Saturday, December 17, 2016
Quick Overview 16 And Early 17 December
Front came by airport early this morning with heavy showers and wind gusts up to 43 mph. Above is view at Mt. lemmon General Store a bit after sunrise, showing just light snow there. Below is composite radar at 05:52 am MST this morning, after the front had passed though the Tucson metro area. Quick hitting event, as well advertised by the forecasts models during past few days.
Above are observations from the airport, indicating that wind gusts were mostly around 30 mph, except for the gust to 43 (digital forecast 57 mph) with the front. The digtal forecasts for eastern Pima and Santa Cruz Counties generally were too high for the wind gusts yesterday, while WRF-GFS was fairly accurate. Kitt Peak had gusts at 46 mph and Mt. Hopkins had gusts 48 mph (digital forecasts for those sites were up at 63 mph). Strongest winds were over in Cochise County with Pioneer Airfield, Ft. Huachuca, Muleshoe, and Headquarters coming in at 50 mph or bit higher. The exposed RAWS site at Gutherie recorded 75 mph.
The airport had 0.20" of rainfall and we had 0.23" here, with 30 to 40 mph winds. The data from the northern 2/3rds of the ALERT network (below) indicate that amounts were generally in the tenth to quarter of an inch range. The exception being the Catalina Mountains area where amounts exceeded an inch at highest elevations. This was an amazingly warm event for the time of the year, with most of the precipitation on the mountains falling as rain.
Flagstaff had an extremely long period of rainfall, recording over an inch, before a change to snow just before sunrise. Also of interest is that severe thunderstorms with winds to 64 mph occurred there during the night.
Posted by Bob Maddox at 7:29 AM