While waiting for the rain, yesterday’s Cirrus

In case you like to go to the end first, a quite nice one:

5:53 PM.
5:53 PM.  A mostly spissatus sunset.
3:19 PM.  Creepin’ Cirrus (spissatus) has creeped overhead.
2:07 PM.  Creepin’ Cirrus, creepin’ up from the south during the afternoon.


A little whirl in the air overhead and to our south now seems to have spawned some Altocumulus castellanus (Ac with vertical spires), according to nighttime sat imagery.  Could be a very nice sunrise this morning, and because they’re going to be cold (colder than 0 F), likely to be some virga around, something that would really enhance the sunrise color.

It now appears the skies will clear completely later in the day as it passes by.

“In other news….”  the tremendously cold air foretold in the models, supported by spaghetti, to ravage the East maybe ten days ago is now beginning to arrive.  They’ll be some whining from back East (as in the next segment).  Perhaps some folks in the East will now throw in the towel and finally decide to move to Arizona.  Pretty sure some will.

A whiny, Seattle note:  one of the HARDEST things to take when I lived there and biked to work for about 25 years, was the very pattern we have now with Seattle sitting under a HUGE, high amplitude bubble of warm air known as a ridge.  The jet stream and storms are about as far away as possible in January from Seattle, and its nice and toasty along the West Coast IN GENERAL.  Here’s a loop of the 500 mb maps (requires a lot of bandwidth).  Below, the 5 AM AST map for this morning, illustrating the CLASSIC, “Warm in the West, cold in the East” one:201301211200_500mb


But not “warm in the West” for Seattle.

Fog forms in Puget Sound under these situations and the sun is too weak in all that clear warm air just a coupla hundred feet above you and often cannot burn off this shallow fog that you can see through a lot of the time!

And even if it does clear up, as it eventually did yesterday afternoon (time lapse there from just about  where my Dept lab-office was), its still cold and clammy all day (yesterday it was 38 F in SEA with the sun out in the late afternoon).  Sometimes the fog was so thin you feel like you could reach up and touch the warm air you knew, as a weatherman, was just above you.

So, like the last few days in SEA, you get foggy days, and “high” temperatures in the 30s, often with frost and ice on the roads in the mornings, so you can’t even bike to work in this “fair weather” pattern.  It was tough to take because you had such a great chance for a sunny day with the storms pushed elsewhere, and it didn’t happen.

End of whine; glad to be in Arizona.  I did love my job and my pals there in SEA, still do.

Rain still ahead here for the 28th; varies in amounts from model run to model run.  Moisture from that storm now off Baja in the map above (its got lightning in it) will fiddle around out there until some westerlies “swooshes”1  the remains of that system this way late in the week.

Sadly, there appears to be no rain in sight for us after the 28th episode.



1Can I say that without a Nike copyright release?  FYI:  the Nike “swoosh”…cost Phil Knight $35 to have it made.






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.