While waiting for the remnants of former H. Simon to pass over us during the next couple of days, bringing some rain, starting overnight, got distracted while looking to see how many rainfall measuring stations they have in Baja Cal, and found this about the Great O from NASA. Its a pretty fascinating read I thought, which you will also find fascinating. Sure, intense hurricane O’s floody remnants missed us here in Catalina/Tucson, but it did produce some prodigious rainfall on its path across Baja and points northeast from there into NM. NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) radar estimates that over the ocean off southwest Mexico that about 33 inches fell over a ten day period while O was meandering around down there with some other disturbances, probably raising sea level that bit. And up to 5 inches per hour was falling in rainbands as it entered Mexico from the Gulf of Cal! O was deemed the strongest hurricane (tied with 1967’s Olivia) to ever hit southern Baja since sat images became available.
You will also see reprised in the “Diary of O” the huge rainfall totals that were expected in the TUS area but rains that missed us, the sad part of the story for some folks, who we will not mention. But, as Carlos Santana said, “Those who do not know history, are doomed to repeat it.”
For that reason, in view of the prodigious rains predicted in southern AZ again, but to the west of us, I thought we should be prepared for disappointment by recalling O’s “terrible” miss for TUS.
Here are some graphics from our very fine U of AZ Weather Department’s Beowulf Cluster computer outputs from just last evening at 11 PM AST, ones that can be found here, in case you don’t believe me again, a seeming theme around here. First, when the computer model thinks it will start raining, Figure 1, and in Figure 2, the expected gigantic totals expected along and near the US border where we really shouldn’t go unless you 1) go in an armored vehicle of some kind, 2) make prior arrangements with the appropriate ruling Mexican drug cartel for that part of the US that you just want to visit some rain, nothing more:
Right now, as of 4 AM AST on Thursday, this model thinks Catalina and vicinity will get less than half an inch. Be prepared for more, though, rather than less. Note the streamer of heavy precip associated with Simon in Figure 2. Well, recall that O’s heavy precip streamer was going to be right over us, but then shifted eastward in the models and in real life at the last minute. The above prediction would only have a bit of a “westward bias” (the real streamer is EAST of where its shown now) to give TUS and vicinity a memorable, drenching October rain. This is what occurred with O’s streamer of torrential rain which was expected to pass over TUS, but ended up a little east of us. So, anyway, given all the little uncertainties in model predictions at this point, the watchword here is “watch out” which is actually two words. The view from here, incorporating a positive rain bias as you know, is somewhere around an inch for Catalina. The grassy green is gone, most annuals in serious wilt or crispy now, but could an inch bring some green back? Clueless on that score.
5:05 PM. Altostratus translucidus with an Altocumulus layer on the horizon.
5:07 PM. A “classic” view of Altostratus translucidus (sun’s position can be discerned through it), and here, an all ice path to the sun. Liquid cloud elements would appear as dark flakes, or would obscure the sun’s position. Sounding indicated that this layer was 26 kft above the ground in Catalina!