Thursday, June 04, 2015

Back from Quick Trip

We have been in Winslow, Arizona, past 30 hours or so and drove back this afternoon. Saw Mike Leuthold's weather discussion from this morning and extracted following:

The main issue for today will be winds over south central Arizona.  Scott DiBiase pointed out that one of the runs had some very strong winds over Pinal county due to weak convection and I now believe that is possible.  The model consensus isn't 100%, but the risk is high for high winds.  Already, winds are quite strong in far south central Arizona with gusts nearly to 30mph.  Both the WRFRR and WRFNAM have a shortwave moving into south central Arizona by afternoon with 30-40 knot winds in the 850-700mb layer.  With possible convection mixing down some of the stronger winds and inverted V sounding, there could be some very strong winds.

Although, I don't find much in way of NWS special products (nothing from TUS and a Hazardous Weather Outlook from PHX, followed by a severe thunderstorm report for wind damage) for this afternoon, I can describe what we observed during portion of today's drive from Fountain Hills through east Phoenix and then down I-10 to Tucson and home. Time of this portion of drive was from about 2:00 pm MST to a bit after 4 pm. But first -

Web cam view of Catalinas at 2:00 pm MST showed very high clouds with some virga to the north. The TUS radar composite chart at about 4:45 pm is shown below.

The photo above shows Picacho Peak obscured in blowing dust and photo below shows the Picacho Mountains at the same time - I shot both photos from the shoulder of I-10 at about 3:15 pm.

Graphic above shows CG flash density (for 6-hours ending a bit before 6:00 pm, from Weather.Graphics using Vaisala data) and indicates some thunderstorms in Pinal and Maricopa Counties along I-10 this afternoon.

During our drive down here in the lower desert we observed: virga, mammatus, light showers (enough to wet roads a couple places along the 202 around Phoenix), some very strong winds with gusts of 35 to 50 mph from around Sun Lakes south to the north edges of Tucson metro area, and considerable blowing dust with low visibilities. Quite some afternoon drive - nice discussion Mike.

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