What a day for cloud maven juniors and me, too, watching the Altostratus opacus (but sometimes “translucidus” cuz you could see where the sun was) become Altocumulus! It happens pretty often and is the result of lowering, and warming of the cloud tops, but I need to generate some excitement on an otherwise somewhat dull day.
What else is happened as tops warmed? Good-bye virgae (“virga”, in plain speak), except in a couple of locations that raised the question, “Was it hers (Mother Nature’s) or ours (aircraft effects)?”
The slight spread between the two lines illustrates the classic representation of what we measure when the balloon passes through an all ice crystal/snowflake cloud like this version of Altostratus was yesterday morning. The humidity element on the balloon measures the humidity relative to liquid water, not ice, so there will be some spread between the dew point temperature (line on the left) and the temperature (line on the right) when the balloon ascends through an ice cloud. Saturation with respect to ice is indicated here in that deep “overrunning” layer, something also likely to happen tomorrow to the writer’s “company” fubball team tomorrow.
Undercutting flow from the tropical Pacific is on schedule. So, a good chance for major rains along the southern portions of the West Coast in a few days, with a pretty good chance they’ll leak into Arizony.
Doesn’t happen every November, thunder, but it sure pounded away at times yesterday. Seemed louder than usual thunder a few times even with the lightning over there by the Tortolita Mountains. Of course, that’s where the heaviest rain fell as several T-storms tracked along a similar path over there just a little to the W through N of us, Bio2, in one of the heavier cloberations receiving 1.17 inches.
Here, in The Heights, we received a disappointing, but nevertheless welcomed final total of 0.24 inches. This brings our total here in Sutherland Heights for November up to 0.60 inches. Average is 0.96 inches1. Here, the regional totals as the storm was coming to an end:
As is proper, let us begin examining the nubilations of our storm by looking at those clouds that preceded the actual rain day yesterday.
Moving ahead to yesterday…..
The great thing about yesterday was that because the upper trough lagged so much behind the cold front, you could be sure it wasn’t over, that is, the rain chances. In fact, as the wind turns aloft from a southerly or southwesterly direction to a more westerly one, we here in Catalina have a better chance of having the clouds pile up over us, even if they’re not full fledged Cumulonimbus clouds, they can still reach depths where they precipitate while upwind, they don’t because they may not be deep enough. The Catalina Mountains provides the lift that helps do this, and we saw that happen later in the afternoon and evening when it began to rain again long after the cold front and it so-so rain band went by.
The End, FINALLY!
1If we don’t get more rain by the end of November, I will delete the sentence of a week or so ago stating that November would have above average rainfall. No use having people see that.
Thin Cirrostratus overspread the sky at dinner time from the east, thickening into Altostratus cumulonimbogenitus mammatus (you can breath now), toward the Catalina Mountains and in the direction of Oracle. What a gorgeous sight this was!
While the storms that spawned this icy blob were mostly dead by this time, undercutting Altocumulus castellanus below the mammatus formation (barely visible in the photo below) gave hope that the day was not done as far as rain was concerned. And it wasn’t.
Round about midnight, the wind and one of the more intense lightning shows of the summer crept over the Catalinas and into Catalina, sparks flying. Strikes too close for CM to feel comfortable on the front porch in metal lawn furniture.
Sutherland Heights was watered with 0.18 inches, an OK amount, enough to revive some of the wilting desert weeds of summer. The Cat Mountains, not surprisingly, got the most. Ms. Sara Lemmon got 1.02 inches, Sam Peak, 0.83 inches. Hope they weren’t having an astronomy show at the Sky Center!
You can see the list of Pima County gauges here. LTGICCCCG1 still out there to the distant SSW at this hour, and major rains are still in progress in western Arizona, all good. (Those low lying areas of western Arizona such as along the Colorado River, have a “bi-modal” peak frequency of late evening and early morning rains, btw. Not much happens in the middle of the day to mid-afternoon out there.)
No clouds during the day yesterday, even over Mt. Lemmon, was a surprise, and is rare in my seventh summer here, and is a testimony to how dry the air was aloft over us even with some humidity near the surface. Things quickly changed during the night, and this morning, we’ve got it all, significant humidity at the ground all the way up to Cirrus levels. Perhaps due to the low starting temperatures associated with the rains in the area, the U of AZ mod doesn’t think Cumulonimbus clouds will form over our mountains until late afternoon into the evening hours.
In any case, should be a great day visually; lots going on. Thinning clouds this morning, then the rise of the Cumulus, and we hope, as the mod projects, another blast of rain in the evening and early nighttime hours.
The Weather WAY ahead
The NOAA spaghetti factory still is not showing patterns that are fruitful for generous rains overall in the next 15 days or so. So, anything we get should be considered quite a blessing during this time. Another giant trough is going to affect the East Coast and Midwest (the last one, a couple of weeks ago, brought the coldest July day in the 140 year history of Memphis records where for the first time the high temperature did not reach 70 F in July! Wow.) Those east of the Rockies may well wonder in the times ahead, what happened to summer? Of course, those cool temperatures might well be welcomed in late July and August, but the circulation pattern that brings them is also not so great for summer rains here. Oh, well, hoping for the best.
Sincerely, your CM.
——————– 1Weather text for “Lightning in the cloud, cloud-to-cloud, and cloud-to-ground.” A weather report amended with this comment, LTGICCCCG, was always one of the most exciting that you could see reported from a station, especially if you lived in lightning-deprived areas like California and Washington as did CM.
…weren’t quite realized1 in the rain totals that our storm produced; the very exciting prediction of several inches of water content foretold for Ms. Lemmon didn’t happen (see ALERT gauge listing below, saved for pretty much the maximum 24 h period of our storm.)
Still, rains were substantial, the occasional morning lightning was great, and in a few places in PC (Pima County) the rain total did exceed 2 inches, with amounts of an inch and a half in the Cat Mountains. Good, better, but not as “great” as in expectations, except maybe at Park Tank, Reddington area, where the ALERT gauge says, 3.78 inches. Also, if you didn’t catch it, a stupendous sunrise and sunset; see pics WAY below.
Here in Sutherland Heights, 0.60 inches fell, by far most of that during the middle of last night when strong storms bounded in and abounded all over eastern AZ with a final rainband. Here’s what that 3rd and final rain “act” looked like on radar and in the satellite imagery last night (very exciting weather shape, BTW; “the curl”):
Precipitation Report for the following time periods ending at: 03:59:00 03/02/14 (also learn where stuff is) (data updated every 15 minutes) Data is preliminary and unedited. —- indicates missing data Gauge 15 1 3 6 24 Name Location ID# minutes hour hours hours hours —- —- —- —- —- —- —————– ——————— Catalina Area 1010 0.00 0.04 0.16 0.28 0.43 Golder Ranch Horseshoe Bend Road in Saddlebrooke 1020 0.00 0.00 0.24 0.43 0.67 Oracle Ranger Stati approximately 0.5 mile southwest of Oracle 1040 0.00 0.00 0.16 0.31 0.51 Dodge Tank Edwin Road 1.3 miles east of Lago Del Oro Parkway 1050 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.28 0.47 Cherry Spring approximately 1.5 miles west of Charouleau Gap 1060 0.00 0.00 0.35 0.55 0.83 Pig Spring approximately 1.1 miles northeast of Charouleau Gap 1070 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.20 Cargodera Canyon northeast corner of Catalina State Park 1080 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.24 0.35 CDO @ Rancho Solano Cañada Del Oro Wash northeast of Saddlebrooke 1100 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.20 0.31 CDO @ Golder Rd Cañada Del Oro Wash at Golder Ranch Road
Santa Catalina Mountains 1030 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.43 Oracle Ridge Oracle Ridge, approximately 1.5 miles north of Rice Peak 1090 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.39 Mt. Lemmon Mount Lemmon 1110 0.00 0.00 0.39 0.71 1.02 CDO @ Coronado Camp Cañada Del Oro Wash 0.3 miles south of Coronado Camp 1130 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.04 Samaniego Peak Samaniego Peak on Samaniego Ridge 1140 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.08 1.46 Dan Saddle Dan Saddle on Oracle Ridge 2150 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.30 White Tail Catalina Highway 0.8 miles west of Palisade Ranger Station 2280 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.20 1.34 Green Mountain Green Mountain 2290 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.12 1.54 Marshall Gulch Sabino Creek 0.6 miles south southeast of Marshall Gulch
Santa Catalina Foothills 2090 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.12 0.75 TV @ Guest Ranch Tanque Verde Wash at Tanque Verde Guest Ranch 2100 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.16 0.43 DEQ Swan Swan Road at Calle del Pantera 2160 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.08 0.31 Sabino @ USFS Dam Sabino Creek at USFS Dam 2170 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.12 0.59 Ventana @ Sunrise Ventana Canyon Wash at Sunrise Road 2190 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.20 0.75 Al-Marah near El Marah on Bear Canyon Road 2200 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.12 0.71 AC Wash @ TV Bridge Agua Caliente Wash at Tanque Verde Road 2210 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.12 0.79 Catalina Boosters Houghton Road 0.1 miles south of Catalina Highway 2220 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.20 0.83 Agua Caliente Park Agua Caliente Park 2230 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.16 0.79 El Camino Rinconado El Camino Rinconado 0.5 miles north of Reddington Road 2240 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.16 0.91 Molino Canyon Mt Lemmon Highway near Mile Post 3 2390 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.16 0.39 Finger Rock @ Skyli Finger Rock Wash at Sunrise Road
Redington Pass Area 2020 0.00 0.08 0.55 0.67 3.78 Park Tank Redington Pass, 0.8 miles south of Park Tank 2030 0.00 0.04 0.28 0.39 2.09 Italian Trap Redington Pass, 0.7 miles east southeast of Italian Trap Tank 2040 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.16 1.14 White Tank Redington Road near White Tank 2050 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.16 1.14 Bellota Ranch Road Bellota Ranch Road near Redington Road 2070 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.24 0.87 TV @ Chiva Tank Tanque Verde Wash 0.5 miles south of Chiva Tank 2080 0.00 0.04 0.12 0.16 0.87 Alamo Tank Redington Road near Alamo Well
Rincon Mountains 4100 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.04 1.06 Manning Camp Manning Camp in the Rincon Mountains 4110 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.08 0.47 Rincon Creek Rincon Creek at X-9 Ranch
Greater Tucson 2110 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.16 0.71 TV @ TV Road Tanque Verde Wash at Tanque Verde Road 2120 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.20 0.59 TV @ Sabino Cyn Rd Tanque Verde Wash at Sabino Canyon Road 2300 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.16 0.63 Well D-37 Rosewood Street west of Harrison Road 2310 0.00 0.04 0.08 0.16 0.67 Well E-23 Rancho El Mirador north of Broadway Boulevard 2320 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.08 0.47 Beverly Well C-51 Beverly Avenue at Hawthorne Street 2330 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.08 0.51 Kolb Boosters Kolb Road at Golf Links 2350 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.12 0.39 Rillito @ Dodge Rillito Creek at Dodge Boulevard 2360 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.20 0.43 Rillito @ La Cholla Rillito Creek at La Cholla Boulevard 2370 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.28 0.63 Alamo @ Glenn Alamo Wash at Glenn Street 2380 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.16 0.35 DEQ Ruthraff Ruthrauff Road at La Cholla Boulevard 4160 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.12 0.55 E-8 Irvington Road near Pantano Road 4180 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.12 0.51 Pantano @ Houghton Pantano Wash at Houghton Road 6040 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.04 0.43 Santa Cruz@Valencia Santa Cruz River at Valencia Road 6180 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.08 0.39 ArroyoChico@Cherry Arroyo Chico at Cherry Street 6190 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.12 0.59 Arroyo Chico@Randol Arroyo Chico at Randolph Way 6230 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.12 0.55 Ajo Detention Basin Tucson Diversion Channel at Ajo Detention Basin 6240 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.12 0.63 DEQ Cntry Clb Country Club Road near Columbia Street 6250 0.04 0.04 0.16 0.20 0.75 Craycroft@Golf Link Craycroft Road at Golf Links Road 6260 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.08 0.55 Tucson Electric Pow Irvington Road at Belvedere Avenue 6270 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.16 0.59 Pima Air Museum Valencia Road at Pima Air Museum
Southern Tucson Area 6200 0.00 0.04 0.20 0.20 0.67 Summit Elementary Summit Street at Epperson Lane 6210 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.12 0.59 Franco @ Swan Franco Wash at Swan Road 6220 0.00 0.00 0.20 0.20 0.83 PC Fairgrounds Houghton Road at Dawn Road 6280 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.16 0.63 Wilmot Wilmot Road 2 miles south of Old Vail Connection Road 6290 0.00 0.04 0.55 0.55 1.42 Corona Sahuarita Road at Sewage Treatment Plant
Altar/Avra Valley Area Area 6370 0.00 0.04 0.16 0.31 1.77 Arivaca Las Guijas Mountains near Arivaca 6380 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.31 1.10 Altar Wash @ Hwy 28 Altar Wash at Highway 286 6410 0.00 0.00 0.12 0.24 0.59 Diamond Bell Diamond Bell near Stagecoach Road at Killarney Avenue 6420 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.20 0.31 Brawley@Three Point Brawley Wash at Highway 86 6430 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.08 0.28 Vahala Park Wade Road at Los Reales 6440 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.20 0.24 Brawley@Milewide Brawley Wash at Milewide Road 6450 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.16 0.43 Hilltop Rd Hilltop Road at Riveria Road 6460 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.28 0.35 Picture Rocks CC Picture Rocks Community Center 6470 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.16 0.35 Michigan @ Calgary Michigan Street at Calgary Avenue
Marana/Oro Valley Area 1200 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.20 0.28 CDO @ Ina Road Cañada Del Oro Wash at Ina Road 1230 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.24 0.31 Oro Valley PW Calle Concordia at Calle El Milagro 1240 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.28 0.35 Moore Rd Moore Road at La Cholla 1250 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.24 0.35 Pima Wash @ Ina Pima Wash at Ina Road 1260 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.28 0.43 Big Wash Big Wash at Rancho Vistoso Boulevard 1270 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.20 0.31 CDO @ Big Wash Cañada Del Oro Wash near Oracle Road 6020 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.24 0.35 Santa Cruz @ Ina Santa Cruz River at Ina Road 6110 0.04 0.04 0.08 0.24 0.24 Avra Valley Airpark Santa Cruz River 0.5 miles east of Sanders Road
Vail Area 4220 0.00 0.00 0.16 0.16 0.79 Rancho Del Lago approximately 1.8 miles northwest of Vail 4250 0.00 0.04 0.39 0.43 0.94 Pantano @ Vail Pantano Wash 1.5 miles southeast of Colossal Cave Road 4270 0.04 0.04 0.24 0.24 1.06 Salcido Place 6 miles north-northwest of Mescal 4280 Site temporarily removed due to road construction Cienega Crk @ I-10 Cienega Creek at Interstate 10 4290 0.04 0.04 0.20 0.20 0.91 Mescal 2 miles northwest of Mescal 4310 0.00 0.00 0.55 0.55 1.22 Davidson Canyon Davidson Canyon Wash 0.25 miles south of Interstate 10 4320 0.00 0.04 0.12 0.12 0.43 Empire Peak Empire Peak 4410 0.00 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.75 Haystack Mtn. Haystack Mountain
Green Valley Area 6050 0.00 0.00 0.47 0.67 1.61 Santa Cruz@Continen Santa Cruz River at Continental Road 6060 0.00 0.08 0.16 0.20 1.22 Santa Cruz@Conoa Santa Cruz River at Elephant Head Road 6080 0.04 0.08 0.12 0.12 1.34 Santa Cruz@Tubac Santa Cruz River at Tubac 6310 0.00 0.00 0.20 0.24 0.98 Keystone Peak Keystone Peak 6320 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.08 1.18 Tinaja Ranch near Caterpillar Proving Ground 6330 0.00 0.00 0.08 0.08 1.10 Anamax Mission Road north of Continental Road 6350 0.00 0.04 0.12 0.12 1.18 Elephant Head Butte near Elephant Head Butte 6390 0.04 0.20 0.35 0.35 2.80 Florida Canyon Florida Canyon Work Center
There were numerous storm totals over 2 inches throughout the State, mountain ones that can be seen in the USGS rolling 24 h archive here (amounts will diminish due to the continuous updating that goes on, as with the PC ALERT gauges), and in the rainlog network from the U of AZ, and in the CoCoRahs reports for Arizona, the latter two sites do not have complete 24 h totals ending at 7 AM AST until several hours after 7 AM AST.
Southern California rains exceeded 10 inches in several mountain locals over the past few days, almost 14 inches at one mountain site in Ventura County. So, SC’ans are quite happy, today anyway.
Wow; those sunset clouds!
Good grief, there was quite the spectacular mammatus display late yesterday. Even resembled the great mammatus ahead of the El Reno tornado in OK last May. Then, as the sun set in a brief clearing to the west, the downward protruding bulges became lit, and the yellow-orange color of the fading sun light (as it passed through a great distance through the lower atmosphere and the shorter wavelengths of blues get scattered out) lit up the ground and foothills of the Catalinas. It was almost too gaudy to be real and not “shopped” as we say today.
Expecting lots of nice looking Cumulus today, maybe some ice/virga, but no measurable rain.
1Titular nod to one of the great novel of our time, written some decades ago,
Much like two days ago. Higher based Stratocumulus/Altocumulus with patches of heavy virga and sprinkles around.
Back edge of the cloud mass times in around 2-4 PM. Might be a little early for a great sunset, but just in case, have camera ready.
Looking farther ahead….
Still mainly dry through the next two weeks, though close call on the 7th, a situation that appears much like today, That close rain call NOW appears in both the Canadian and US WRF-GFS models (yesterday they were vastly different). So, with that, a chance of a few hundredths here after nightfall on the 6th into the morning of the 7th.
Spaghetti, in a dismal series of plots, also shows little hope for rain here through the 20th. So, even with mistakes in the initial analyses, deliberate ones to see how different the forecast maps turn out, we still can’t exit our drought! Oh, me. Poor wildflowers.
The End (did you see the giant mammatus/testicularis to the north this morning? If not, here it is:
Well, the WRF-GOOFUS model has lots of rain for us again as November closes out, with the model rain amounts foretold in November for Catalina now totaling over two inches, or about twice normal. Its been great model month of rain for us. Below the latest rains foretold, beginning on the 27th, continuing into the 29th. Here from IPS MeteoStar, these renderings from our best model, based on last evening’s global obs taken at 5 PM AST:
Valid at 5 PM, Wednesday, November 27th.
There is some evidence from the NOAA spaghetti factory that churns out those spaghetti plots that a big change happens in the last week of November, so rain at the end of the month, two weeks from now, is not out of the question. This rain pattern results from a stagnant upper low SW of us which you can see here.
What about the weather immediately ahead?
Global pattern shifting like mad today due to what we call, “discontinuous retrogression” caused by low cutting off out of the jet stream in the central Pacific. Troughs/ridges jump westward almost overnight when this happens. Highs disappear overnight as is happening right now over the whole West! Very exciting, except in this case, while a trough blossoms overnight replacing a ridge in the West, its amplitude (how far south the jet stream in the trough gets) doesn’t seem to be enough to provide us with rain here in Catalina now. Remember that winter rain here is nearly ALWAYS associated with a jet (at 500 mb) to the south of us.
This drastic change in pattern often only lasts a couple of days, too, before reverting to “same old same old” as we had, fair and warm. I wanna cuss here.
The foretold development of a trough in mid-month in the West was a huge, and strong signal, you may recall, in our “Lorenz plots” (I am hoping this name catches on; he deserves it), those balls of yarn I show every so often. So the trough and cold air getting here to SE AZ has been “in the bag” for more than 10 days in advance, according to those strange plots.
However, the rain here in the actual model runs has come and gone in them as mid-month approaches, and lately, there ain’t been nothin’ here. At most, a few hundredths it would now seem, and most likely, nil.
1Gender-specific naming cloud variety convention: if male, as in the case of the writer, this cloud formation is deemed, “Altostratus mammatus”; if female, the proper name would be “Altostratus testicularis.” Its part of an adjustment similar to the one when only female names were used for hurricanes, and doing that, it was felt, lent a kind of stereotype to female behavior/character. So, male names for hurricanes were introduced by NOAA in the 1970s to “even the score”.
The clouds yesterday were supposed to be “splotchy”, big clearings between interesting middle clouds like Altocumulus with long virga strands. Instead there was a vast coverage of Altostratus opacus “dullus” with long streaks of virga, with a few drops reaching the ground here and there but not here. There was some mammatus-t clouds, too. Also, the end of the clouds didn’t get here until after nightfall, not in the afternoon as anticipated from this keyboard.
The result was a much cooler day than expected, too. On TV, they were talkin’ low 80s for yesterday, a reasonable expectation given “splotchy clouds”, but in Catalinaland, it only reached 73 F under the heavy overcast. Very pleasant for being out-of-doors.
Oh, well. Maybe I’ll try building model airplanes and talk about those instead. Or make up historical anecdotes that aren’t true, mixing characters up from different eras and see if anybody notices. Now that would be fun! (Naw. Too silly.)
Here’s your day, beginning just before sunrise when some fabulous, fine-grained Cirrocumulus clouds came over top:
If you want, you can go to this loop from the U of WA Huskies Weather Department here and see how the little splotchy cloud thing with that passing upper trough became a big fat thing as it came by. Also in this retrospective, you should examine the U of AZ Weather Department time lapse film. You’ll be amazed at all the stuff going on in a day that looked pretty dull all in all. Also, at the end (after 5 PM AST) you’ll seen the winds aloft change completely in direction as the backside of the trough, the clearing side, approached. I saw stuff I didn’t know was happening. You’ll also see how the mammatus pouches, if I may, open up into fibrous virga. Thank you, U of AZ Weather Department, for posting these great instruction films!
Not expecting clouds for most of today, but will likely see a couple of Cirrus streaming in from the NW late.
The weather ahead
Still no precip in sight, unless you consider lithometeors a form of precip, dust accumulations, that is, such as we had a few days ago. Half inch (of dust) I predicted wasn’t that bad (hahahah). Dust accumulations expected now on the afternoon of the 16th, and again on during the afternoons of the 25th and 26th of April.
C-M alive, local, and… finished with the dust report, now back to the studio.
First, a water year (Oct-Sept) update. You won’t like it:
One caveat about February’s total: It might be as much as 0.25 inches higher since a good bit of snow during the historic February 20th storm probably did not get into the Davis Vantage Pro gage located some six feet above ground level where wind raises havoc with snow measurements in particular. Gauges day had more all around mine. You can go to the U of AZ rainlog.org home, plug in the date (in this case the 20th, and see what other folks had compared to the crummy 0.52 inches the gauge here got following the meltdown. Generally, while there are a couple of goofy obs on the rainlog site, the amounts around here were 0.70 to 0.90 inches. Thus, our February 2013 total is more likely around 1.20 inches, not 0.95 inches as shown in this graph. Dang.
Here’s the March daily measurable rain climo:
Current and just passed weather
Traced last night, I’m sure you logged it. Drops were falling, pretty big ones, at 2:42 AM. Only lasted about a two minutes. If you want to see what happened in radar and clouds, go here. Shouldn’t be surprising that it traced here given all the virga, and isolated spots where drops were already hitting the ground last evening.
Here are some shots after I got back from PHX-Anthem late yesterday. Some drops hit the window, too. First, I thought I would share with you a wildlife response to coming changes in the weather, something you’ll begin to notice as you traverse the long road to cloud maven juniordom. Here, shelled creatures demonstrate a preoccupation with the sky over due to increasing Cirrus cloudiness in Anthem, late on March 2nd, the day BEFORE all the heavy virga. Its something to note when these creatures do this. They are telling you something about the coming weather. Well, anyway, that’s what you should say when you see this turtle formation; your neighbors will then think you’re some kind of turtle “whisperer” AND a weather guru all in one.
The weather ahead
Of course, the big media weather stars with their gigantic salaries are all over this next storm, I am sure. Its mind boggling how much money they make having fun with weather on TEEVEE…
Here’s is the latest forecast from our friends in Canada, most of whom want to live here in the good ole USA!; that’s why the entire population of Canada is so clustered near the US border. You can feel them up there (hahah, I like to tease my Canadian relatives):
Range of amounts with this next storm: I think in view of the wetting up of the models, I too, will wet it up. Bottom amount, almost surely in the bag, 0.25 inches now, up from 0.10 inches. Top? Wow, in view of passage of this system in the afternoon, you have to think about enhanced convection, thunderstorms here and there, and with those, and luck, the top has to be around 1.00 inches now. Notice how similar the track of this in the Candadian model is to our historic Feb. 20 storm, one in which amounts over half an inch to an inch were the norm. Can’t wait to see this go by, no matter what!
But first, “storm” 3 of six as foretold many days ago by our wonderful numerical models having “billions and billions and billions” of calculations (to use a numeric phrase made popular by the late Carl Sagan) is going to pass over today. Hoping for a sprinkle late in the day, but virga seems likely in the Altocumulus clouds that will develop/move in today.
The jet stream is powerful over us from the southwest, and when you have these weaker disturbances with marginal moisture, you can get some glorious, fine granulations in the clouds (Cirrocumulus to be exact) as we saw two days ago. See photo below. So, I am expecting to see the following types of clouds today: Altocumulus with virga, some clusters large enough to produce a sprinkle even at the ground (see second photo from two days ago with “mammatus”-see footnote below and virga), Cirrocumulus, and some cirrus. Could be a fabulous sunset with these kinds of clouds around.
OK, so “storm” 3 today may be just a few clouds without any precip. Oh, well.
Cold and unusual snow occurrences ahead for the West and for Cat Land, too
The low pressure center and accompanying Arctic blast now developing in the Pacific Northwest will be historic. What I mean is the that climate record books will be altered for things like late snow occurrences, one of the lastest snow occurrences (as in Seattle), latest lowest temperatures, all time February low temperatures, and unusual flurries and brief snow accumulations at anytime in places in California. This is a whopper of an atmospheric ice berg from the ground all the way up through the troposphere in the West as it progresses down the West Coast. Snowfall at SEA LEVEL is likely all the way down to….Los Angeles suburbs.
Then after shuttling down the coast, this “ice berg” takes a sharp right turn (as seen from the weather maps), that is, toward the east and to Arizona! Egad. Not only will it be unusually cold again, though nowwhere near the “historic” cold wave early this February when all kinds of low temperature records and pipes were busted, though another hard freeze does seem in the cards after the rain/snow/wind pass by. Monday and Tuesday mornings look awful darn cold right now.
Did I mention wind? Along with this situation will be an unusually strong low pressure center that will give us the kind of blustery day this Saturday as we had last Saturday with gust to 50 mph here on the Catalina Rise just west of the Cat Mountains. So, if you’ve got dried out, stiff palm fronds you’ll probably lose a few more in this one.
Did I mention snow? Its now looking like a greater chance for a small accumulation of snow as low as 3,000 feet here on the west side of the Catalinas on Sunday morning. I’m not buying skis just yet, but this is a real interesting situation.
And, finally, it looks like an appreciable rain, too, with this, maybe more than half an inch between later Saturday and Sunday night. Man, will this be welcomed around here!
Since I am overly excited about this interesting weather pattern that is on our doorstep, it should be noted that objectivity is in decline… At the Unviersity of Washington we had a forecaster who loved snowstorms. And so, when he saw a snowstorm coming and forecast an amount, say 10 inches, you had to divide that forecast by 100 to get the most snow that could possibly fall from that storm.
Footnote: On the fifth floor of the Atmospherics Science Building at the University of Washington, there was a line of large cloud photos on the wall, one of which was a “Cumulonimbus mammatus” that strongly resembled the “mammatus” in the second photo below. The photo caption to that effect was vandalized, and we suspect by a female meteorologist/grad student who might have taken exception to this traditional, formal descriptor established decades ago. The word “mammatus” was crossed out and replaced by “testicularis.” It was horrible thing to see.