Thursday, May 24, 2018

Current Status - Drought In Southwest

First - Received following email yesterday from Bill Mortimer, who lives in White Mountains at Pinetop-Lakeside (location shown in map and satellite views from Google, above and below):

Hi Bob,

We are DRY. Temps are mostly above normal. A total of 12" snow v. 40" average. Our Walnut Creek, fed by springs, runs year round. However, this year half the springs are bone dry and the 4-6' wide creek is now only a foot wide. I have an Aspen grove of about 50 trees in our backyard. Over a dozen have died so I have taken to soaking them one by one with the garden hose. Our reservoirs are still full because 100 years ago our water district diverted most the Little Colorado River. It flows north to Colorado. Unfortunately, along the way, cattle and alfalfa growers are in trouble. 

Thanks for your blog update. I too look for T storms in NW Mexico and Pacific Tropical activity. It "always" rains here on July 4th. Fingers crossed and pounding on my Apache drum. 



Below is the current drought status map (issued today by Dept. of Agriculture) for western two-thirds of the country - as per Bill's report, Pinetop-Lakeside is an area experiencing exceptional drought. Extreme drought covers most of Arizona and New Mexico and extends across the Texas Panhandle into western Oklahoma. Drought conditions cover almost all of the Colorado and Rio Grande watersheds. A very grim situation for both Southwest water supplies and dangerous wildfire potentials. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

CG Flashes Yesterday - May 22nd

I was curious as to how far north thunderstorms are occurring along the west coast of Mexico, so I grabbed the above plot of CGs flashes detected yesterday (from Atmo and Vaisala for 12-hours ending at 11 pm MST on May 22nd). While there considerable thunderstorm activity over the Inter-mountain West and east of the Continental Divide, the west coast of Mexico remains quiet, except for regions well south of Cabo Corrientes. So not yet much sign of things to come, as July slowly approaches

As similar plot below (but for 24-hours ending at 1:00 am today) shows there were even isolated thunderstorms over northwest Arizona. That's Lake Mead near center of graphic.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Update On View From Mauna Kea

Hi Bob,

The webcam image from the CFHT you posted this morning is looking close to due east. This would place the glow from Hilo on the right (SE) and the rising sun to the left (NE).

- Carl
Carl Hergenrother sent the message above re my interpretation of yesterday's image from Mauna Kea (above is view this am). Since the camera is looking east, Hilo would be to the right of image, so perhaps (since Hilo appears to be under clouds this morning), the brighter glow might be associated with the eruption. Satellite view of Big Island below shows locations of Hilo and also of Pahoa - which has been seriously impacted by the lava flows.

Down at bottom is Old Faithful doing its thing this morning in Yellowstone NP. Cam images here from Jack Hales website.

Monday, May 21, 2018

A New Week - More Of Same

This week we have a weak 500 mb trough over the West this morning inland from the coast. This system will move northeastward and weaken during the week. This will bring us high temperatures in low 90s early but heading toward low 100s by the weekend. Dry but with several windy days - so little change. Forecast above is from the 06 UTC WRF GFS run at Atmo on 5.4 km grid - total precipitation through next Monday morning almost totally avoids the entire state.

Below is early morning webcam (from Jack Hales web page) view from the CFHT (Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope) site on Mauna Kea - but I'm not sure of exact direction of the view. I think glow to left is from Hilo and the rising sun to right. No obvious indication of the on-going eruption. But corrections appreciated.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Brief Overview of Fri - Sat Rain Event CO, NE, WY

Here is my attempt at putting together the rain event mentioned in previous post. The GEFS QPF plumes for Greeley, Colardo, are repeated above. Below I fitted together two NWS QPE maps - top is for 24-hours ending 12 UTC yesterday and bottom is for 24-hours ending 12 UTC today. Color bar for the maps is in middle below. While it is hard to "eyeball" the totals, it looks to me like the GEFS means and also the ranges, were pretty good - with highest point rains resulting from heavy thunderstorms with hail. Clearly the operational GFS forecasts (blue) were extremely too wet. There was flooding in northeast Colorado, southeast Wyoming, and the Nebraska Panhandle. Nothing really comparable around here since last July.

Interestingly, the most significant rain event was for the 24-hours ending this morning, and stretched from west Texas into Missouri. These heavy rains were associated with severe thunderstorms and a nighttime to early morning MCS.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Off To The Front Range

Here in north Tucson, the mornings have been very pleasant for walking this week, with light winds and temperatures down in mid-to-low 50s. Afternoon have continued dry, with temperatures in the 90s, and with some windy periods. There is some weather of interest up along the northern Colorado Front Range however.

Webcam view of Denver (above) this morning shows damp clouds and fog hanging over the city, while Ft. Collins (at bottom) is wet but not foggy. View at Ft. Collins is from the Atmospheric Science Department, looking north toward Cheyenne - both images grabbed from Jack Hales webcam wall.

The GEFS QPF plumes caught my eye yesterday and again this morning. The plumes of QPF above are from 06 UTC runs and are for KDEN, which is the international airport northeast of the city. The models forecast a very wet night tonight and day tomorrow - this in the short term but note that the range of amounts forecast is about 3.5 inches. The operational GFS is by far wetter than the ensembles - over 2.0 inches difference between the operational and the ensemble mean (blue vs black). 

The current grid point forecast for KDEN indicates 80% chance of showers and thunderstorms tonight and Saturday but there are no mentions of possible rain amounts. The Forecast Discussion product mentions that models are all over the place and that the office will have to monitor the rain situation closely next 48-hours, but there are no watches yet, except for up in the very high mountains for winter type weather. Very unusual to see such extreme variance among the GEFS forecasts at 12 to 36-hour time frames. The GEFS plumes for Greeley (below) are even more extreme than those for KDEN. I'll keep an eye on how all this evolves.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Miscellany 15 May

Today begins the official NHC Tropical Storm season in the eastern, north Pacific. Above is from NHC this morning with names of all storms to be used this season.

Severe thunderstorms moved across the Washington D.C. area yesterday evening producing considerable wind damage. Photo above (by Anna Bella) shows a panoramic view of approaching arcus cloud.

From Jack Hales webcam wall (above) is an image of Augustine volcano in Alaska this morning. This volcano is an island in Cook Inlet, southwest of Anchorage (map below), and is shown erupting in January 2006 at bottom.