Flash news: Nearly CONTINUOUS lightning from a localized spot at 3:30 AM just NW of the Tortolita Mountains. Amazing for this time of day. Continuous lightning is a rare event, especially here, mostly seen with big complexes of thunderheads. And this small thunderstorm just erupted at that time “out of the blue”, according to its radar history. Thunder was barely audible, and most of the flashes seemed aloft, toward its top.
Well, quite an exciting way to get started today. What the HECK caused that small cell to explode like that? Now, at 4:08 AM there’s just a sad remnant moving toward PHX. Probably dumped an inch or more on somebody out there at its peak, a real “flashflood” event I’d say for somebody, one that happened before the NWS could even react. Very unusual.
Rehashing yesterday, which produced only a sprinkle here just before 5 PM (trace of rain). Pretty tired of reporting traces all the time. OK, here goes:
Caption function fails again in WP; so here is the caption for #3: 4:31 PM. Row of clouds above fizzles out; none produced a shower (reached high enough for tops to form ice). But, here, a base seems organizing practically right overhead! If this one sprouts a top high enough to glaciate, there could be a real localized dump of rain! Will watch for strands to begin emanating from this base.
Caption 4: 4:47 PM. The awful sight of a broken up cloud base has occurred after the promising solid base. (Many of you know that as a professional photographer, I specialize in photographing cloud bases, its niche I have filled) A few raindrops fell out at this time, suggesting the top may have just crossed the ice-forming threshold height above; but no strands, no shaft developed. Dang.
Caption 5: In the meantime, the dark layer seen in the second photo from a giant complex of Cumulonimbus clouds far to the S has overspread the sky, killing all the remaining Cumulus buildups. This layer, completely composed of ice crystals and snowflakes, would be termed, Altostratus cumulonimbogenitus. Its an awful sight sometimes.
Caption 6: While overspreading the sky during the evening, that layer provided some nice background lighting for this row of Altocumulus castelanus.
This morning’s sky and what we can get out of it:
Well, we STILL have our “stratiform” overcast up top, above at least two other layers of clouds.
The lowest of these was topping Ms. Mt. Sara Lemmon, which are the lowest bases we’ve seen in the current surge.
Going along with that is that the lower air continues to be extremely humid, knocking out the effectiveness of evap coolers, with dewpoints in the mid and upper 60s all across southern and central AZ.
But, one aspect we have to get rid of: the overcast on top of all this. It won’t get hot enough to spawn good storms until we do. But this one is thick and composed of ice. Ice takes longer to evaporate, burn off, unlike Altocumulus droplet clouds, which by definition, are quite thin and burn off readily. These were taken at 5:20, 6:09. and 6:23 AM, respectively.
So, a slow start but one would think, major rains in the area, maybe here, are in the bag. Take a look at the huge amounts that fell to the S of us in the 24 h ending at 5 AM AST this morning, 1-4 inches over a vast area of southern Arizona (from Intellicast.com). The day before yesterday, those kinds of rains were to the N of us.