Ms. Mt. Lemmon engorges 6.46 inches of rain; 0.86 inches in The Heights of Catalina

Engorge:  to become swollen with fluid.

Gauge    15         1           3          6            24         Name                        Location
    ID#      minutes    hour        hours      hours        hours
    —-     —-       —-        —-       —-         —-       —————–            ———————
Catalina Area
    1010     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.51      Golder Ranch   Horseshoe Bend Rd in Saddlebrooke
    1020     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.98      Oracle R S approximately 0.5 mi SW of Oracle
    1040     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.83      Dodge Tank     Edwin Rd 1.3 mi E of Lago Del Oro  Pkw
    1050     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.98      Cherry Spring   approximately 1.5 mi W of Charouleau
    1060     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         1.50      Pig Spring   approximately 1.1 mi NE of Charouleau
    1070     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.75      Cargodera Canyon    NE corner of Catalina State Park
    1080     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.55      CDO @ Rancho Solano  CDO Wash NE of SaddleB
    1100     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.63      CDO @ Golder Rd     CDO Wash at Golder Ranch Rd

Santa Catalina Mountains
    1030     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.04         2.56      Oracle Ridge   Oracle Ridge, approximately 1.5 mi N of Rice Peak
    1090     0.00       0.00       0.04        0.12         6.46      Mt. Lemmon            
    1110     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         1.73      CDO @ Coronado Camp    CDO  Wash 0.3 mi S of Coronado Camp
    1130     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         2.05      Samaniego Peak   Samaniego Peak on Sam Ridge
    1140     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         4.92      Dan Saddle    Dan Saddle on Oracle Ridge
    2150     0.00       0.04       0.08        0.16         3.39      White Tail   Catalina Hwy 0.8 mi W of Palisade RS
    2280     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.08         3.82      Green Mountain
    2290     0.04       0.04       0.04        0.08         2.05      Marshall Gulch   Sabino Creek 0.6 mi SSE of Marshall Gulch

That seems like an appropriate description for Ms. Mt. Sara Lemmon after SIX inches of rain.  Lemmon’s probably a little taller today than yesterday at this time, too.   Should see the “glistening rocks” phenomenon now for a few weeks, as was the case after the several inches of rain at the end of last January.  Will look to see if the Sutherland is flowing today.

Besides the stupendous amount of rain yesterday in the Catalinas, there were two other rare events.

1) an occurrence of the rarely seen cloud, Stratus (the cloud that resembles gray wall paper, not much going on inside it).

2) misty light rain and drizzle that fell from clouds having no ice (which means the tops could have been as cool as between -4 C to -10 C, nature’s highest ice-forming threshold temperatures in clouds, if you care.)

Below, the afternoon sounding, launched at Wildcat University at about 3:30 PM.  Goes up at about a thousand feet a minute:

The TUS sounding for yesterday afternoon as rendered by the Cowboys of Wyoming.
The TUS sounding for yesterday afternoon as rendered by the Cowboys of Wyoming.
Same diagram, but with added value.
Same diagram, but with added value.  Arrows point to region where tops were, rectangle highlights temperatures.  With this diagram, called a “Skew-T”, you must tilt your head about 45 degrees to the left to get the correct view of the isotherms, those straight lines that in this view, slope upward to the right.  The slightest drizzle that fell, likely fell from the warmest shallowest cloud tops, the heavier showers were deeper, likely extending to 0 C or slightly above.

Now, if you’re a real cloud maven person, you would have known that this was happening  in Calalina/Oro Valley yesterday afternoon without looking at a sounding.  It was the visibility reducing, fine, close together drops alternating between true drizzle1   When drops get bigger than that, we call those raindrops.  But whose got a micrometer out there?

Much of the time the very lightest drizzle and rain fell on us without an indication of a radar echo, likely because the tops were below the beam from the radar site far to the SE of us.  TEEVEE weathermen were flummoxed by this, reporting that rain was only falling in areas where there were echoes and that it wasn’t raining here.  Woulda happened to me, making the big money on TEEVEE as a weatherman, too, had I not been here to observe this rare occurrence.  But, instead I am here not making any money at all writing this.  There must be a reason for it.

Now, what you’ve been waiting for, the shades of gray from yesterday:

Even those coupla of heavier showers later in the evening likely had no ice in them, though this is more of a guess based on the high concentration of raindrops smaller raindrops.

Next, let’s see if Hawai’i came to Arizona yesterday:

A couple of soundings from yesterday afternoon launched at Hilo and Lihue, HI.
A couple of soundings from yesterday afternoon launched at Hilo and Lihue, HI.

2015092200.91285.skewt.parc In conclusion, based on nearly identical temperature and humidity profiles at TUS and in Hawai’i yesterday afternoon:

Hawai’i has come to Arizona!

There’ll be some more “climate substitution” today, too, before it all fades away into heat and dryness in the next coupla weeks.

Yes, your cloud day yesterday, starting with those STRANGE Stratus fractus clouds that churned and shot straight up the sides of Sam (Samaniego) Ridge just after the first bout of light rain.  Estimating updrafts were something in the 10-20 kts straight up.  Clueless about what exactly was causing that to happen,  This phenomenon did not last long;

10:37 AM, after the lower air had been moistened by 0.09 inches of rain.  No name for this strange sight, or maybe, Stratus floccus.
10:37 AM, after the lower air had been moistened by 0.09 inches of rain. No name for this strange sight, or maybe, Stratus floccus.
DSC_0097
OK, I’m talkin’ about that!  Was shooting up like a rattler going for a horse’s belly.  The higher cloud layer was Altostratus/Nimbostratus; you could use either name.
10:37 AM also.  More churning clouds over there.
10:37 AM also. More churning clouds over there.

After this, the intermittent light rain moved in again.  If you don’t believe me that the rain was intermittent, here’s evidence from a tipping bucket record for the day, annotated for boredom after you questioned my statement:

Yesterday's rain graph from a Davis Vantage Pro Mark IV Extra Deluxe tipping bucket raingauge in the Sutherland Heights area of Catalina, Arizona.
Yesterday’s rain graph from a Davis Vantage Pro Plus Mark IV Extra Deluxe tipping bucket rain gauge in the Sutherland Heights area of Catalina, Arizona.

More clouds

11:29 AM.  It starts raining again.  Churning clouds briefly visible through cloud vault.
11:29 AM. It starts raining again. Churning clouds briefly visible through cloud vault.
2:23 PM.  Looks like a view from Hilo to me except for the very different vegetation.
2:23 PM. Looks like a view from Hilo to me except for the very different vegetation.
4:25 PM.  With southwest winds and lots of moisture, our crevice cloud formed yesterday showing how saturated air can be trapped in the lee of obstacles.  When it occurs on a mountain top is called a "banner cloud."
4:25 PM. With southwest winds and lots of moisture, our familiar “crevice cloud” formed yesterday when the clouds lifted briefly showing how saturated air can be trapped in the lee of obstacles. When it occurs on a mountain top is called a “banner cloud.”
5:15 PM.  Stratus, a little ragged on the bottom, moves in and drizzle erupts along the Catalinas.  A bird on a pole watches the drama.
5:15 PM. Stratus, a little ragged on the bottom, moves in and drizzle erupts along the Catalinas. A bird on a pole watches the drama.
5:15 PM.  In case you don't believe me that there was a bird on a pole watching the drizzle drama unfold.  I find I have to keep proving myself to my reader, even after all these years.  Well, two years, anyway.
5:15 PM. In case you don’t believe me that there was a bird on a pole watching the drizzle drama unfold. I find I have to keep proving myself to my reader, even after all these years. Well, two years, anyway.
5:56 PM.  FInally, what you've been waiting for, as good an example of "pure Stratus" as has ever been seen, and it was right here in Catalina, Arizona, not along the northern California, Oregon or Washington coasts in summer where pure Stratus is usually seen every morning (if you'd like to see more Stratus, that's where to go).
5:56 PM. Finally, what you’ve been waiting for, as good an example of “pure Stratus” as has ever been seen, and it was right here in Catalina, Arizona, not along the northern California, Oregon or Washington coasts in summer where pure Stratus is usually seen every morning (if you’d like to see more Stratus, that’s where to go).

Wow, what a lot of information for you today!  Hours of effort here!  Well, maybe two.  Maybe I could write a book about rain!  Oops. Its already been done (“Rain2“).  Cynthia Barnett, award winning science writer has just done it.   That’s what happens when you procrastinate or don’t think of it in the first place.

Enjoy a last summer rain season day and those beautiful clouds we’ll have.  Looks like drizzle/warm rain again on the mountains right now!

The End.

——————————-

1By definition, drizzle drops can’t be bigger than 500 microns in diameter, equivalent to about five human hairs; a fewer horse tail hairs.  And, as you know from the many harangues on this subject, such small drops MUST  be close together to be termed an occurrence of drizzle, as happened yesterday afternoon into the evening.

2Highly recommended