Big thunderblast down Oracle, Pusch Ridge way; a personal report

Couldn’t be on “the perch” for that rain here in SH-Catalina late yesterday afternoon (0.14 inches) due to a social engagement, but, serendipitously drove under the 1-2 inch blast of rain, lightning, and 60 mph winds that deluged Oracle Road at Magee and points south.   1.7 inches was measured in 37 minutes at the Ina Road and CDO Wash!  You can find more regional totals here. Arrived in that zone  just as the bottom unloaded, the most exciting place you can be, as you and storm chasers know, of course.  Restaurant, at Ina and Oracle, took quite a bit of water, too

4:43 PM. Updraft holding the flood aloft giving out, first in that brighter spot in the center. In only a few minutes, everything was “fogged out” in torrential , sideways-blowing rain, and vicious cloud-to-ground strikes, as I knew it would be, and you, too,  within minutes looking at this cloud base.  This is the kind of storm we get here that gets your attention, gets you off the couch and over to the window, if it hasn’t blown in yet.
4:50 PM. Not even sure this was the worst of it, but it was reel bad here on Oracle near Magee. Wasn’t very imaginative, just repeating over and over, “This is amazing!”


4:37 PM.  Gorgeous shafts of rain obscure the Catalina Mountains by Catalina State Park, Romero Falls.
4:37 PM. Gorgeous shafts of rain obscure parts of the Catalina Mountains next to Catalina State Park, Romero Falls area.  Had to pull off and get SOMETHING of this sight.  Didn’t see a flow in the CDO later though1. (Mini-harangue down below, way down, about walls.

You can see this stupendous sequence, too, from the U of AZ campus here.





































A U of AZ mod from 11 PM last night foretells another active rain day today.  This is great.  Weeds getting crispy, as seen on yesterday’s horseback ride.    Maybe some will get rejuvenated. Expert takes on mods will come out later by Bob and Mike, of course.  The scene at White Dog Ranch, by the CDO wash and Lago del Oro as of yesterday:DSCN5341

But also saw some wildlfower stragglers

7:58 AM.  Still some of these around, as well as some kind of yellow flowers, too, hangers on through the recent dry conditions.
7:58 AM. Still some of these around, as well as some kind of yellow flowers, too;  hangers on through the recent dry conditions.

And, to finish off here, the early signs of a likely good day ahead, Cu sprouting above Ms. Lemmon by mid morning, tops reaching “glaciation temperatures” not much later, and, of course, “thunder on the Lemmon before 1 PM.” Like all “signs”, there are exceptions but they usually work out, like yesterday’s downpours.

10:27 AM. A good sign for an active day, Cumulus beginning to form by mid-morning. Means the amount of moisture is pretty good, the shallow thermals rising off the mountains don’t have to go very far. Also, whitish haze implies high humidity (not pretty, though) because aerosols usually contain particles that respond to humidity and swell up (deliquesce), causing the sun’s light to be more scattered than small, dry particles would do. Big problem back East where sometimes there is no blue sky on the most humid days, just this white murk. Just awful because you can’t even see the clouds around you.
11:12 AM. At left, a not very tall turret has left an icy residue, the whitish blur. You would have been getting happier seeing this happen, since things will only get bigger and better as the day wears on. Also, was musing about, “Could this be more ‘ice multiplication'”?, that phenomenon we who study clouds call those that have “too many” crystals for the temperature at the top. Recall that back in the 1950s and 1960s for the most part, scientists thought it took a cloud top temperature lower than -20 C (-4 F) (!) to produce many ice crystals due to cloud chamber measurements on the ground in which there were no, or very few crystals that formed at those cloud chamber temperatures. But, voila, when scientists flew airplanes into clouds looking for ice, they found Ma Nature forming a lot of ice at cloud top temperatures higher than -10 C (14 F) in many cases! This “discrepancy” has not been completely explained even today, and is STILL the focus of airborne research.  Amazing.
12:49 PM. First thunder on the Lemmon was about now. Excellent!




















The End.






1The CDO wash is no longer visible at Oracle on the east side, thanks to an unnecessary, unbelievable 400 feet of sound wall monstrosity,  extended past the neighborhood (Ramsfield Pass) it was supposed to shelter from a few extra decibels.  One Catalina neighbor described it as only slightly better looking than the Berlin Wall.  Our tax dollars at work, I guess, in some bizarre way.  The wash did NOT need to be protected from a few decibals, and I miss seeing in as we used to!