Pretty and tall Cumulus, early showers and thunder, but, alas, a rain dud here

“Alas”, now there’s a word to don’t see every day…probably a little stiff from laying around so long.

Those Cumulus that shot up over the Catalinas early yesterday morning were a magnificent sight, and so full of promise.  And while thunder was heard here just after 11 AM here in Sutherland Heights-Catalina, the showers just did not get off the mountains around here as hoped, though there were a few big boys (or “gals”, to be gender neutral) around to the NW-N and down to the S-SW during the afternoon.  Here are the Pima County ALERT totals for the past 24 h.  Lemmon had a good drop of 1.46 inches; that’ll surely keep those mountain streams going.  But as you will see, not much elsewhere.  Just a trace here, our mode for this summer in Sutherland Heights-Catalina area it seems.

BTW, all available model outputs (U of AZ 11 PM run not available at this time) show fewer showers than yesterday, though to CM, it looks like a very similar day to yesterday in sat imagery and such1.  So, it would seem we have a another day with a chance for a good rain in the afternoon or evening, about like yesterday when some showers did form off the mountains and could have landed on us.  Besides, even without rain, it was a pretty day anyway.  Its all great.

Here is yesterday’s cloud history with its early promise, ultimately only fulfilled only on the Catalinas around here:

6:35 AM.  Our usual broken layer of Altocumulus clouds.  But, being composed of droplets, are especially subject to dissipation as the sun comes up, irradiates them, and ground plumes begin rising to help finish the job off.
6:35 AM. Our usual broken layer of Altocumulus clouds. But, being composed of droplets, are especially subject to dissipation as the sun comes up, irradiates them, and ground plumes begin rising to help finish the job off.

 

10:32 AM.    EVery single and married cloud-maven junior should have been EXTREMELY excited and filled with anticipation at the sight of these towering Cumulus clouds, these early risers (Cumulus congestus erectus).  They demonstrate that that the atmosphere was "loaded" for action, that is was really unstable.
10:32 AM. EVery single and married cloud-maven junior should have been EXTREMELY excited and filled with anticipation at the sight of these towering Cumulus clouds, these early risers (Cumulus congestus erectus). They demonstrate that that the atmosphere was “loaded” for action, that is, was really unstable, ready to produce deep clouds and heavy showers.  Above the Cu, the remnant of the morning’s Altocumulus layer.

 

11:36 AM.  Has been thundering on the Lemmon for about half an hour.  These next two photos show the risk of being under a nice, darker cloud base with no sign of rain coming out, and then 3 min later (from a video I took), the mountains are obscured in blinding 1-2 inch rainrates per hour.
11:36 AM. Has been thundering on the Lemmon for about half an hour. These next two photos show the risk of being under a nice, darker cloud base with no sign of rain coming out, and then 3 min later (from a video I took), the mountains are obscured in blinding 1-2 inch rainrates per hour.
11:41 AM.  A couple minutes after the shaft dropped down.
11:41 AM. A couple minutes after the shaft dropped down.  This was another really good sign about this day, the dark bases weren’t going to be “Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders2” so-to-speak in terms of alternative music of the 1980s, but rather,  the “real deal”;  were shooting up to….the level of glaciation and precip formation!  I probably did not have to tell you that last thing when you saw shafts of precip coming out eventually, but suddenly,  out of every darkened base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12:12 PM.  "Twin towers" able to escape the mountains.
12:12 PM. “Twin towers”,  able to escape the mountains.

 

12:51 PM.  These beauties.  Topmost turret on the left is loaded with ice--can you tell?  This is pretty hard to do at this stage.  In a couple of minutes, the results of that ice began to show up at the base.
12:51 PM. These beauties. Topmost turret on the left is loaded with ice–can you tell? This is pretty hard to do at this stage. In a couple of minutes, the results of that ice began to show up at the base.

 

12:53 PM.  Shaft beginning to appear below base.  This is the most exciting place to be if you're under it, since the drops are huge, have made it through the now collapsing updraft.  Lightning had already occurred by this time, so you have to watch out for these early stages of thunderstorm formation since, underneath it, you might not see the ice forming, and know that the electrification process is well underway.
12:53 PM. Shaft beginning to appear below base. This is the most exciting place to be if you’re under it, since the drops are huge, have made it through the now collapsing updraft. Lightning had already occurred by this time, so you have to watch out for these early stages of thunderstorm formation since, underneath it, you might not see the ice forming, and know that the electrification process is well underway.

 

12:57 PM.  Puttin' the hammer all the way down.
12:57 PM. Puttin’ the hammer all the way down.

 

 

7:20 PM.  Scattered Altocumulus with Altostratus above (a bit too thick to be just "Cirrus."
7:24 PM. Scattered Altocumulus with Altostratus above (a bit too thick to be just “Cirrus.”

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1BTW, if you want a really GREAT forecast by a true expert, rather than a “shoot from hip” kind of one that CM so often offers, you have to read what Bob has to say today when he posts it.  U of AZ experts also often refer to his careful analyses.

2Here they sing about something we probably don’t want to happen to Catalina, Arizona.