Boffo storm bops Burbank before belting Benson

…and the rest of Arizona tomorrow.    Actually, at this hour, 5 AM, the storm coming here has not yet gotten to Burbank.   Its only close.   But, people get excited when you say things like that in the title, and that’s what we’re about here, weather excitement, not accuracy excitement.

Weather excitement?

Take a look at the NWS site here.  They are beside themselves with excitement, issuing what appears to be hundreds of warnings for the entire State of Arizona, and not one drop of rain/snow has fallen yet!  Imagine how excited they will be at the NWS when something actually happens!  (hahaha, just kidding; you’re doing a great job down their guys and gals.)   They just want to WARN us about this well-predicted, STRONG storm, one having the unusual characteristic of being well-predicted in the models more than a week in advance.  Hardly ever happens.

So, with the NWS all worked up about winds and rain and snow and cold and stuff like that in our IMMEDIATE Catalina future (next few days), here at this keyboard we will try to fill in a cloud appearance niche, or try to.

Examining the AZ station and cloud plot here posted by our friends at the University of Arizona Wildcats Weather Department, this nice map.  
You can see a sheath of clouds (whitish area) extending southward from southern NV and UT down past Yuma AZ.   There is no radar echo with it now, or will there be.  Your interpretation:  must be Cirrus and Altostratus (thick ice clouds), maybe with some Altocumulus at the bottom toward the back (west side).  You’ll notice, too, that it is COMPLETELY separate from the main frontal band that has not yet (5 AM AST) gotten to Burbank, CA.

Note cloud empty area or slot behind (to the west) this sheath of middle and high ice clouds over the Colorado River Valley.  A very common sequence in the Southwest interior in late winter and spring is to have a completely separate slice of high clouds, even thickening up to look quite gray, maybe with some virga, give a false impression that the storm is imminent, much closer than it really is, followed by a spectacular clearing from western horizon. Often, this sequence, as is possible today, leads to astonishingly colorful sunsets here if the timing is right. You won’t read about possible colorful sunsets at the NWS today! This why I am here, to warn you about a nice sunset while they warn you about winds and stuff.

However, at the current rate of movement, this band of high clouds will pass overhead in the middle of the day.  Drat.

What next?

After the high clouds go by, there is enough moisture around for middle clouds, though not decks of them.  So in the hours after the ice shield goes by, that is this afternoon and evening, we should see some Altocumulus and patches of Cirrocumulus.   As the winds increase over us, almond shaped clouds (flying saucers) are likely.

Update at 6:13 Am AST:  “Lenticulated sunrise” in progress now!  Check toward Mt. Sara L.  Here it is, in case you missed it.  Gorgeous.

Continuing….   Those kinds of clouds are good harbingers of storms.    Some small Cumulus are likely to start showing up in the afternoon as well I think, but will be high based and too shallow to produce precip.

It will be, I think, one of our most photogenic days so get yer cameras ready for some interesting, and finely granulated Cc, or Ac lenses.

The main slug of low based clouds, rain/snow, cold air, windshift to the NW, graupel, lightning, etc., comes in after mid-night with the front.  Temperatures are likely to drop 10-20 degrees as the front goes by tonight and the rain begins.  Check it out here from the great weather calculator at the University of Arizona.  And here for even more detail!  Even the Great Beowulf Weather Calculator at the U of AZ is excited about this storm, predicting more than 3 inches of water-equivalent snow on the upper regions of the Catalina Mountains, which is clearly too much!

But how great it would be if it was correct!

Hang on.  Breezes already at 6:37 AM, and you know what that means:  one heckuva windy day this afternoon and evening, dusty, too.

I think I need to rest now, maybe lie down for awhile, let the weather excitement dissipate.

The End.