We accumulated just 0.01 inches of rain here from those overhanging anvil clouds from thunderstorms centered on top of Ms. Mt. Lemmon early yesterday afternoon but they drenched Ms. Lemmon with 2.28 inches! Details from the Pima County ALERT rain gauges can be found here. The next highest amount was on Samaniego Ridge with a nice 0.79 inches. Both good.
You may have noticed something odd, too, the thunder from those cells was continuous for a long time while Lemmon was getting pounded, quite remarkable, indicating, as you would guess, highly electrified clouds, unusually so.
The last time I experienced continuous thunder without break was in Oklahoma City during the El Reno tornado-producing complex of Cumulonimbus clouds, ones with huge mammatus formations that just ERUPTED from the overhanging, approaching anvil cloud repeatedly. An example of that dramatic OKC scene, FYI:
Oddly, like that OKC situation, where there was almost no cloud-to-ground lightning as the storm approached, and not so much during the 5-7 inches of rain that fell there that night. Neither was there much C-G LTG around here yesterday with OUR continuous thunder; I saw not ONE cloud to ground strike in the several thunderstorms which developed on top of Ms. Lemmon, nor from the continuous thunder-producing cell toward Charoleau Gap around 7 PM. Here are views of our contrasting thunderstorm and overhang from that at OKC looking toward the Cat Mountains. Below that, the remarkable-to-me, anyway, the continuously thundering cell with a modest rainshaft toward the Gap in the evening hours:
I really expected to see some rogue cloud-to-ground strokes coming out of that overhang over Catalina yesterday (middle photo), as often happens here, dangerous ones because they can be quite removed from the rainshaft and so you don’t expect them.
Have only seen one or two days like yesterday before, absent cloud to ground strikes but a lot of electricity up there in Catalina over the past five summers. So if you thought it was an unusual day, you were right.
More showers and TSTMS are expected in the later afternoon and into the nighttime hours according to the U of AZ model run from 11 PM AST last evening. Still hasn’t finished crunching numbers, but goes through tomorrow morning. Again, the flow is from an easterly direction and so the early bombardment of Mt. Lemmon should have us in the trailing overhand again until evening when cells are likely to form away from the mountains today.
A real odditiy is that upper level low from back East (Virginia) that is headed to Catalina land! You can see its progress over the past few days here from the U of WA map makers here–you’ll need a big pipe to see all 64 of these frames in a reasonable time., Here from San Francisco State, these 500 mb maps, starting with the low over West VIrginia and SE Ohio, ending this morning with the low now over the Texas-Oklahoma border! Amazing.
So if something like this happens, we’ll have a DISTURBANCE to cluster our Cumulonimbus clouds into real monsters, ones bigger in area, and ones that last longer, maybe make up some rain deficits around here.
Of course, with such an odd track, lots can go wrong, but its something to keep in mind.