Tag Archives: Rain

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:


Weather, Man!

Mt. Hood, December 1998ish?
Mt. Hood, December 1998ish?

Man do I love weather.  It has been a passion and an obsession since I can remember.  It truly is how God made me.  Of course I have a very strong political and “religious” bent too.  I joke that my favorite subjects to discuss are politics and religion and that’s why God gave me such a passion for weather.  So I can relate to people with without offending them.  :-)

My weather fascination started very early.  My folks tell me that I was always talking about it even as a very young child.  I have early memories of unusual weather events when I was a wee lad in Los Angeles.  Severe Thunderstorms one afternoon and ice in the puddles at school one morning.  I was born in L.A. but we moved to Oregon when I was 8.

Growing up in Oregon was great for a weather freak like me.  Numerous storms coming off the ocean and in the 70s that meant lots of surprises in the actual weather compared to the forecast.  Fluctuating snow levels in the Cascades, east winds into Portland combining with overrunning warm air bringing epic ice storms, but not to our house :-( and I could go on about the different weather phenomenon I got to witness first hand.

I had the TV weather down.  KOIN would have the weather on first so I would watch that.  Then I’d switch over to KGW and catch most of their forecast.  Then it was over to KATU to watch the tail end of their weather.  This was especially important on the rare nights when the snow level had a chance to come down to the Willamette Valley Floor.  I remember many a frustrating evening watching it rain while I would stare at the thermometer stuck at 36 degrees trying to will it to come down.

So obviously I was going to go to school to study Meteorology.  I had it all planned out.  Go to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and get a BS in Meteorology and minor in Communications.  They had a TV station on campus.  I had a great score on my ACT and was even accepted into their advanced math program.  I was set.  One big problem.  My drug problem.  I still had some growing up to do and I blew my chance to go to school.

KCBQ 1997ish
KCBQ 1997ish

The story doesn’t end there however!  I ended up moving to Roswell, NM a few years later.  At 21 years old I took what I could carry and bought a bus ticket and started re-pursuing my dream to be on Radio and TV.  Math and Science were always my favorite subjects in school so naturally I went into broadcasting.

I got a part time radio gig in the early Summer of 1984.  That turned into a full time radio gig.  First overnights and then evenings and then Music Director.  After two years I jumped over to TV as a Master Control Operator, directing news cut-ins and also voicing, shooting and editing commercials.  From there it was into the News Department at another station as a news photog, then a reporter who shot his own stuff and also backing up the weatherman and then finally the weatherman!

Adrienne & Mike in the Morning
Adrienne & Mike in the Morning

Lots of detail left out in the above story, but God helped make a way for me when I had messed up and didn’t choose the easier way.  After another 8 or 9 years on the morning show in Lubbock, Texas as a weatherman, news anchor and feature reporter my life took another turn.  Through it all I have never ever never stopped loving and studying the weather.

Now here I am in Tucson, Arizona.  I have a web site and morning weather web show dedicated to my weather passion.  I just can’t help but share whether the audience is big or small.  When you have a chance, check out the site.  TucsonWeather.us and tune in to “Coffee and a Forecast” every morning (yes, weekends too) at 5:50 Tucson time for the live recording.  Or you can just catch up with it later when I post it on the site and in the Facebook group Tucson Weather.

Whether it is mud in the Pacific Northwest, Baseball sized hail in Lubbock, or Monsoon storms with amazing lightning in Tucson, I love weather.  I especially love snow and cold!  But that is another blog entry (or two).

Of course I have other passions and other web sites that support those.  There is also a lot of detail left out of the above story.  All fodder for future blog entries.  I better post this and get to work.  “Coffee and a Forecast” airs in less then an hour. :-)

Catalina Mountain Snow Pics

It snowed overnight as advertised.  Just rain at the apartment.  .70″ is a nice rain overnight!  Above 4,000 feet that fell as snow.  That means the snow was pretty low on the mountains today.  I had to work this morning, so these pictures were taken in the early afternoon and the snow hadn’t retreated all that much.  Most of these pictures were taken at the trailhead to hike to Finger Rock located at the top of Alvernon in Tucson.  Be sure and click on the pics for full size versions.

Snow from central Tucson Driving North on Swan
Still driving north on Swan Finger Rock
Finger Rock Catalina Snow
Finger Rock and Saguaro Just a short hike away!
Downtown Tucson from the top of Alvernon Looking down Alvernon
Nice house overlooking Tucson Looking toward the Tucson Mountains

Rainfall Totals and Counting. UPDATE: Totals from Rainlog.org

Thanx to KOLD’s Meteorologist Erin Jordan for the totals.  You can read them here.

Erin also reports that Tucson’s official rain gauge had 1.05″ of rain since midnight (still have all day to go!) shattering the old record of .60″  It’s now the 7th wettest January on record.

Other rainfall amounts range from 1 to 3 inches in the Catalina’s, generally and inch around town.  Looks like we had about an inch and a third near the apartment!

UPDATE: Here are the totals from Rainlog.org for the Tucson area.  I believe these numbers reflect the last 24 hours ending at 7:00 this morning.  Click on the pic for the interactive map.  Looks like I had just under an inch here near the apartment.

01/21/10 Tucson Rain Totals
Most of the rain fell after midnight on the 22nd.

Snow in Tucson?

December 28, 2006
How low will it go?

It could happen by tomorrow morning.  The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch above 4,000 feet for this evening through 11am tomorrow.  Here’s what’s happening.

A cold front blew through last night with some moderate to heavy rainfall lasting through the night.  We are now on the cold, unsettled side of the storm.  Today’s forecast is for much cooler with the rain showery in nature.  Cold air has moved in aloft, so especially this afternoon when we get a little bit of heating (yes, we get some heating even on a cloudy day) the atmosphere will be pretty unstable.  That means the possibility of some thunderstorms forming.  With such cold temperatures above our heads, it won’t take much for some of those storms to drop small hail.  The winds aren’t as strong as yesterday, and they aren’t as warm.  Yesterday it was south winds gusting to 60+.  Today it’s southwesterly winds gusting to 30ish.

Then there’s tonight.  Another weaker storm is on the heals of the one exiting right now.  It is coming straight down from the Gulf of Alaska.  It’s a cold system that will drop snow levels to 3,500 feet by morning and probably lower at times.  The storm is moving through at night and in the morning hours, so that increases the chances of very low snow levels.  The National Weather Service isn’t putting snow depths on it yet, but there is a chance of some good snows in towns south and east of Tucson such as Tombstone, Sierra Vista, Benson, Wilcox and of course Oracle.

Here’s the fun part.  This storm could also bring some convective activity with it.  In other words, some thunder is possible.  Any thunder activity would drag colder air aloft down to lower elevations causing snow levels to drop.  Even without thundersnow, it will be possible to see snow falling in the Tucson Metro area and possibly sticking in places like Catalina,  Oro Valley, Vail and the Foothills.

We will know more by tomorrow morning.

What a Storm!

December 2008 Rain
Rainy Day at the Feeder in ’08

and we ain’t done yet. I don’t have time this morning to track down all of the exact amounts and wind reports, so I will just do the best I can off the top of my head.

The storm was intense yesterday. Wind gusts were reported 73 mph and the University of Arizona, 86 mph on Mt. Lemmon, 93 mh in Ajo, I think it was. The Tucson Airport was reporting gusts generally in the low 40s mph range yesterday. There was some damage around town. I saw video this morning on KOLD of a carport shredded at an apartment complex on Mona Lisa near Ina Road.

Other wind damage reports include closed schools today on the Tahono O’dom reservation due to power outages. There were also spotty power outages around Tucson. Two semi’s were blown over on I-10 near Eloy.

With the storm came a lot of rain, flooding and severe weather. In the Phoenix area there were at least two water rescues that I heard about. There was also a report of a tornado in Scottsdale, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet that I know of. Flagstaff already had a lot of snow on the ground. Then it started raining, then it turned into snow being measured in feet. It’s still snowing up there and roads are closed all over the northern part of the state. Residents and business owners in Flagstaff were being encouraged to clear their roofs to prevent collapse.

I went to the movies last night.  Saw “Book of Eli.”  I really enjoyed the movie!  Anyway, on my drive home about 9:30 as my car was being buffeted by the wind and there was a little rain, I was thinking, “This is a lot like an Oregon Coast Storm without the rain.”  It makes sense since it was a pacific storm.  There have been many times in Oregon when there have been 60 mph gusts with driving rain, not too cold out, and spotty power outages, etc.

Today’s forecast is much cooler with showers and maybe some thunderstorms. Snow levels are dropping. I’ll address that in my next post that I’m gonna start here in just a minute or two.