Again, a cheap appeal to gain readers, this time to UFO folks that might drop by this site to investigate a possible sighting, raising number of visits to above 2 per day….
The CoCoRahs gauge had 1.00 inches, the NWS gauge, 0.97 inches, but the online Davis tipping bucket gauge had a serious undercatch due to wind and high rain rate, reporting only 0.80 inches.
If you live in this area, you were treated to quite a nice spectacle, one that happens only a few times a summer here. A non-precipitating cloud lingers and grows almost directly overhead, at first not looking like much, but broadens and darkens, and then the hole opens up to empty all the water up there. If you saw this spectacle, and you saw the first signs of the plug being removed, the appearance of the long, dark column (compare to “The Thin Blue Line”). Having anticipated this very event by standing around doing nothing for awhile, the correct thing to emote as a cloud-maven junior, is, “Oh yeah, baby! Come and get me!” I could feel the joy out there as this was happening!
At this point you have about 1 minute to tell your neighbors they are going to get smashed. There was some thunder up there before the plug came open, telling you how deep the cloud was above the base; it wasn’t faking as can happen. Of course, at this point, if you had radar, you would have seen an echo up there before the opening occurring, but that would be cheating.
I think our big black cloud that cried (compare to the little white cloud that cried song) was the result of wind from storms southwest of us colliding with a light NW wind right here. And with little strength in the guiding winds aloft, it sat over us for a longer time than usual.
Got some nice wind out of it, too, as the rain shaft, aided by evaporation, slammed down on Catalina/Sutherland Heights, pushing hot air out of the way, scattering chairs and cushions all over, kind of a mess really, but it was worth it.
But before I continue with this interesting and dramatic story of our storm, I wish to report that I was distracted by what initially appeared to be floating “trash” just before the storm, tumbling around up there at least a few hundred feet off the ground, and south bound, performing maneuvers that perhaps were not human. It went near the ground and then back up again, did some crazy things1.
I did not see evidence of other trash or a whirlwind or “dustnado” adding to the mystery. First, I think we can rule out the most obvious explanation, that it was a party balloon with just enough helium in it to stay afloat, just drifting along in the wind and revealing all the turbulent eddies one might find on a day with Cumulus clouds…. That’s, of course, is what they would want us to think….
Now, continuing on to our storm story….
Some damage shots after the wind and gush of rain:
Then there was a lot of lightning toward Romero Canyon, a cloud to ground strike every few seconds. Really was quite amazing:
Some rainfall reports for the Catalina area on the morning of the 19th:
Precipitation Report for the following time periods ending at: 03:04:00 07/19/16
Gauge 15 1 3 6 24 Name Location
ID# minutes hour hours hours hours
—- —- —- —- —- —- —————– ———————
1010 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.08 Golder Ranch Horseshoe Bend Rd in Saddlebrooke
1020 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 Oracle RS 0.5 mi SW of Oracle
1040 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.47 Dodge Tank Edwin Rd 1.3 mi E of Lago DO Parkway
1050 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.04 0.16 Cherry Spring about 1.5 mi W of Charouleau Gap
1060 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.12 Pig Spring about 1.1 mi NE of Charouleau Gap
1070 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.34 Cargodera Canyon NE corner of Catalina State Park
1080 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 CDO @ Rancho Solano CDO Wash NE of S-brooke
1100 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.67 CDO @ Golder Rd CDO Wash at Golder Ranch Rd
Santa Catalina Mountains
1030 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.24 Oracle Ridge about 1.5 mi N of Rice Peak
1090 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.02 Mt. Sara Lemmon
1110 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.16 CDO @ Coronado Camp 0.3 mi S of Coronado Camp
1130 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.35 Samaniego Peak
1140 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.55 Dan Saddle on Oracle Ridge
2150 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.59 White Tail Catalina Hwy 0.8 mi W of Palisade RS
2280 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 Green Mountain
2290 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.54 Marshall Gulch Sabino Creek 0.6 mi SSE of Marshall Gulch
1Remember when you were a kid and when you saw trash up high, you knew there was a whirlwind around and you looked for it so you could jump in it? Those were the days, weren’t they?