Yesterday afternoon and evening were remarkably similar to the day before; great, spectacular banks of brilliant white turrets with black bases approached from the northeast filled with rainy portent, but, as with that previous day, disappointed. Once again, those clouds tended to fade some as they much beyond the Catalina Mountains, southwestward across Catalina, Saddlebrooke, and Oro Valley. Even the rainfall here in Sutherland Heights, 0.08 inches, was almost identical to the day before!
While there were many similarities, one had to be hopeful looking at those clouds as they spread across the valley. They many more Cumulus turrets above them compared with the prior day, had not faded completely to flat stratiform clouds riding an outflow wind. In fact, if you noticed, as they encountered the warmer air to the west of us, ramped up into major storms around I-10 and farther west. They are still going strong, now, a little before 4 AM, approaching Puerto Peñasco/Rocky Point! (This is a peak time of day for rain in the Colorado River Valley, oddly, spanning Yuma to Needles since many of our evening storms here continue on to that area during the night.)
Models still have lots of rain in our future as tropical storms whiz by in the Pacific west of Baja over the next 5-10 days (models have, not surprisingly, backed off direct Arizona hits for now1). Still there’s plenty of time and water in the air to catch up on our normal summer rainfall. At 4.58 inches, we’re not terribly behind the six inches expected in July and August in Catalina, and with recent rains, the desert has rebounded in a satisfying green over the past couple of weeks.
Of course, it you were up early yesterday, you may have seen the lightning (LTG) to the south through southwest. We missed a nice complex of heavy rain that brought 1-2 inches in a couple of spots as it passed across Tucson and into the Avra Valley.
Your cloud day
U of AZ mod run from last evening’s 11 PM AST data indicates a day today like the past two: coupla small Cumulonimbus clouds on the Cat Mountains by mid-afternoon, then a line of big storms again sweep down from the higher mountains to the NE in the evening. Maybe today we’ll get that big rain finally. If nothing else, the skies will be spectacular and dramatic again.
1A peak just now at the 11 PM WRF-GFS run shows that the unusually strong tropical storm not so far offshore from San Diego has been resuscitated. Go here to see this exciting storm and all the rain we’re supposed be getting over the next two weeks. Getting pretty worked up about it again. 2Does seeding to reduce hail work? The evidence is mixed, and is not convincing to national panels or the American Meteorological Society. Still, that type of cloud seeding is carried out in many locations in the Canadian and US grain belts.