Well, it finally happened, we got shafted royally (as CM likes to say, referring to getting rain shafted) yesterday afternoon with a badly needed 1.09 inches here in Sutherland Heights. More than 2 inches fell nearby, too, such as near the intersection of Hwy 77 and 79! The highlight of the storm was, of course, all of those several close lightning strikes between 2 and 3 PM yesterday. If you weren’t out watching them, here’s one for you, one that popped Lago del Oro. (Mr. Cloud Maven person reminds his reader that during lightning, do not stand outside by a tree outside as here. Hmmmph, a new thought…. Maybe that’s where the expression, “Death warmed over” comes from, a person unlucky enough to have been struck by lightning…and then somebody finds him right away!
2:06 PM. Looking northwest; a literal highlight of the day.
6:17 AM. The remarkable site of a Sc lenticularis stack over Catalina due to strong easterly winds up there. This is more like a scene from the front range of the Rockies in wintertime. It hovered up there in place for a couple of hours before withering. One almost started looking for infamous “rotor cloud”, filled with severe turbulence. You can see this remarkable cloud for summer and the things it did, courtesy of the U of AZ time lapse film for yesterday, a real keeper! Still have that lenticular cloud over and downwind of Ms. Lemmon today. Interesting.
6:23 AM. After a few drops, a little rainbow was seen off to the NW. Quite nice.
7:56 AM. (Caution-long, sleep-inducing caption ahead. If you’re driving you’ll want to pull off the road.) Of concern after awhile is whether we might have a gloomy, but dry Seattle-type spring day, or maybe only light steady rains amounting to only a few hundredths or tenths as a disturbance moved toward us. Or, would that disturbance be potent enough to generate deep storms sans heating? For those who live here in the summer, we know that the sun is potent enough, even with dense clouds, especially ones that are NOT composed of ice crystals, to vaporize pretty heavy overcasts. This would be a good thing, because a little heating goes a long way when you have deep, and low based moisture as we had yesterday. Doesn’t have to get that hot. The clouds shown here are composed of droplets, not ice crystals, but, of course, I have just now insulted your Cloud Maven Junior cloud intelligence because you can see the sharpness and detail of the tiniest cloud features; they are not “blurry-looking as ice clouds would be, and more importantly there is no virga, a site that would mean there was ice inside the clouds, ice that would grow into major snowflakes, melt and fall out as rain. So, there is hope here in this sighting of droplet clouds, to continue this novella, for a “burn off” in spite of the heavy, and dark looking clouds because its early in the morning still and they probably have higher concentrations of droplets in them and that in turn cause more of the sun’s light to be reflected off’n the top, and that’s why they look so dark, a darkness that has been enhanced that bit by a little trick of photography called, “underexposing.” Oh, the cloud type? Stratocumulus stratiformis (the second descriptor because there’s so much of it.)
9:46 AM. Within only an hour or two, the thought of a heavily overcast all day could be jettisoned as the normal mid-morning to mid-day thinning occurred. But, now, would the storms be clustered enough to hit Catalina, or would they end up being too scattered as in the day before where big dumps missed us? It was, however, now in the bag, that huge clouds would rise up later in the day due to some heating. Note Ac lenticular slivers.
1:47 PM. While doubts arose as the sky filled in again with dark, lackluster Cumulus and Stratocumulus clouds over Catalina, powerful storms were ripping across Tucson and points S leading one to believe that there was a chance these clouds would pile higher until reaching the ice-forming level in spite of moderate temperatures. Sure enough, one of the Great Moments in clouddom, is catching those first strands of rain/graupel that fall from such a cloud, as here. Really, its like seeing a marbled murrelet streaking in from the coast whilst in a redwood forest, its that rare (see Rare Bird, Marie Mudd Ruth, award winning author and friend who likes clouds a lot, in keeping with a “mud” theme here today. Remember, too, you only got a couple of minutes to catch this stage as the large drops and soft fall out at about 15-20 mph.
1:59 PM. Moving rapidly westward, unloads west of Saddlebrooke. Worried here since it missed.
2:00 PM. More rain and thunder appeared upwind on the Catalinas leading to renewed hope. In fact, the whole sky at this point seemed to be turning into one huge Cumulonimbus. It was great!
3:27 PM. An inch had fallen and it looked like we were going have a lake side property. Next time will get kayak out! Sometimes toads erupt from the earth when this happens, but I guess they like it darker than this.
4:01 PM. One of the prettiest sites after our major rains is this line of Stratus fractus clouds that cuddle up against Samaniego Ridge. Yesterday was no exception, and it was another memorable site of the day.
The weather ahead
Well, drying. Unfortunately we’re in for another long dry spell likely beginning after today. Hoping we can squeeze out one more day with rain this afternoon. Today’s storms will move from an unusual summertime direction from the south-southwest and southwest, so you;ll want to be watching toward the Tucson Mountains to Twin Peaks for stuff that might come in in the afternoon, more of a fall pattern as the winds are shifting aloft today to from the SW. The Catalinas get active with Cu and Cumulonimbus piling up by late morning, but they drift toward the north and not over us as they did yesterday, all this from the
U of AZ model run from 11 PM AST last night.