Three etages seen in one day

Well, you can’t really see an etage unless there is a cloud in it.  And, no, “etages” are not French flying saucers, they’re the levels that clouds come in, those levels we use in metland (aka, weatherland), that help us classify clouds as “low”, “middle”, and “high” ones (the THREE etages.   (Why am I suddenly thinking of stooges here in this serious moment?  Well, I guess if thinking of the Three Stooges will help you remember that there are THREE cloud etages, I guess its OK;  a pedagogical trick of sorts I’ve played on you).

To get back to flying saucers, I guess two or three flying saucers could have been in one of those etages yesterday, but, just for the record,  I did not see any, and I am probably am looking at the sky more than most.  Only a telescope looks at the sky more than I do.

But those clouds were all there, ones in different “etages”, at one time or another yesterday: Cumulus fractus and humilis (shreds, and little pancakes), Altocumulus undulatus (wavy ones), and Cirrostratus fibratus (a veil with  icy fibers in it).

Here they are for your edification (it’s why you’re here, isn’t it; not to read about the Three Stooges?):

12:21 PM.  Cumulus fractus, shred clouds, and a Cumulus humilis, just hanging around, not doing much, hardly moving in any direction.
12:21 PM. Cumulus fractus, shred clouds, and a Cumulus humilis, just hanging around, not doing much, hardly moving in any direction.  Note depth of blue sky, envy of folks everywhere.  Estimated cloud height above ground, about 5500-6000 feet because I could also see that they were just topping Mt. Lemmon.  Looking over there helps take the guesswork out of it.

 

1:40 PM.  Sky addendum: Altocumulus undulatus, had signs of waves in it.  Those shred clouds were motionless, but the Altocumulus were jetting by like a jet  from the NW.  Could have gotten dizzy watching the relative motion of the stationary clouds and those Altocumulus ones!
1:40 PM. Sky addendum: Altocumulus undulatus, had signs of waves in it. Those shred clouds were motionless, but the Altocumulus were jetting by like a jet from the NW. Could have gotten dizzy watching the relative motion of the stationary low Cumulus fractus clouds and those Altocumulus ones!

 

6:08 PM.  Sunset Cirrostratus fibratus (its got linear features in it, ones aligned with the NW wind of there). Quite nice.
6:08 PM. Sunset Cirrostratus fibratus (its got linear features in it, ones aligned with the NW wind of there). Quite nice.

If you looked up at those clouds in the middle and high levels (Altocumulus and Cirrus), you could have gotten disoriented, dizzy, thinking the earth was spinning in the wrong direction, rotating toward the northwest and Seattle.  Generally, at middle and high levels, those above around 8,000 feet above the ground, the clouds in them appear to be moving gently, steadily, not RACING along like they were yesterday, because they’re a pretty good distance away, like when you see a commercial jet flying at 600 mph, it doesn’t look that fast from 30,000 feet away.  And its always a little odd to see middle and high clouds moving so fast on a fine weather day.

But yesterday, Altocumulus clouds at 12,000 feet above the ground to Cirrus-levels, over 25,000 feet above the ground were racing to the southeast at what appeared to be fantastic velocities.  How fast?

Oh,  70-80 mph for that brief mid-day period with some Altocumulus clouds jetting along, and the Cirrostratus?  Oh, around ONE HUNDRED TWENTY or so mph!  Here’s where the jet stream was at 5 PM yesterday, yep, its red heart right over us!

The 500 millibar map (about 18 feet above sea level, 15,000 feet above ground level here in Catalina, for 5 PM AST yesterday, the 29th.Note red jet core over Catalina.
The 500 millibar map (about 18 feet above sea level, 15,000 feet above ground level here in Catalina, for 5 PM AST yesterday, the 29th.
Note red jet core over Catalina.

Gone now, of course.  That’s what weather does, just keeps movin’ along.  This second part of our two-part storm will bring a lot of needed precip to the Plains States.  Feeling good for them.

Is there any more rain ahead for Arizona! this winter?

Yes, “VIrginia”,  you know that if there’s a model run out there SOMEWHERE that has rain in it for us here in Catalinaland, Mr. Cloud Maven person is going to find it for you, raise your hopes up!

And here is that widespread Arizona rain for you in this panel of precip from a model run that I just found, “hot” off the press (hmmmm, are presses hot?).   The panel below is from last evening’s  11 PM AST global data smash down by our best computers (though ones that are not as good as the Japanese have–a Fujitsu something or other super computer–what have our guys been doing all these years? ((hahahahaha, sort of)):

Ann 2013013006_CON_GFS_SFC_SLP_THK_PRECIP_WINDS_150
Global model crunch, valid for Tuesday morning, February 5th at 5 AM AST. Green precip slime (good slime,that is, kind of like good gut bacteria that keeps us from dying from our own waste) has spread over AZ from the SW.  Once again, I have helped you locate the State of Arizona on this map in case you’re not that good with geography.  The exclamation mark in the word, “Arizona” is because that’s how good a state it is, and everyone should know that.  Also, “Arizona!” is intended to be sung to the tune of, “Oklahoma!”,  that musical about corn and stuff that Rodgers and Hammerstein did a few years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, so we got us some rain coming or not on the 5th.  Some model runs don’t have any on this day.

The pattern that develops is exactly like the warmish storm that brought so much needed rain to Arizona a week ago. An upper low sits out over the warm waters off Baja for a couple of days, and then is shoved northeastward across “Arizona!” and “!”  Will it repeat exactly with another big drencher?  Nope, repeating exactly doesn’t happen.  Still,  decent rains, ones having an impact on drought, in sizx days from now it looks likely from this precipophilic vantage point .  This confidence, of course, derives from our error-filled NOAA “ensembles of spaghetti” plots.  Stand by for reality in about six days.  Will keep you up to date on those model runs having rain in them, otherwise won’t.

The End.