What a superb rain that was here in Cat land! The early signs, which I pointed out to a friend well before it happened, fully developed, “behemothic” Cumulonimbus capillatus incus clouds before noon. Take a look at some of the early “warning” developments. I included a baby Cumulonimbus capillatus cloud just for the heck of it; it was so CUTE! First, tall thin Cumulus reaching the ice-forming level before noon (fibrous portions technically making them Cbs), the baby Cb, and then a behemoth of a complex to the N of us. This was SUCH a great opening for the day! How anyone could not be excited by these sights unless you were indoors all day without windows, I don’t know. Also, I get quite sad thinking about Catalina-ites that feel they must move to higher ground when the temperature rises in summer here. Look what they missed! Of course, they also missed the screeching toads last night, too, not a pleasant sound, but nice to think it was because they, too, were excited about all that rain that fell. What helped our rain total, and the desert re-greening now in process, was the giant areas of more stratiform rain areas, debris clouds from the original thunderheads that normally here do not produce much or any rain. In the Midwest, a cold front comes through with leading thunderstorms and a windhift, and then it rains for three hours afterwards from the trailing “stratiform”, well, really Nimbostratus-like clouds (ones commonly seen in Seattle, for example, when steady rain is falling). And we had a lot of that late yesterday afternoon that enhanced the rain totals from the downspout portions of the thunderstorms. That steadier, moderate rain that went on for several hours added about as much here as did the initial dump.
What was exceptional was the frequency here of cloud to ground lightning strikes, many close ones, yesterday afternoon. I had not seen so many strikes and the time between them could be measured, seconds I think. Even going out to the “trace detector” (an old car parked outside) seemed dangerous though it is only 50 feet away. Cut down on photo ops, too, dammitall.
Its thought that a higher frequency of strikes might be due to greater updraft speeds than usual in the clouds overhead. Typically, guessing here, they might be 10-20 kts in our thunderstorms, yesterday may have reached 30-40 kts. Not much literature re this sort of thing in AZ thunderstorms. BTW, the greatest measured updraft was about 80 kts, or close to 100 mph! Yikes! The plane that measured that, an “armored” T-28, was taken upward 5,000 feet before you could say skiddadle.