Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lightning, Rain & Dust...Oh My!

SPC even gave us a Mesoscale Discussion, woohoo we're on the board! The night (last night, August 21st 2010) became more and more convective with storms rolling through the Phoenix CWA. Storms fired off early down near Tucson and a few up West of Flagstaff and then by 5:30pm local storms began to fire on the Northeast end of the Phoenix Metro area, up near Punkin Center. Some cells began to back build and came a bit farther Southwest towards Scottsdale and then an outflow pushed through. Just after these storms began to show their face, some rather fast moving storms came from the Southeast near Tucson. They were meandering their way up North along I-10. I thought for sure we'd have a dust storm coming our way, as I'm still learning what factors play into dust storm criteria. Before I knew it, we were issuing a dust storm warning and the reports began to come in with visibilities in the 1.25 - 2 mile range. Not bad, being at night time.

From here on out the storms just moved right in like they knew it was Monsoon season! The storms from the North kind of piddled out, but the outflows moved Southwest and collided with an outflow moving Northwest ahead of the storms coming from the south. The two outflows collided near Mesa. Winds picked up and some storms popped up just after the collision. The original outflow coming from the South was fairly ahead of the storm development. Along with very little to no lightning, it was decided that this warranted a dust storm warning. I'm still learning the criteria for dust storms, but with little to no lightning means little to no convection and when you can't use a visible satellite image at night and the wind speeds are quite fast and ahead of the initial storm development, that is prime ingredients for a dust storm. Throughout the rest of the evening until nearly midnight the storms came and dumped and moved and dumped and finally fizzled out. Areas of the far Southeast valley got rainfall amounts upwards of an inch, over an inch in some areas in just a short amount of time. The remainder of the night brough light rains and cool conditions. I believe the airport was down to 80 degrees last night at 11pm. Pretty cool! (Pun intended).
Right about where the word Tempe is, is where we live. You can see much of the Southeast valley got quite the rain!

Just some of the short term forecasts I got to issue last night. It was a steady and busy night. I thought it was so cool when all of a sudden around 9:15pm as my workstation faces South towards the windows in our office that the sky lit up by a few lightning strikes here and there. Couldn't see the actual strikes, but the sky was lighting up. I even made a remark to the people here "I can see lightning from the windows" and I think they thought I was crazy, maybe having not ever seen lightning before. Well, not here! And not this close.

Have I mentioned lately that I'm a weather geek and get excited about the little things just a little?!

Happy Weather Hunting to all :)

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