Every which way but here

Of course, alluding today in the title to the great western movie with John Wayne…

Every which way you looked yesterday afternoon, there was a great rainshaft.  1.85 inches fell in one hour at Picture Rocks Community Center yesterday afternoon,  2.01 inches total.  Several stations around the county had another 1-2 inches yesterday.  You can see the Pima County rain lineup here.  Seems the great amount in the Catalinas was about half an inch in a gage at Samaniego Peak.  Probably twice that between gages up there in the hot spots, where the best columns of rain fell.  Also, it would be good to examine our U of A rainfall network today, too, for some jumbo totals.  Values are being added during the morning hours as a rule.

Catalina?  Well, a measly 0.05 inches fell here after 7 AM until this morning from side-swiping Cumulonimbus clouds, though Sutherland Heights did receive a more respectable 0.28 inches–just measured it. .  So, if you were outside yesterday, you saw heavy shafts of rain all around, but none developed over us (the best kind), or moved in here.

But, then, 1.85 inches in an hour,  probably most in a shorter time than that, might be “counter-productive”; might make Catalina into a news story, and not a good one…  So, I’d better watch what I wish for.

Here are some views of yesterday’s “clouds and columns” of rain yesterday.  And, as has been the case, the day started with heavy layer clouds, Stratocumulus and Altocumulus, and a nice, but very brief sunrise “bloom” shown below:

Once these clouds thinned by late morning, Cumulus began to surge upward over the Catalina’s, and reflected an usually strong east-southeast wind just above mountain top levels by trailing over Catalina from Mt. Lemmón.  These reached the ice-forming level (read, began to produce rain at the ground) in a series of showers and thunderstorms by 11:30 AM (2nd photo).

Looked, too, like another tube (funnel cloud) at 3:48 PM yesterday off in the direction of Marana, but I’ve posted so many of late I thought I would just post it at the bottom of these more interesting photos.

11:03 AM.  Cloud “street” off the Catalinas.
11:31 AM. From Mt. Lemmon to us, straight overhead!
1:01 PM. Repeated showers STILL trailing off the Catalinas! But not over us.








1:01 PM. First major-colossal dump occurring N of Park Links Road.  Note bit of rain falling from overhang cloud from the prior photo.  Tops shearing off; rain-producing part (top of photo) has no underlying cloud for the drops to grow in as they fall, so no collosal-major dump.  Did start thundering about then, though


1:16 PM. This is so pretty! Now, one of those turrets has leaped upward, more or less straight above the bottom of the cloud, and now, though a small one, a major-colossal dump on the Cats. I love these scenes here!








 2:36 PM. Its gonna miss Catalinans, BUT, this is where you want to be under. Look at that downspout! That whole cloud is loaded with precip, and the Big Boys are dropping out now, and just before this, the largest ones able to overcome the updraft so its especially great and exciting to be under a cloud like this just as those strands of rain/hail drop out.  Also about the time such clouds get “plugged in” and send light daggers to the ground, as in this case.



2:41 PM. Its just FIVE minutes later! You probably haven’t even gotten in your car yet to try to get over there. Its too late.  This was a one dumper and gone.  Faded away into just a residual ice cloud.




2:57 PM. Done, cooked, fried. Without the flanking clouds piling up into new turrets that reach the ice-forming level, all you have after just 20 min or so, is this sad sight of a dying, once proud Cumulonimbus cloud. Rain here likely due to aggregates of ice crystals called snowflakes if you up there flying in them.




3:04 PM. What was truly remarkable about yesterday was that those smallish Cumulonimbus clouds just kept on generating over and over again off the Catalinas. Very unusual, and was a measure of how unstable, how easy it was, for the clouds to surge upward yesterday.


3:47 PM. Another one! Unbelievable. Like the bunny, going and going and going.
4:01 PM. Its practically nighttime, cool, overcast, not good for Cumulus, and yet look how this little group was trying so hard to be a rain cloud. Sadly, they didn’t make it.  Have never seen such tall thin clouds like this here in this kind of environment, that’s why I posted it.
3:38 PM. Likely funnel cloud just above bright spot, the longer filament, not the nub from the cloud base in the foreground, but from the next base farther away.

Moisture continues to revolve into Arizona from the southeast and so it would appear a similar day is in store for us.  Oh, goody.

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.