Computer model produces “monster” storm later in month

From yesterday’s 18 Z, or 11 AM AST WRF-GFS model, this behemoth.  Seems to be reaching up to grab something!  Millions of square miles affected!  This is the SAME giant storm you saw predicted in an earlier prog and displayed here yesterday from the prior evening’s run,  just more ominous-looking here in the run some 18 h later.  Will it happen?  Comes and goes in the mod runs, but “spaghetti” hedges it to happen, at least some rain.

Valid on January 21st, 2015.  Regions of color denote those areas where the model has calculated that precipitation has fallen during the prior 12 h.
Valid on January 21st, at 11 PM AST. Regions of color denote those areas where the model has calculated that precipitation has fallen during the prior 12 h.

In the meantime, we received 0.09 inches here in Catalina/Sutherland Heights last evening, another shot of rain, with more little systems like that one predicted to affect us during the coming week.  If you were watching, you saw that you could see blue sky on the NW horizon while it rained steadily, most of the day to our S.  Go here to get the Pima County ALERT totals, the greatest about a quarter to a third of an inch.

Cloud bases were pretty high all day, around 11,000 feet above sea level (8,000 to 9,000 feet above ground level).  Some boring photos:

1:31 PM. A rain band from mid-level clouds makes it way slowly northward toward Catalina.  Altocumulus opacus to the north of the raining cloud;  the precipitating cloud farther south is Nimbostratus  (few know that the official cloud folk label “Nimbostratus” as a middle level cloud).
Winds blasting out of a strong high pressure center in Texas pushed into Tucson, pushing the “usual” city effluent west and northwest into portions of southern Marana and the Continental Ranch development where snowbird and iconoclast climatologist, Mark Albright lives.  Today’s word game is, say “iconoclast climatologist” three times as fast as you can.
5:11 PM. Both sides of this cloud mass were visible near sunset, the clearing to the northwest beyond the virga can be seen here on the horizon while at the same time to the SSW, you could see the clearing on the south side. Really thought the chances of measurable rain here had ended at that time, but maybe, since 0.09 inches fell later in the evening its not good to say that, make you lose confidence in the things you read here.

The End for now, more later

By Art Rangno

Retiree from a group specializing in airborne measurements of clouds and aerosols at the University of Washington (Cloud and Aerosol Research Group). The projects in which I participated were in many countries; from the Arctic to Brazil, from the Marshall Islands to South Africa.