Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Very interesting situation for the next six days as the complex middle level low off of California coast this morning swings around to south and then minors out across the Great Basin, with stronger wave replacing it. There is also a persistent very tight cyclone far off to the WSW that models may be trying to swing around the south end of the larger-scale trough.

This morning's NAM indicates a precip period Wednesday night through Friday morning. Interestingly, the operational GFS (from 00Z last evening) shows little at Tucson during this period. The GFS tends to keep the subtropical moisture to the south as the first middle level low swings around and minors out, while the second system digs in. The role, if any, of the system out around 140W and 30N is not clear in the model forecasts.

The GFS and the ECMWF (both from 00Z last evening) indicate that the second wave will pull the subtropical moisture much further north and provide the most significant event out toward the weekend. The precip forecast of these long range models is fairly different. The GFS indicates the main precip near Tucson to occur Saturday night and to amount to around a quarter to half an inch. Whereas, the ECMWF indicates that the main precip event would also be Saturday night, but rainfall amounts near Tucson of a half to a bit more than an inch are predicted by this model.

So, the summary is that there may be two distinct precip events over southeastern Arizona with the weekend event likely being the more significant one. Will be interesting to watch how this very complex situation actually evolves. Regardless we're definitely having a more interesting la nina winter than one might have expected!

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