Exciting day one of two

Weather excitement is blowin’ in the wind today as well as “the answer”, as Bob Dylan once claimed via Peter, Paul and Mary, here in a another musical distraction.

The actual  “answer” in the wind, of course, is not 42, as you might have thought, but that when you stand facing the wind, the low pressure is on your right (Buys Ballots Law), which means here in Catalina with today’s southwest wind, its over there toward Casa Grande, to the northwest. The two of you who read this blog, you’ll know that the low center is way beyond Casa Grande, and likely in Tonopah, NV, a low magnet.

It would be fun to live in Tonopah and be in a low so many times, the air all around you converging toward YOU.   Here’s the latest map FYI, for those of you considering moving to Tonopah, NV1, a census designated place like Catalina:

3 AM surface weather map featuring the Tonopah Low. (From the University of Washington Huskies Weather Department.  Nice.
3 AM surface weather map featuring the Tonopah Low.
(From the University of Washington Huskies Weather Department. Nice.  Play in the Fight Hunger Bowl on the 27th there in Frisco.

 

I know that many of you love the wind, such as we’ll have today, and a bit right now at 4 AM or so,  and have wind-detecting lights that let you know when the wind is blowing at night when the plants and trees around your house start moving around so you can get up and see how hard its  blowing…

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We interrupt this weather presentation for a Public Service Announcement:

Pima County reminds Catalinans who live east of Oracle Road to be sure to cap/shield outdoor lights off so’s the light doesn’t go up and out, wrecking our dark skies.  This is mandated by Pima County code;  those east of Oracle, save businesses on Oracle,  live in lighting zone E3a, in case you didn’t know there was such a thing.

The astro guys up in the Lemmon Dome (aka, U of AZ Skycenter) need as much dark sky as possible, they’ve recently told me.

And, of course, you don’t YOUR wind-detecting and other flood lights illuminating the bedroom of the house next door, either, a phenomenon called “photon pollution.”  Doesn’t mean YOUR property can’t be lit up like a little Las Vegas, but not those places next to you.

Pima County thanks you in advance for keeping your f…g light to yourself2!

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(I don’t actually cuss, but it was great to write that last sentence; kind of puts the hammer down on the whole piece I thought, to give you a little of the writer’s insights in framing it that way.  Note, too, that the author has contrasted the vulgarity of the last sentence with the erudition that accompanies a footnote3.)

Heh, heh, night photon-phobe here snuck that PSA in on you in what is ostensibly only a blog only about weather.  (Or is it “sneaked”?  Oh, well.  On to more questionable writing…)

The weather today

Tremendous changes have occurred in the weather maps since yesterday at this same time as the la-dee-dah map of yesterday for the western US has gotten energized by a sudden southward pouring of jet stream from the Gulf of Alaska.  Low center to form today over southern Cal.  Pretty dry at all levels in the southwesterly flow aloft now over us.  Only a few Cirrus or isolated Altocumulus lenticularis today, as “main bang” of frontal rain band and associated wind shift, pressure rise,  not due in until well after midnight.  U of AZ mod has front passing through TUS between 7 and 8 AM tomorrow morning.

How much, you ask?

Hmmmmm.  Was thinking 0.10 inches to 0.75 inches yesterday, but U of AZ mod today, from 11 PM AST last night, now has an amount similar to the high end SOP guess made here yesterday.  Here’s the good news from the U of AZ mod.  This precip addition is gonna be so great for our spring bloom!

Total water equivalent precip for this storm ending at 6 PM AST tomorrow.  "Water equivalent was used since it'll be snow on the Lemmon.
Total water equivalent precip for this storm ending at 6 PM AST tomorrow. “Water equivalent” was used since it’ll be snow on the Lemmon where something over 1.5 inches is indicated.  Keep in mind that these model calculations of precip often run a bit on the high side.

 

 The weather way ahead, from the NOAA spaghetti factory:

I’ve been learning you up on these things, and when I saw this one from last night’s global data, I gasped, as you might.

Valid at 5 PM AST, January 2, 2014.  If you're going to the Rose Parade on the first, take a jacket.  Big pattern change suggested, another cold spell as the West experienced in early December, and in the coming week.

Valid at 5 PM AST, January 2, 2014. If you’re going to the Rose Parade on the first, take a jacket. Big pattern change suggested, another cold spell as the West experienced in early December, and in the coming week.

 

We’re trending toward another cold spell in the West as the year ends and the new one begins.  And, a pattern like this impugns a wet spell here, too.  Sorry snowbirders.

Note those yellow “control” contours piling up to the North Pole practically in the mid-Pacific and the slogan, “what goes up must come down.”  So, mods here are seeing a pretty good signal amid the noise of a big ridge in the central and eastern Pacific; jet stream not running much west to east, but rather north and south, and that kind of deflection leads to temperature extremes, high ones poleward, and low ones equatorward, in this case, in the western US.  So, watch out.

Remember, too, that the atmosphere remembers, and when we see a pattern showing up that we’ve already had, we place that bit more credibility in a model forecast, as here. In popular culture, there’s an old saying about relationships that resembles this:  “If he/she did it to her/him, he’ll do it to you.”  I bet you didn’t think you’d read that here.   Applies to weather “persistence” or repetition of patterns, too.

As a final longer range note, the CPC, via their ensemble of models, has predicted five months of drought in the SW and Cal as 2014 begins because that’s what most of their climo models agreed on.  These predictions were issued a couple of weeks ago, however.

IMO, don’t place too much faith in that prediction.  We have no La Nina/El Nino hat to hang our forecasts on, and those factors that are there, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, Artic Oscillation, Antartic Oscillation, my oscillation (doesn’t everyone have one?  Seems that way sometimes) don’t have the forcing power of a strong El Nino/La Nina.

Finally, its already been exceedingly dry in Cal, the writer’s home state, and these drought periods always have interruptions, and so, IMO, I would bet quite a bit that there will NOT be FIVE months of drought in Cal and the SW.  It could be a lower than normal water year in these places overall (Oct-Sept) but five more uninterrupted months of drought?  I don’t think so.

Clouds?  Oh, yeah….

Hell, I’ve talked about everything else but clouds ’til now…

4:08 PM.  Classic Altostratus translucidus, an all ice cloud.
4:08 PM. Classic Altostratus translucidus, an all ice cloud.
DSC_0676
5:31 PM. Solid As above the Catalinas as the sun creeps out from the backedge of the As deck.
DSC_0692
5:52 PM. Moderately good sunset, Cirrus spissatus, uncinus, coupla Altocu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End, The Long and WInding.

 

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1In descriptions of recreational activities, they mention hiking and stuff like that, but not “being in a low center.”

2BTW, if you like dark skies so’s you can see as many stars as possible, or our dark mountains at night, here’s a place that talks about trying to preserve dark skies, something that is rapidly disappearing on this planet, the International Dark Sky Association.  Apparently, its not just us here in AZ by the observatories that likes those dark skies, part of the reason we live right here.

3 In literature, sometimes termed “the Jeckyl-Hyde device”, one that complexes the writer’s personality through vivid, contrasting language or subsidiary devices in a single sentence.