Sunday, August 29, 2010

Active Day With Severe

Much more active day than I expected yesterday. As post below shows, the WRF forecasts were closest to what happened, although the storms were most active in eastern Pima County rather than to the west. The NAM seriously under-forecast the activity and had its heaviest precip too far north and east - thus, heaviest rains and storms tended to be in between the two models forecasts in southeast Arizona. The WRF was clearly superior in the Phoenix area and Mike's outlook seemed right on for the storms up there. So, all-in-all a very interesting day. Pretty much a down day in far east and north of the RIM Country where where dry air mixed to surface.
Photos above - view of first storm (about 2:40 pm MST) that formed over the west end of Catalinas early in afternoon. The rain shaft has spread into the higher foothills. Second photo is from the house of a new cell building at 3:35 pm over the foothills just a bit to north. Both of these storms produced lots of thunder here at house but not a drop of rain. Bottom photo is of a lightning strike taken by John Diebold at around 7:30 pm. This view is looking north-northwest from about six miles north of the Desert Museum. John also reported 0.95" of rain from storms on the west side of Tucson Mountains. Here at the house we had a brief period of rain around 7:15 pm, but a very nice display of in-cloud lightning shooting north from the active cores which were to the south and southeast. Total rain here was only 0.11", one of lowest totals in the metro area.
Across the ALERT network (NWS Forecast Zone 33) 54 of the 93 gauges had measurable rain in the 6-hours ending at 7:00 PM last evening with 13 reports greater than half and inch and 4 reports greater than an inch. This morning 63 gauges (65 to 70% areal coverage) have measured rain in past 24-hours and 20 have totals greater than half and inch and 5 gauges had amounts around an inch and a half. DM AFB had 0.61" and a gust to 51 mph and Atmo anemometer had a gust to 60 mph up on the roof there. There were 3 reports of wind damage here in Tucson area, and 3 more in Pinal and Maricopa Counties.

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