Tag Archives: Monsoon

An Extraordinary End to Monsoon 2016

Today is the last day of Monsoon 2016.  The best Monsoon I’ve experienced in my 11 years here.  I’ve neglected the blog so the entries of our microburst  in Oro Valley last month, varies rainbows, lightning shots, downpours, and other sundry Monsoon 2016 occurrences are missing from mikeshaw.tv.  Perhaps I will go through my pictures and catch some of those things up.  Perhaps.

Before I get into my story about last evening’s drive home, here’s how the day started yesterday:

092916ppsunriseYeah.  Not bad!  I love the view from my deck here in Oro Valley.  I’m happy to say that sunrises like that happen pretty frequently here and I have a front row seat.

Now.  On to yesterday’s drive home from the radio station.  Extraordinary indeed!  Every direction of sky brought joy and wonder (too much?).  It was a cool night.

It was raining pretty good when I left the station with a bright rainbow forming but nowhere to pull aside and grab a shot.  As I raced toward downtown I mostly drove out of the rain only to have it catch me again as I navigated down Congress.  I drove out of the rain again as I headed north on Granada which turns into Main which turns into Oracle.  As I approached River I could see a bright rainbow against the Catalina Mountains contrasted by dark menacing storm clouds.  I found an apartment complex off River Road and grabbed this shot:

092916rainbowToo bad I can’t include the rumbling thunder in the jpg, but it was cool.  I then continued on my trek north on Oracle and noticed the sunset was starting to pop.  I made it to Family Life Radio near Ina and Oracle just in time.  I pulled into their back parking lot.  Parked.  Walked to the eastern fence of Tohono Chul Park, and facing west (often the best direction for capturing sunsets), I got this shot:

092916sunsetI needed some supplies, so I doubled back a block to the Safeway and did some shopping.  By the time I got through the line and back to my car I could see lightning to the northeast.  As I neared my apartment it was apparent that the lightning was frequent and, as lightning tends to be, rather bright.  I parked in my spot.  Gathered my things and climbed to my third story apartment.  I efficiently put away my groceries, grabbed a cigar and my phone, and went out on the deck.  What a great light show!  I tried to get some shots with my iPhone 6S Plus in burst mode and they came out surprisingly good!  Grainy, yes.  Still not bad.  Here’s the best one:

092916lightningLast day of Monsoon 2016 is today.  There is a slight chance of storms in our forecast.  Will this evening equal yesterday’s in amazingness?  Not likely, but I’ll share if it does!

Here’s an animated gif of the storm just in case that works:

092916lightning

Tortolita Mountains Morning Clouds Time Lapse, July 25, 2016

Another beautiful morning in southern Oro Valley!  First, we started with this sunrise:

072516PPSunrise

Then I set up my phone to capture a time lapse of the clouds overlooking Oro Valley north to the Tortolita Mountains.  Here is the result:

Hopefully clearing skies will lead to scattered afternoon and evening storms.  I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos on how to capture lightning with my Sony a5100.  Maybe I’ll get a chance to try it tonight!

Happy Monday! Not an oxymoron. Not around here :-)

Back-to-School Bash Dust Storm

You may know that my “real” job is being the web and video guy for Teen Challenge of Arizona.  I love telling the stories of what God is doing through the ministry.  A week or so ago the Phoenix Men’s Center had it’s annual Back-to-School Bash.  This year we had a twist.  A Haboob hit shortly after the event started!  No one panicked.  No one left.  The volunteers and Men of the Center all pitched in to make sure everyone stayed safe, got fed and got backpacks full of school supplies.  Here’s Mike with more:

Amazing July Pusch Peak Sunrises!

I admit it.  I have one of the best apartment views on the planet.  Located in southern Oro Valley, Arizona I am directly across the street from Pusch Peak.  In addition my view north overlooks Oro Valley to the Tortolita Mountains.  In the summer the Sun sets far enough north that I catch wonderful sunsets too.

We are having an outstanding Monsoon so far this year and as a result there are enough clouds at sunrise to create an unusual number of outstanding Pusch Peak Sunrises (patent pending).  It is amazing to be able to sit on the deck enjoying my first cup of coffee listening to the birds waking up and watching God show off His sunrise making skills.  I think this is one of His favorite spots.  I know it’s mine!

I have typed too long already.  These shots don’t need commentary.  Without further adieu (whatever adieu is : ) here are this month’s amazing sunrises starting with this morning and working back to July 2nd.  A few more shots are available at my blog www.TonightsSunset.com/category/sunrise/  Enjoy!

July 31, 2012
July 31, 2012

 

July 30, 2012
July 30, 2012

 

July 29, 2012
July 29, 2012

 

July 26, 2012
July 26, 2012

 

July 25, 2012
July 25, 2012
July 24, 2012
July 24, 2012
July 21, 2012
July 21, 2012
July 20, 2012
July 20, 2012
July 11, 2012
July 11, 2012
July 7, 2012
July 7, 2012
July 6, 2012
July 6, 2012
July 5, 2012
July 5, 2012
July 2, 2012
July 2, 2012

High Wind and Blizzard Warning!

Ski Valley on Mt. Lemmon, February 2008
Ski Valley on Mt. Lemmon

A robust storm, as it were, is barreling toward Arizona and the effects across the area promise to be dramatic.  The headline is the strong wind.  A strong southerly jet stream is driving this strong storm and the combination will translate into very strong winds in the lower elevations and even stronger winds higher up.  Gusts to 55 mph by this afternoon will be likely in the Tucson area and gusts to near 70 mph are possible in the mountains.  That’s why the National Weather Service has issued a HIGH WIND WARNING  from 11 this morning until 2am Friday.

Tonight is when the main impact of the storm will be felt.  Normally winds will decrease at night because you lose the mixing of the atmosphere leaving the strongest winds above your head.  Tonight that may not be the case as scattered thunderstorms will have the capability of pulling some of those higher winds down to the surface.  It’s possible that the high winds won’t decrease tonight at all.

Last time we had winds this strong there was a fatal pileup on Interstate 10 near Casa Grande.  Thankfully we had some rain yesterday morning and again this morning.  I’m hoping that the rain we’ve had combined with what is coming will be enough to keep the dust down.  Still, caution should always be observed driving on the Interstate near those usual blowing dust areas.  Also high profile vehicles may have difficulty with this wind.  Definitely a two hands on the wheel kind of driving day.  It’s also going to be possible to see some damage from these winds.  Downed trees and stuff like that may occur in town.

Higher up, the winds will combine with a lot of snow.  That’s why the National Weather Service has issued a BLIZZARD WARNING above 7,000 feet for tonight and tomorrow morning.

Initially, the snow level will be around 8,000 feet.  Our last storm left a few inches of snow as low as 6,000 feet.  The rain combined with some melting snow could result in some flooding in mountain streams and perhaps downstream.  Otherwise, snow levels will drop below 7,000 tonight and 1 to 2 feet of new snow is possible in the mountains around Tucson combined with winds gusting as high as 70 mph.  The White Mountains could get as much as 4 feet of snow from this storm!

As far as rain amounts in the lower elevations, we are expecting generally 3/4 of an inch to an inch and a half with this system.  Some areas could exceed 2 inches if they get a thunderstorm or two.  This is great news!  We need the rain.  The snow pack will help us out too.

Snow in Tucson?

Well, maybe in the Foothills and out towards Vail.  After the cold front moves through tonight, temperatures will start to drop and so will the snow level.  It’s possible that by early Saturday morning there may be some snow showers right down to the valley floor!  Accumulating snow is expected above 4,000 feet, but it’s worth watching.  This will be the back side of the storm so we aren’t talking about a whole lot of snow, but it’s possible that Oracle, Tombstone, Sierra Vista, Benson, and some other places could pick up a few inches.  IF the snow level can manage to get down to the 2,500 foot level maybe we could finally see snow here at the apartment in Oro Valley.  It’s not likely, but when the possibility gets this close, I start holding out hope.

Bottom line to all this?  Enjoy the adventure but be careful out there!

Another much much weaker storm is headed our way early next week as the El Nino pattern is kicking in.  El Nino dried out or Monsoon last Summer, let’s hope we can now make up for it in the remaining months of Winter into early Spring.

Tucson Weather – Calm Before the Storm

Ski Valley getting ready after a big December storm in '07
Ski Valley getting ready after a big December storm in '07

Tucson Weather: Sunny today with a high near 65.  Partly cloudy tonight with a low near 38.  Mostly sunny on Sunday with a high near 64.

Great news from the National Weather Service.  Our typical December weather is fixin’ ta give way to valley rain and “significant mountain snow” by Monday night and Tuesday!  By significant, the National Weather Service office in Tucson is estimating 6-12 inches between 6,000 and 7,000 feet with snow totals 12-18 inches possible above 7,000.  Great news indeed if it comes true.  This might be enough to jump start the ski season at Ski Valley on the top of Mt. Lemmon.  If that doesn’t, then there is a chance for more “significant mountain snow” Thursday/Friday time frame.

Of course I am hopeful that Mt. Lemmon can get the maximum from each storm.  If that is the case, we could be looking at over 3 feet of snow up there by next weekend!  Even if there is less than a third of that, there will be plenty of snow to sled on and build snowmen with.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch above 6,000 feet for much of southeastern Arizona for Monday night and Tuesday.  That’s on top of this morning’s Freeze Warning that expires at 9am.

So, what is happening?  You can read about it in this morning’s Forecast Discussion from the National Weather Service.  (note:  the link will take you to the latest discussion, so if you click it this afternoon it will be an updated discussion.  If you click it next July you will read about heat and maybe Monsoon :-)

Currently, southeastern Arizona is on the western edge of a cold Canadian airmass.  Cold dry air is giving us freezing temperatures this morning.  The quiet weather this weekend will give way to a storm that is expected to drop south out of Canada along the California coast and into the Great Basin.  The trough of low pressure that forms will allow moisture, and an upper level low in the pacific, to be pulled into Arizona.  That should bring us this good chance of rain and mountain snow by Monday night.

After that, the jet stream becomes more “zonal” or east to west across Arizona.  That should bring us an unsettled weather week with another storm moving in perhaps as early as Thursday with more rain and snow!

I love El Nino Winters in the southwest.  Looks like the AccuWeather Winter forecast is on track.  At least so far!

Tucson Weather, 11/30/09 – Southern Route

2007 Snowman waits for rebirth
2007 Snowman waits for rebirth

Winter Weather Advisory for Tucson vicinity above 4,500 feet has been canceled.

I’m looking at the IR satellite loop this morning and the cut-off low over northern Mexico seems to be drifting south still.  At least to my eye.  Could be one reason why the National Weather Service is highlighting heavier snow for the mountains south of Tucson as opposed to the Catalina’s.  Like I mentioned last night, this storm seems to be taking the southern route.  Not as good for heavy snow for Mt. Lemmon and the Catalina’s.  The good news is, the low is going to take it’s time leaving the area, so we have a chance to see bands of showers, thunderstorms and mountain snow moving across Tucson and vicinity through tonight.

El Nino is being blaming for shutting off our Monsoon early this past Summer.  Perhaps now the Winter El Nino pattern is kicking in that would bring us more rain and mountain snow.  That would make me very happy :-)

Tucson Forecast:

Mostly cloudy today with scattered showers.  High near 58.  Tonight becoming partly cloudy and a low near 36.  Mostly sunny on Tuesday with a high near 62.