“You’re really not going to like it”

The above, a quote from Douglas Adam’s hypersupercomputer, “Deep Thought”, from the 1980s classic sci-fi radio series, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, spoken by DT as he prepares to give the answer to “life and everything.”  In the context of the computing grandeur of DT, as one website quotes, “Don’t even mention these”:

  • The Milliard Gargantubrain
  • The Googleplex Star Thinker
  • The Great Hyperlobic Omni-Cognate Neutron Wrangler
  • The Multicorticoid Perspecutron Titan Muller
  • The Pondermatic

These still make you laugh from that classic NPR radio series-Eagles theme here).

I wanted to distract you with laughter if you are one of those persons who love Arizona or are a snow birdy solely because of its warm, sunny weather in winter.  Not gonna happen this month1.

The answers to “weather and everything” below, and you’re not going to like them, unless you’re a skier, and you come to Arizona for great powder skiing!

By the numbers, what’s ahead:

Weather event 1.  a little cut off low travels across northern Mexico from southern California bringing some fabulous-looking clouds today (high ones like Cirrus),  and a brief shower at anytime tomorrow through Tuesday morning when its closest to us.  Nice.   But its not too cold yet.  That comes later.

Rain in #1?  Top pot (-ential): 0.25 inches; bot pot, just a trace.  Most likely amounts hereabouts? A few hundredths to a tenth.  Hoping for the development of a narrow, odd line of high-based (Altocumulus level) Cumulonimbus clouds that wrap around the upper low center as it goes by to south tomorrow.  Wispy storms like this could produce little shower areas not conducive to model resolution at any time since the moisture threads running around it will be very narrow.  You’ll have to be watching.  Have camera ready for spectacular Ac castellanus (he sez) today and/or tomorrow.

In summary, today you will begin to be clouded over.  On to event 2

Event 2, begins January 11th.

Summary: Yikes!  Takes a few days to get through this.  Check this prog out from Canada from last evening’s global data crunch (especially, the upper left and lower right panels):

Valid for 5 PM AST, Friday January 11th. “Totally awesome!” This new depiction moves this giant trough to offshore of southern Cal-Baja. You know that means. More water streaming north into AZ before the Big Cold hits, molecules of water vapor being sucked out of Pacific. That would be fantastic.  One of the best model forecasts I have seen in a LONG time.  Congratulations to Enviro Can for coming out with this last night.  A real winner.

OK, quite exuberated over this Canadian forecast.  For one thing, the dreaded super cold air is delayed, though it  still happens after this big trough goes by.  But mainly from this prog above, our precip potential is jacked up by twice with an upper level configuration like this, so much of it offshore now.

In the preceding days after Event 1 ends Tuesday morning on the 8th, the temperatures will rebound nicely, too, before the Big Whammy on the 11th-12th.

Rain in Event#2, January 11th (begins later in day)-13th?  I think now you have to be thinking the “top pot” here in Catalina is 1.00 inches over a 48-72 h period, bottom pot, 0.30 inches (i.e., less than 10% chance of more; 10% chance of less).  Median of these “best extreme guesses”, 0.65 inches. So, we got us another sure-fire substantial rain, even if the minimum is all we get.  Go desert wildflowers!

Now, a caveat…  US mods don’t have the flow as far offshore in event #2 as the Canadians do, thus, our mods have a much drier depiction for this storm.  In these kinds of situations, no model has the complete truth, and so mentally you try to integrate the two.   The lower precip bound of just 0.30 inches here is due to a compromise in actual flow patterns that might eventuate.

Quitting for a second to dream about pounding rain on the flimsy Arizona roof we got…the only kind to have if you’re a real CMJ (cloud maven junior); are a precipophiliac, as I am, or just like the sound of what the wildflowers are getting out there in the desert.)

Snow in Catalina in #2?  Sure looks like it, toward the end of the precip, overnight 12th-13th.  Will expeculate that 1-4 inches will fall between Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Event #3.  The storms, though not nearly as moist as #2, troughs just keep “falling down the shoot” as the jet stream zips southward along the West Coast carrying storms to us for the foreseeable future with the timing of #3 on the evening of the 15th-16th (US WRF-GFS mod run from last evening’s data).  Here’s what that cold trough and following blast of cold air look like on the evening of the 15th.  A little snow is possible toward end of this event in Catalina, too.  This goes by really fast, which is bad for precip totals, and “good” for extra cold air arriving here, since its shooting down at us so fast, that cold air can’t be modified much into warmer air as it goes southward.

Vallid for 5 PM AST, Tuesday, January 15th.

Only in the “dying embers” of last night’s model run, one that ends after 15 days, on the 21st, does it appear that there is a break in the pattern of below normal temperatures here.  But, as we know, the atmosphere “remembers” for weeks at a time, so it may not be last long.

BTW, we are joined in cold air by our planetary neighbors in China, who are experiencing one of the coldest winters in 20-40 years.  In a preliminary newsy item from China, they have attributed the cold winter to warming….and melting ice caps.   Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

In an aside, should we see some really cold air, as is likely, the argument that “its colder because its warmer” may show up here.  Its out there and I think it showed up after our February 2011 record freeze.  Remember, I am a cloud-maven, not a climate-maven, but some statements do seem silly.  Severe weather happens; always has, always will.


1Its great, though, to see all those out-of-state license plates these days (Ohio, Ilinois, MN, PA, Iowa, ID, AK, Ontario, Can, seen just yesterday), knowing there are so many people who want to be where I am all the time, a permanent resident.  I am sure all of us Arizona “barnacles” feel the same way!