If you thought the thunder was exceptionally loud yesterday morning during our “thunderrain”, even for strikes as far as a mile or two so away, as the writer did, it probably was. Sound travels best and away when the atmosphere drops in temperature rapidly as you go up, as it normally does on an Arizona afternoon.
But in yesterday morning’s very-unusual- for-us thunder before 8 AM LST, the temperature did NOT drop very rapidly as one climbed higher above the ground for the first couple of thousand feet. See arrow showing this layer above the ground in the sounding shown below. Under these conditions, the explosions produced by cloud-to-ground lightning, do not travel upward and away so well as they would with a sharp drop in temperature with height, as we have in the afternoons, and so what we hear is incredibly LOUD thunder under these conditions. Yesterday morning’s thunderstorm, no doubt to the glee of remaining Spinal Tap band members, was one of Arizona’s loudest it seemed to me.
This morning we have had another thunderstorm THIS MORNING, astonishingly unusual to have two morning thunderrains in a row, and strikes were again loud. The Tucson sounding this morning is very similar to yesterday’s; this time with an isothermal layer (temperature stays the same as you go up), something that would help trap the sound even better. However, it is not quite as deep, and that, too, would play a role.
Note: lived a couple of miles from I-5 in Seattle. That freeway was “closer” on morning’s with an inversion (say, after a clear sky night, quite unusual in Seattle, of course) and “farther away” without one, say when it was cloudy all night, and no inversion formed.
From the U of WY Cowboys, yesterday’s 5 AM Tucson sounding, followed by this morning’s:
The rain and cloud report: 0.45 inches here in the past 24 h! Excellent! Fell from these kinds of clouds::::: (I’ve got too many colons already; may as well add a few more for emphasis that there is supposed to be a pause for some kind of surprise or something, anyway that comes next. Besides, as many (“many”, hah!) of you have probably noted, I am a cloud maven, not a language maven.
Here is the surprise, one that I did not even know about until I uploaded the photo below::::::
Just eye-balling the maps and clouds, SOP forecast, looks like more thunderrain is in the bag today. Great!