Tubes is us

Buried among the small fair weather Cumulus clouds over the Catalina Mountains were a two fair-weather vortices. Have seen only maybe six of these in a lifetime of skycentricity:


11:04 AM. Dust devil-like tube hanging down from a dissipating Cu humilis.

Also at 11:04 AM. As zoomed a view as I could get. If you stared at it, you could see little fragments of cloud whirling around. Wouldn’t wanted to have been a glider pilot and have gone through it.

11:13 AM. Astonishingly, another one popped up. Seemed to be rotating more slowly than the first one. Strange indeed.


In the meantime, after more hours heating, a few Cumulonimbus clouds reared their heads, ones that were much closer than the day before.  Was hoping for an eruption over Ms. Lemmon, but it didn’t happen. Didn’t even see any ice form in those clouds.  Wonder if you saw and logged these Cumulonimbus tops in your weather diary yesterday?  First a precursor shot:

12:11 PM.  First Cu turret seen that really stuck up thousands of feet higher than anything else yesterday.
12:11 PM. First Cu turret seen that really stuck up thousands of feet higher than anything else yesterday.  Don’t see signs of ice yet, that it had gotten high/cold enough to form precip.  Nice lighting, though, with those shadows on the Gap.  Its a great scene when have them on our now greenish mountains.

2:24 PM. An exciting moment for you; the first ice top sighting of the day. visible at left through the Gap. You might go on to think, “Hey, maybe Ms. Lemmon will pop one off later. You’re feeling good about things.”

Below, zoomed views of Cumulonimbus tops, ones that were closer than the day before, but not that close.


2:27 PM. Just minutes later, you’re looking past the Catalinas and toward the Rincons, and voila, ANOTHER Cumulonimbus top has arisen! Its a great scene, full of portent for the Catalinas and Ms. Lemmon.



3:51 PM. As the afternoon begins to fade, and more barely noticeable Cumulonimbus tops logged in your weather diary, you realize that Ms. Lemmon just hasn’t got it today. BTW, this is a very stringent test of your ice acuity since only the best of you would be able to see that these are ice tops for the most part, “Cb calvus”, calvus meaning “bald.”

Below, as promising as the clouds got over the Cat Mountains yesterday.  I was so hopeful here, as I know you were, too, that maybe at least a little shower would drift off, some ice would form in these bulging Cumulus mediocris to Cu congestus clouds.  But no, none of that happened.  Still, its a nice photo with those nice shadows on our greenish mountains, to repeat a thought since I’ve run out imagination.

2:53 PM.  Pretty much the peak of the cloud development over the Catalinas yesterday.

2:53 PM. Pretty much the peak of the cloud development over the Catalinas yesterday, hold the ice.

Looks like a pretty similar day ahead, some Cu, an isolated Cb somewhere out there, and that’s about it as our “tropical river” remains east of us, terminating on Boulder, Colorado, while flushing out NM as well with big storms.  If you want to read more about what done it, you should go to Bob’s site since he’s written up stuff in journals about the huge prior floods in Colo and SD, that are somewhat similar to the current deluges in Colo.

This is the very SAME tropical river responsible the recent heavy rains in eastern California and southern Nevada,  across Arizona and New Mexico, into Utah and Colorado over the past week.  While there will be plenty of damage with this last Colorado deluge, the drought relief aspects will be worth billions.


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.