Yesterday’s rosy rain; El Nino fading

Here are some 24 h totals from the Pima County ALERT gauges for hereabouts, ending at 3:30 AM:

Catalina Area
    1010     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.71      Golder Ranch                 Horseshoe Bend Road in Saddlebrooke
    1020     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.08      Oracle Ranger Stati          approximately 0.5 mile southwest of Oracle
    1040     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.59      Dodge Tank                   Edwin Road 1.3 miles east of Lago Del Oro Parkway
    1050     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.04         0.94      Cherry Spring                approximately 1.5 miles west of Charouleau Gap
    1060     0.00       0.00       0.04        0.04         0.31      Pig Spring                   approximately 1.1 miles northeast of Charouleau Gap
    1070     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.04      Cargodera Canyon             northeast corner of Catalina State Park
    1080     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         1.14      CDO @ Rancho Solano          Cañada Del Oro Wash northeast of Saddlebrooke
    1100     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.83      CDO @ Golder Rd              Cañada Del Oro Wash at Golder Ranch Road

Santa Catalina Mountains
    1030     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.12      Oracle Ridge                 Oracle Ridge, approximately 1.5 miles north of Rice Peak
    1090     0.00       0.00       0.04        0.16         1.38      Mt. Lemmon                   Mount Lemmon
    1110     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.16      CDO @ Coronado Camp          Cañada Del Oro Wash 0.3 miles south of Coronado Camp
    1130     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.39      Samaniego Peak               Samaniego Peak on Samaniego Ridge
    1140     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.51      Dan Saddle                   Dan Saddle on Oracle Ridge
    2150     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.04         0.28      White Tail                   Catalina Highway 0.8 miles west of Palisade Ranger Station
    2280     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.00         0.63      Green Mountain               Green Mountain
    2290     0.00       0.00       0.00        0.08         0.31      Marshall Gulch               Sabino Creek 0.6 miles south southeast of Marshall Gulch

Most of the day was pretty quiet.  I gave up on any rain just before it started raining.  And then it rained some more.  Total here in Sutherland Heights was 0.74 inches in last evening’s rain.  Had a close LTG strike that knocked out the personal weather station for a few minutes.  Sorry about that.  I suspect you were pretty upset since it happened when the rain was piling up and you were likely watching my weather station reports online, so it was kind of like your TEEVEE failing when a last minute pass is thrown toward the end zone, but the TEEVEE blacks out before the pass lands and you don’t know how the game ended.  Again, my apologies for that interruption.

Your late afternoon and evening cloud day, one that ended up with “rosy rain” (not a female singer from Seattle, but it would be a good name for one):

5:51 PM. Nice lighting on the mountains, but definitely no chance of rain.
6:12 PM. Yep, nothin’ upwind toward the NE and beyond Charouleau Gap. Certainly, there will be no rain this evening.
6:47 PM. Heard some thunder whilst looking at the Cat Mountains, though it seemed impossible. Must have been a jet….  Went over to look toward Saddlebrook, and my word, this! Where the HECK did that come from? Not long after this those outflow winds struck, blasting away at 25-35 mph from the NNE.
7:09 PM. Nice base forming toward house due to those outflowing winds that pushed the air upward around the Saddlebrook cell. But will it get deep enough to form ice and rain on us? The overall situation was not so great since you may have noticed that prior to the cell appearing suddenly, there were no Cumulus clouds over the lower terrain away from the mountains, never a good sign for anything to propagate out away from them. But, they did!
7:13 PM. A  new rainshaft started falling out of one side of that dark base, indicating its top had sprouted upward and reached way beyond the -10 C level up there!   Still, this one was a near miss, drenching Oro Valley and sideswiping Sutherland Heights.
7:19 PM. Rosy rain.   Looking again toward Saddlebrook, new cells kept forming to the north-north east and eventually one passed over Sutherland Heights with drenching rain, visibility briefly down to a few hundred yards, wind rushing out of the N. It was a fantastic moment after all the dry days that had preceded this.


El Nino Update

In some dismal news brought to my attention by a friend and El Nino expert with NOAA, Monterrey, our much looked forward to El Nino for next winter, likely to be accompanied by substantial rains here, one that was in development over the past few months, is starting to…..fade!

Check out this graphic for July 31, 2014, and note the awful “blue” areas (below normal temperatures) that have started to permeate the red and yellow above normal sea surface temperature band from Peru to south of Hawaii along the Equator.

From NOAA....
From NOAA….

Compare this latest map above to the one just over a month ago (!), with all the great red and yellow across the eastern Pacific:

June 30, 2014 sea surface temperature anomaly map, the good one.
June 30, 2014 sea surface temperature anomaly map, the good one.

Feeling a little depressed now… Not sure once fading, an El Nino can make a come back. Let’s just hope our early August rains can revive some of our desert vegetation.  As you know, we have a couple of days of great chances to get shafted again, rain shafted, that is.

In the meantime, here’s fascinating account of a sudden warming water off the central California coast recently that you might enjoy from this friend and El Nino expert.  You might not have to wear a wet suit to surf The Mavericks, its so warm!

On the positive side, my friend doesn’t feel that the Washington Huskies fubbal team will have a losing  season this year, as I do;  you know, new coach, new system, new QB, at Washington this year, and this almost always means a tough year.  So, I guess we can close out today with that positive note.

The End.

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.