Tattered “O” creeps into Arizona

Old Man O is kind of a mess now.  Still hoping for half an inch here in Catalina/Sutherland Heights, but now even wonder it that will materialize as O goes by today and tonight.  Darn!

But, even though O MIGHT be a rain disappointment here in Catalina, there are plenty of opportunities to get substantial rains AFTER O goes by due to lingering tropical air combined with the presence of an upper low pressure center along the Cal coast in the days ahead.  Cloud Maven Person thinks (of course, as an “unofficial weather thinker”) that more rain will fall in the spotty thunderstorms here in the Catalina area in the five or so days after O than in O today.  We shall see, won’t we?

However, before moving along, let us examine in the colorfully annotated map below those results produced by the truly great thinker inside the “Beowulf Cluster” at the University of Arizona’s Dept of Atmospheric Meteorology to compare the dinky amount CMP is dreading.  Its only fair.

Shown below is more like a heavenly rain here, some 1-2 inches is predicted to fall over a number of hours, not in one dump.  Hoping for what is shown below, but think it will be quite a bit less.

Total rain accumulation in the 24 h ending at midnight tonight, most will fall in the late morning to evening hours.
Total rain accumulation in the 24 h ending at midnight tonight, most will fall in the late morning to evening hours. This map from the model run at 11 PM AST last night, the very latest available.  The reddish areas represent where the model thinks the center of O will go with its central heavier rains.  Notice that it thinks some little areas of Mexico inland from the Gulf will get a mind-boggling TEN inches or more!

Besides, rather than having completely cloudy skies, as today’s sky will likely be, those heavy guys in the days ahead will be far more “photogenic” you might say with their black shafts and sparks. Rainrates will be greater, too, in those situations than from O’s clouds, which are a little too stratiformy and all mixed together for the blinding rains we see in our thunderstorm rain shafts.   Also, since O’s little circulation will pass just to the east of us, the flow off the Catalinas will be a little downhill from the east, which helps to reduce what we might get here, too.

In contrast to the semi-steady rains of O later today, our summer thunderstorms can drop an inch or even two in 15 minutes (yep, its been recorded in gauges).  The flooding rains we had a week ago last Monday, the rates were 1-2 inches.  Makes quite a difference in erosion.

—-rambling aside below—-

Its interesting to me, stepping aside from direct weather commentary into a more philosophical one, how the story of O resembles life in general as happens to all of us growing up.  All of the promise that O had for producing heavy, but mostly beneficial, rains here in Arizona, has been reduced, like that of a youngster growing up that gets straight A’s in the 7th grade, 8th grade, but then loses all of his focus when puberty hits and notices all those wonderful, endlessly intriguing, fascinating, “can’t take my eyes off of you”, creatures around you that seemed so boring and non-existent just a few years earlier. But now they have become the greatest conundrum in all of life!  Instead studying, you, as I did, began making jokes in class as a way of getting the opposite sex (!) to notice you because you didn’t have any other social skills to interact with “girls” with.  And, like me, you started getting kicked out of class and sent to the principal’s office for causing distractions.  THESE humiliations after all those straight A’s and accolades we got from teachers just a year or two earlier.   All of our promise, like O’s, dissipated: you’ve discovered that you’re a Saffir-Simpson Category 5 heterosexual, to continue a tropical theme here.

The life of O has been just like that; the once proud storm, so organized, so full of rain potential for Catalina, became “distracted”, disorganized,  and torn apart by mountains, vagaries in the topography and lack of warm water to feed on. O’s life reflecting our own lives when hormones hit, blind siding us, deflecting us from the productive lives we thought were ahead but instead into poor grades and lack of self-control,  which meant we had to go to a community college instead of real college.  And even then, when you find you have a Spanish class there with Miss Wisconsin of 1961, the distractions and poor grades continue…  You can’t even get into UCLA after seven years of JC!

Yes, O’s story IS the story of every man.   Believe me, I understand what you went through and how hard it was to dissipate so much promise early in life, as tropical O has likely done for us here in Catalina.

—–end of RA—-

Here is a nice, but sad loop of radar and satellite imagery of O during the last 12 h or so from IPS MeteoStar, one that documents O’s decline.

Yesterday’s clouds

One size fits all it seemed yestserday, but I am giving you three anyway, so here they are, your cloud day.

8:03 AM. Light rain falls on the Catalinas and on Catalina, producing about a tenth of an inch here. The lack of variation in the rain intensity (“shafting” as we say here) along the mountains reflects small variations in the height of cloud tops; rain from stratiform clouds. The cloud? Nimbostratus.
1:56 PM. Those deep Altostratus/Nimbostratus clouds, typically with tops at CIrrus levels (30 kft or more), moved off after the rain ended, leaving Altocumulus opacus droplet clouds to continue the gray day.


4:41 PM. A few drops were falling off toward Tucson from this mostly ice Altostratus layer;  some Altocumulus in the upper left corner, and in the distance.

By Art Rangno

Retiree from a group specializing in airborne measurements of clouds and aerosols at the University of Washington (Cloud and Aerosol Research Group). The projects in which I participated were in many countries; from the Arctic to Brazil, from the Marshall Islands to South Africa.