The trillion dollar storm

First, let’s catch up on drought…from who else but the Drought Monitor folks at Big Red (UNL).  They know best:

Jan 15 drought monitor drmonThe scoop

A storm from the Pacific passes slowly over Arizona on the 28th bringing  desperately needed,  soaking rains to almost all ag units, wildllife, desert vegetation, and us.  It then plods on across NM and into the Plains States doing the same, eventually exiting across the Ohio Valley, having drenched some of our most  drought-ridden regions between the 28th and 30th.  These beneficial rains across so much of our country might be worth a trillion in 2013 dollars1, hence,  the moniker, “The Trillion Dollar Storm.”

Here are a few IPS MeteoStar panels (I favor their depictions) from yesterday’s 5 AM AST model run because they’re a bit more spectacular than last evening’s 5 PM AST run (remember from spaghetti the storm on the 28th is in the bag for AZ, and that each model run from here on out will be more or LESS spectacular in rain production, so why not take the “best of the best”? A few panels with the most rain in them to put in your model outputs scrapbook?  Too, I was afraid you hadn’t seen these, and I just couldn’t let go of them myself, like pictures of an old girlfriend you just can’t throw away but probably should:

Valid for 5 AM AST, January 28th. Been talkin’ about rain on this day lately, and here it comes from the Pacific across both California’s.
5 pm 28 Jan 2013011912_CON_GFS_SFC_SLP_THK_PRECIP_WINDS_228
Valid at 5 PM AST, on the 28th. Soaking rains cover much of the State especially in the central mountains.









29 Jan 5 AM 2013011912_CON_GFS_SFC_SLP_THK_PRECIP_WINDS_240
Valid at 5 AM January 29th. The storm is slow to depart, and more soaking rain has occurred in the 12 h prior to this map (dark green and blue regions). How much is such a rain worth to our wildlife and vegetation alone?
5 PM 29 Jan 2013011912_CON_GFS_SFC_SLP_THK_PRECIP_WINDS_252
Valid for 5 PM AST, on the 29th. A storm center has intensified in the central Plains States and a tremendous rain, snow to the north, has enveloped it. It moves out slowly with a soaking rain shield to the north and west of the center.
It could hardly be better than this given the intensity of drought in this region.









Pretty much the same thing popped out of the models from last night’s 5 PM AST global crunch, so its great now that we have 4 model runs separated by 12 h each that have substantial AZ rain!  Gives confidence that this rain will occur as predicted, as well as that confidence that came from yesterday’s venerable spaghetti plots.  I am so pumped!  In the depictions above, Catalina gets about an inch of model rain!

Reality, of course, will be something else, but now, in these model outputs,  us Catalinians are  more into the rain areas predicted than on the edge as was the case a couple of days ago, less “iffy” for a rain to happen.  So, I am going for it:  one half inch in Catalina on the 28th.   You won’t hear your favorite media weather presenter telling you this today because its not really responsible to say an amount this far in advance.  But, here on the internet?   Anything goes, and I have demonstrated that just now.


I know that if I were to read your weather diary for yesterday it would read something like this;

“CIrrus lurked on the south to through west horizon all day.  Didn’t come over Catalina, just kind of stayed down there. I was hoping to see more of it.”

Here is that stagnant Cirrus at sunset that you wrote about yesterday.  You DO have a weather diary, don’t you?

5:51 PM. Sunset getting noticeably later now days.  Also, its well away from Twin Peaks (left of center), where it set on the December 21st, the winter solstice.

Expect some more patches of Cirrus today.  You can see the “moisture front” these clouds were in yesterday here in this water vapor loop from the University of Washington Huskies Weather Department.  That whitish area on the southern AZ border is where the Cirrus clouds were yesterday.  You will be able to see the “white stuff” (areas with more water vapor) beginning to head this way.



1In the 1960s we would have termed this upcoming storm a “Million Dollar Storm”, but with today’s economic realities, where we talk about “trillions and trillions” of dollars all the time, a “trillion dollar” this or that seems more appropriate, more “with it.”   Its great that dollars are only made out of paper; there will always be more paper for dollars! If they were made of anything else, I am sure we would run out of it.