Sunday, July 12, 2009

Interesting Drive on Friday (July 10, 2009)

Apparently the NAM forecast on Friday morning was reasonably good, and the predicted S/W I discussed that morning led to increased storms with a decent shear profile and some westerly component to the steering flow.

As we drove east from Tucson in the late afternoon there were fairly numerous Cbs in sight from east to south. As we neared the Highway 83 exit there was a solid line of storms to the east that were producing frequent cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. This line was west of Benson and the Whetstone mountains and apparently heading toward Tucson. We drove through a couple of brief, but heavy showers on 83. After several miles, a storm was about to come over the Empire mountains, and I took the photo above at 6:30 pm MST. Yes, that’s the Tucson WSR-88D on the far right side. Winds were from the east at 30 to 40 mph when I took the photo.

Storms were weaker on to the south, but lightning continued, along with rumbles of thunder, until after dark (location 5 miles northwest of Sonoita). A perfect evening outing for a weatherman.

The storms rapidly moved into the Tucson area with damaging winds and frequent lightning (as per the shot from the Computer Sciences web cam). There was 0.34” in the gauge when we returned yesterday evening. There was measurable rain on Friday at 43 of the 93 Pima County ALERT gauges and these were mostly in the eastern half of the network.

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