Rainless January ends with a few drops

Sure, it was only a “trace”, less than 0.005 thousandths of an inch, but it counts as a rain day!  Those drops fell just after 5 AM and the rain lasted for almost 6 minutes.  Think I will call that patch of middle cloud that did this, “The Terminator”, to add a little drama to this event.  “The Terminator” is passing over Oracle now at 5:55 AM.  I also said I would check back with you when the drops started falling, too.  So, here I am sitting here trying to think of things that would kind of get you excited about clouds and weather.

Recall it was posited here that rain was “likely” in January as January began.  And now we have had that “rain”!  Total and complete verification of a long range forecast!  Looks like my forecasting accuracy will now go over 50% with this verification, too.  So, I am pretty happy this morning, if you care, which I doubt.

BTW, this is part of the same system that was initially supposed to bring rain on the 27th, foretold about 10-12 days in advance.  Often the day is not quite right that far in advance, but the event was captured.  It wasn’t foretold to be much back then anyway.

Of course, today we remain in the same droughty, comfy-temperature pattern as we have been in the past few weeks; no surprises there.  This standing pattern, the extreme cold in the East and toasty in the West, has been well foretold by our illustrious computer models.

But what’s ahead?

This, just in…..   Big rains and even, big snows in Arizona here in Catalina, too!  That’s my read.  I am going with the very latest depiction of weather from our “gargantu-brain1” model, the Weather Research and Forecasting-Global Forecast System model, “WRF-GOOFUS” for short.

Here are some great depictions from our equally great NWS NCEP WRF-GFS site which you might want to explore MORE than can be displayed here.  Here we go, you drought bustin’, wildflower fluffin’ maps:

Stage 1)  Actually setting the stage for something big here, valid at 11 AM, Thursday, February 8th:

Notable features, record cold in the Pacific NW and northern Rockies as a gigantic trough and pile of cold air marches down the West Coast.  If this verified, temperatures would likely be in the single digits in Seattle, low teens at best.  And this cold air and trough are headed this way, according to the predictions from last night’s global data taken at 11 PM AST.




Stage 2):  Valid 24 h after prior map, 11 AM Friday, February 9th:  Rain moves in to Catalina;  reoord cold advances into southern Oregon and northern California.



Stage 3, day 3:  Valid at 11 AM, Saturday, February 10th.  In this depiction the cold air is arriving in Catalina, rain likely changing to snow.  Record low temperatures likely in Cal and NV on this day.  A day or so later in AZ.


 Overall summary

Naturally, such extreme maps as these incorporating record low temperatures have to be considered somewhat suspect.  But, from a risk standpoint, you have to be aware that they might well happen.  This is the first series of maps to show such brutal cold in the West, and does correspond to a vast change in the circulation of the jet stream that will be under way as January comes to a close.

So, while the chances are low that this will play out exactly as shown, with all those record low temperatures, you have to be ready for something brutal even here in Catalina just in case.  As I heard yesterday concerning planning for the virtually certain “megadroughts” in the future of the SW, with or without the aid of global warming since they are in the proxy data going back thousands of years, you have to plan for bad stuff anyway.  But in this case, even while uncomfortable, it would be a good series of storms for us in just about every way except comfort.

Going out on a twig, not just a limb,

The End.



1 A phrase stolen from Douglas Adam’s,  “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (theme; long version)