Kind of sad today. Too sad to think of a title. Thought you’d like to know that. Yesterday was once so promising. I almost had it all. I was SO happy to see clouds topping Mt. Lemmon at dawn, and then later, cloud bases down on Samaniego Ridge east of Catalina. How warm those cloud bases were (maybe 15 C)! And how full of condensed water those Cumulus and Cumulonimbus clouds later on were going to be! I opined from this very blog that we would have a big day in the area.
As the morning wore on, it was as though my thoughts were magical and could make things happen by only thinking them, the Cumulus that morning churned, roiled and boiled upward as though on command. The first shot below shows one of those boiling, ominous clouds so full of promise at only 10:19 AM. It was so GORGEOUS! Then, but nine minutes later, in the second shot, a turret had powered up to through the “glaciation level”, where the highest portion (uppermost part) had become cold enough to convert to ice right before my eyes (that top 25% frizzy part). As you know, this means that the Cumulus congestus had become a Cumulonimbus “calvus” with a strong rainshaft. Minutes later, the “capillatus” stage was reached and an anvil began spreading northward!
Thunder was heard by 10:29 AM! This was perhaps the earliest occurrence ever for thunder over the Catalinas as the day’s new Cumulus buildups began. Really, I could not praise myself enough for having looked out the window at dawn for a few seconds, and then magically deduced from a perusal of the sky what the cloud future would hold. It was really pretty remarkable; daring even. I looked forward to the rest of the day. Maybe Catalina would get another inch of rain from some massive complex that afternoon or evening.
But then things began to go bad. It began to get cloudy, though admittedly there was a brief shower that brought 0.01 inches (third photo). You could see that with the increasing “stratiform” (flat) cloud cover that things were going “south”–not really “south”, its just a figure of speech indicating a downturn. The clouds were mostly going north.
There were no more new Cumulus clouds building up over the Catalinas due to this heavy cloud cover. It “sprinkled-its-not-drizzle” for a coupla hours. Seemed like Seattle rain, as a former Seattetonian. Why was I experiencing Seattle rain in Catalina, AZ? Finally, the afternoon ended dismally with this heavy overcast of Altocumulus opacus. I usually love Altocumulus clouds, but not yesterday. They were offensive to me. I had been humbled thoroughly and completely; felt like a mashed down Cumulus humilis at the end of the day. But then, humble is good, isn’t it? I began to feel better that I had been wrong because I learned something and was now humble.
At least the day ended up with a pretty sunset due to those obnoxious Altocumulus clouds combined with the “topography” of a distant thunderhead that caused rays in the sun’s light to appear in the “cracks” of that distant cloud top. Those rays are called “crepuscular rays”, as we weatherfolk call them. But a friend recently told me that they were also called “stairway to heaven”; very poetic and much nicer than “crepuscular rays.” Enjoy.
Not speculating on today’s weather except that we should still have a chance for a big day here in Catalina. (After the word, “except”, you can say almost anything.)