of the month has a good potential to produce more rain here by having a more offshore and southerly trajectory before arriving.
Below, the Canadian solution, and below that, the USA one, FYI as an example about what weather forecasters have to deal with sometimes:
Yesterday, too, after the light to moderate rain in the morning, was a rare episode of Arizona drizzle. I am sure the best of the CMJs noted this. And what does it tell you? The clouds overhead are exceptionally “clean”, droplet concentrations are LOW, likely less than 150 per cubic centimeter, or 150,000 per liter, which we consider low, though it probably sounds high to normal people.
The aerosols on which cloud droplets form on, called “cloud condensation nuclei”, or CCN, got pretty much wiped out by rain, as you would guess yesterday, and so air involved in cloud formation hasn’t got a lot of CCN available. Normally in inland areas, clouds with 300, 000 to a million droplets per liter are common.
When droplets are few, the water that condenses in the cloud is dispersed on fewer drops, and so each drop tends to be larger than in polluted clouds. When they are larger, and reach diameters of 30-40 microns (about half or so of a human hair) they can collide and stick together, form a much larger droplet that falls faster and collides with more and more droplets until it falls out of the cloud. In this case, because its a thin Stratus cloud, the droplet only can grow to drizzle size, one by definition that is smaller than 500 microns in diameter (about five human hair widths. They don’t or BARELY make a disturbance in a puddle. So, when you saw those drizzle drops falling out, you KNEW that the largest droplets in that shallow Stratus cloud overhead had attained 30-40 microns in diameter.
Do you need to know this? No.