Stu

Mar 032015
 

Clearing and warming are on the horizon for Northern Arizona. The next two mornings will be in the teens, but we will be back to the 50s for highs by the weekend. A few showers may linger around the area today. Currently, there are no storms in the forecasts for the next week.

The storm totals are here. This was a whopper storm for the region. The Flagstaff Airport received over 4 inches of water. Yesterday was a record at 1.71 inches.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT 
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ
 700 PM MST MON MAR 2 2015
 
 ...SNOW AND RAIN REPORTS ACROSS CENTRAL AND NORTHERN AZ...
 
 A MULTI-DAY EVENT BROUGHT SIGNIFICANT RAIN AND SNOW 
 ACCUMULATIONS ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN ARIZONA.
 THE SNOWFALL TOTALS BELOW ARE FROM MONDAY ONLY. THE 
 LIQUID EQUIVALENT ACCUMULATIONS ARE FOR THE ENTIRE DURATION
 OF THE EVENT...LASTING FROM FRIDAY THROUGH MONDAY EVENING.
 
 
 ***************STORM TOTAL LIQUID EQUIVALENT****************
 
 LOCATION          STORM TOTAL     TIME/DATE   COMMENTS                   
                      RAINFALL           OF 
                      /INCHES/   MEASUREMENT
 
 ARIZONA
 
 ...APACHE COUNTY...
    WINDOW ROCK           0.82   622 PM  3/02                           
 
 ...COCONINO COUNTY...
    FLAGSTAFF AIRPORT     4.09   600 PM  3/02                           
    KACHINA VILLAGE       3.49   645 PM  3/02                           
    HAPPY JACK            3.14   630 PM  3/02                           
    BLUE RIDGE            2.74   630 PM  3/02                           
    MORMON LAKE           2.32   625 PM  3/02                           
    GUNSIGHT (RAWS)       1.89   609 PM  3/02                           
    FRAZIERS WELL         1.66   611 PM  3/02                           
    TUSAYAN               1.53   610 PM  3/02                           
    GRAND CANYON AIRPORT  1.45   600 PM  3/02                           
    PARIA POINT (RAWS)    1.41   607 PM  3/02     
    PAGE AIRPORT          1.22   608 PM  3/02                           
    WUPATKI RAWS          1.11   625 PM  3/02
 Posted by at 7:03 am
Mar 022015
 

We received almost 2 inches of water yesterday. I’m surprised this wasn’t a record. It would have been a record on the day before or after. I think another inch could arrive today. I don’t think we will add much to the snowfall totals in Flagstaff. But if the temperatures are low enough, we could.

The winter storm warning is in effect. Radar shows a slow northward churning cold from to the west. It should arrive later this morning with plenty of water.

...THE FLAGSTAFF AZ AIRPORT CLIMATE SUMMARY FOR MARCH 1 2015...

CLIMATE NORMAL PERIOD 1981 TO 2010
CLIMATE RECORD PERIOD 1898 TO 2015


WEATHER ITEM   OBSERVED TIME   RECORD YEAR NORMAL DEPARTURE LAST
                VALUE   (LST)  VALUE       VALUE  FROM      YEAR
                                                  NORMAL
..................................................................
TEMPERATURE (F)
 YESTERDAY
  MAXIMUM         40   1137 PM  67    2009  47     -7       43
  MINIMUM         32   1041 AM -10    1997  21     11       32
  AVERAGE         36                        34      2

PRECIPITATION (IN)
  YESTERDAY        1.98          2.81 1970   0.08   1.90     1.09
  MONTH TO DATE    1.98                      0.08   1.90     1.09
  SINCE SEP 1     14.12                     11.96   2.16     8.80
  SINCE JAN 1      6.29                      4.29   2.00     1.69

SNOWFALL (IN)
  YESTERDAY        8.0          26.0  1970   0.7             0.7
  MONTH TO DATE    8.0                       0.7             0.7
  SINCE JUL 1     46.9                      73.9            34.2
  SNOW DEPTH       4
 Posted by at 6:46 am
Mar 012015
 

What a heavy wet mess, again. That’s twice in a week that a slush storm has wandered through Northern Arizona. More, a lot more, is on the way for Monday. See the Winter Storm Advisory from the National Weather Service in Flagstaff below.

I’m not sure about the temperature drop they are predicting. We may end up with another day like today. As always, a degree or two can make a huge difference between snow and rain amounts. Hope you have some nice boots!

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ
656 PM MST SUN MAR 1 2015

AZZ015-021000-
/O.CON.KFGZ.WS.W.0003.150302T1200Z-150303T0200Z/
WESTERN MOGOLLON RIM-
INCLUDING THE CITY OF...FLAGSTAFF
656 PM MST SUN MAR 1 2015

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM TO 7 PM MST
MONDAY ABOVE 6000 FEET...

* TIMING...SNOW IS FORECAST TO INCREASE MONDAY MORNING AROUND
  COMMUTE TIME AND CONTINUE...HEAVY AT TIMES...THROUGH EARLY
  MONDAY EVENING.

* GENERAL EVENT TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...8 TO 15 INCHES ABOVE
  6000 FEET ELEVATION WITH 2 TO 3 FEET ABOVE 8500 FEET. SEE
  DETAILS BELOW OR CONSULT POINT SPECIFIC FORECAST AT:
  WEATHER.GOV/FLAGSTAFF.

* SNOWFALL FORECAST FROM 5 AM MST MONDAY UNTIL 7 PM MST MONDAY...

     DONEY PARK  4 TO 8  INCHES       FLAGSTAFF  6 TO 10 INCHES
       WILLIAMS  6 TO 10 INCHES

* OTHER IMPACTS...SNOW COVERED ROADS WILL CREATE DIFFICULT
  DRIVING CONDITIONS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED OR OCCURRING...DUE TO SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW AND
STRONG WINDS PRODUCING LIMITED VISIBILITIES.

DRIVING WILL BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS DURING THIS STORM. FOR THE
LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS AND CLOSURES...CALL THE ADOT FREEWAY
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AT 1 888 411 7623 OR VISIT THEIR WEB SITE AT
WWW.AZ511.COM.

ADDITIONAL WEATHER INFORMATION IS ON THE WEB AT
WWW.WEATHER.GOV/FLAGSTAFF.
 Posted by at 7:28 pm
Feb 262015
 

Snow flurries are starting to fall this afternoon. They are a harbinger of a huge amount of water on the way. The current outlook is for rain tomorrow (Friday). Then snow through at least next Wednesday. Make your preparations now! Travel may be very difficult for the next week in the Northland. The outlook below from Wunderground has 19-30 inches of snow over the next week.

10-day weather outlook graphic from wunderground.com

10-day weather outlook graphic for Flagstaff, AZ from wunderground.com

The 3.5 and 7-day outlooks from the NAM and GFS models, respectively, match the wunderground outlook. The 3.5-day outlook has us in the 2 inch and above range. The 7-day outlook has us in the 3+ inch of water range. Stand by for warnings to be posted.

3.5 day total precipitation outlook from NOAA's NAM model.

3.5-day total precipitation outlook from NOAA’s NAM model.

Total 7-day precipitation outlook from NOAA's GFS Model

Total 7-day precipitation outlook from NOAA’s GFS Model.

 Posted by at 4:11 pm
Feb 232015
 

I kept thinking this storm, and the one in the forecast for later in the week, would be have a similar story to the other ones this year. Their either wouldn’t materialize, or pass us by to the north. Even yesterday as things were getting started, a bypass to the north seemed reasonable. I thought we would have consistent weather patterns, at least until March. As Emerson said:

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

So, it seems I missed this snow event.¬† It’s 33 degrees outside now. The dew point has bobbed around 32. The sun will come up soon and temperatures should drift slowly but surely above freezing. The National Weather Service is calling for up to 11 inches of snow in Flagstaff. There could very well be 11 inches by tomorrow morning. But, the ground is fairly warm, and the air temperatures are two. This will be a very wet, heavy snow.

I’m doubtful that we will see 11 inches in most places.

The other end of the week has a storm for us too. The storm door may finally open for us.

 Posted by at 6:36 am
Feb 102015
 

It looks like another round of wet weather may head to Arizona for the last two weeks of the month. Funny thing, the GFS and NoGaps models had a pair of sizable storms hitting. As soon as the Climate Prediction Center published the image below, the models started to weaken the strength of the storms. We will see.

It doesn’t look like our warm temperatures will subside and quicker than it will stop snowing in New England.

8-14 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center, GFS Model. 9 February 2015

8-14 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center, GFS Model. 9 February 2015

 

 Posted by at 5:51 am
Feb 082015
 

(UPDATE at bottom)

Ever wondered how much rain fell at your house during monsoon season? In Arizona its a regular concern. Do I need to water, or turn-off the sprinkler system? Monsoonal thunderstorms can flood a narrow tract of land, and completely leave everything else untouched. I would come home from work and my grass would be wet. Still, I would have no clue if I got a trace or an inch of rain.

Ever wondered why there is frost on everyone’s car, but not yours, or vice versa? Because of our aggressive terrain, over night temperatures can vary considerably. Bellemont is routinely very much colder because of its location. I live in Switzer Canyon. It often has a slightly different set of weather conditions compared to the Flagstaff Airport. Some days, I swear they keep the airport weather station in a locker, or shed, or oven or refrigerator.

A friend of mine, LG from Cal Poly, introduced me to Wunderground.com. On Wunderground, I learned about Personal Weather Stations (PWS). Quickly, I was hooked! Many of you may not understand, but these PWSs are cool, gadgets. Not only can you see your very local weather, but you can share it via the Internet and places like Wundergound with others. Very cool! Very connected!

I don’t want to get into all the choices you can make on a PWS. But, there are some key features depending on how you want to use it. I relied on my friends at Ambient Weather for details to select my system. I had two key drivers in the end. First, it had to be capable of operating at 7000 feet, the approximate altitude of my house. Second, it had to be reasonably priced.

I selected a Oregon Scientific system. It was quite easy to set up and easily pair with software from Ambient Weather. It was a great starter system. Over the years, I have had to often replace pieces of the system, but in general it has provided good service. Oregon Scientific systems continue to be very compatible with various software.

I have also had experience with Davis, Acurite and Ambient Weather brands at this point. I doubt I will ever buy and Oregon Scientific station again. Their stuff is made in China and I believe¬† their quality has declined. It’s just too expensive to keep one online. Davis is very advanced and pricey, but damn good. Acurite is becoming the gold standard for entry-level, backyard systems. Ed at Ambient Weather brings his personal passion to bear and brings innovative designs on a regular basis. I used Ambient Weather equipment to trouble shoot my engine problems on my boat last summer. Simply great!

This last week, my Oregon Scientific bit the final bullet and is permanently gone from my roof. What to do now? More on that later.

It looks like we have a very wet pattern over the horizon. Winter might show up for late February and March.

UPDATE: Below is the 10-day total precipitation forecast from the GFS Model. I think Flagstaff is in the 2+ inch zone.

10-day total precipitation forecast from the GFS computer model.

10-day total precipitation forecast from the GFS computer model.

 

 Posted by at 7:10 am
Jan 212015
 

More and more, people ask me this question. The answer has several parts. While one event stands out, there are other contributing factors. Many of the reasons for starting this blog are personal. Let’s go back to the spring of 1999.

Saturday, March 27, 1999 was a beautiful day. Sunny, light winds and warm temperatures led me to work outside all day. The week before had been just as beautiful. The forecast was for it to continue. It was so nice and warm, my family planned to go to Lake Powell the following weekend, very early in the season.

On Wednesday evening of that week, we purchased a used Ford Bronco. The forecast was still for continued beautiful weather. As we signed the documents, it started to snow. There had been no snow in the forecast. Yet, there is was. Thursday brought 8-12 inches of snow for many locations. It snowed several more inches on Friday. Again, it snowed on Saturday. We got another 8 or so inches on Sunday. As the skies cleared, the temperatures dropped to the single digits in many local areas. This had been a severe and completely unexpected winter storm.

This storm perplexed me. How, in our modern age, was it possible for the experts to have missed such a whopper storm? We had supercomputers running forecast models to project the future weather. Supercomputers! These were the same computers that calculated high-resolution models of nuclear explosions. How could they miss?

I thought I would start to record my thoughts in a blog. I started writing my thoughts down on an AOL blog. That blog and those ramblings are long gone. That effort was more of a notepad. I shared blog with just a couple of people who knew I was watching and thinking about the weather. I’m not sure exactly when I started that blog. Over the years, I enjoyed hearing from people who were reading the AOL based-blog because someone else shared it with them.

End of part 1.

************

Next week looks particularly disturbed. The forecasts are pointing to a storm later in the week. But, the computer models point to an early week storm. Standby, it could be a big one. Today we have light snow and rain for the morning.

 Posted by at 6:09 am
Dec 312014
 

If you look back to my post from yesterday, it did not include waking up to over an inch of snow. So, the storm got a bit of an earlier start. The middle of the day will probably bring us heavy snow. It’s too early to tell how long it will last.

The earlier start should make it easier to hit the deeper snowfall forecasts. The storm formed over the San Diego and Los Angeles area yesterday night. I think this allowed it to draw moisture up from the south sooner than I expected, and sooner than many of the computer model runs allowed. Even yesterday afternoon, the computer models showed the storm forming more to the east, with less precipitation for Flagstaff

The National Weather Service has increased their snowfall forecast(below) in their Winter Storm Warning to 9-15 inches. Wunderground has increased their forecast to 8-12 inches. AccuWeather is forecasting about 9-10 inches. We are in for a big storm. This morning’s radar shows a large band of moisture moving our way.

* SNOWFALL FORECAST FROM 4 AM MST TODAY UNTIL 5 PM MST
  THURSDAY...

     CAMP VERDE  1 TO 2  INCHES    CHINO VALLEY  4 TO 8  INCHES
       CONGRESS  1 TO 2  INCHES      COTTONWOOD  1 TO 3  INCHES
         DILKON  4 TO 6  INCHES      DONEY PARK  8 TO 12 INCHES
      FLAGSTAFF  9 TO 15 INCHES    FOREST LAKES 13 TO 19 INCHES
HEBER-OVERGAARD  6 TO 10 INCHES        HOLBROOK  2 TO 4  INCHES
     KYKOTSMOVI  4 TO 8  INCHES         PAULDEN  4 TO 8  INCHES
         PAYSON  5 TO 9  INCHES PINE-STRAWBERRY  8 TO 12 INCHES
PRESCOTT VALLEY  4 TO 8  INCHES        PRESCOTT  6 TO 10 INCHES
         SEDONA  4 TO 6  INCHES        SELIGMAN  8 TO 12 INCHES
         SHONTO 10 TO 16 INCHES SNOWFLAKE-TAYLR  2 TO 4  INCHES
      TUBA CITY  4 TO 7  INCHES        WILLIAMS 10 TO 16 INCHES
        WINSLOW  1 TO 3  INCHES
 Posted by at 6:09 am
Dec 302014
 

There is a winter storm warning posted for Flagstaff. It is below. But, what if it didn’t come together as promised. Is that even possible? The National Weather Service has the following forecast for downtown Flagstaff:

nwsforecastIf you add up the snowfall amounts from Wednesday to Thursday, the totals come to 7-14 inches. This is in the 1 inch of water range. I think this could happen and that it is important for the National Weather Service to project it. They are responsible for helping us prepare for bad weather. Hats off to them for being very active in the social media about this storm.

The problem is that this storm is heavily dependent on timing. The low pressure system needs to develop over Arizona at the same time that a burst of moisture makes its way up to Arizona from the tropics. After watching the computer models over the last few days, I am very tempted to side with AccuWeather‘s slightly lower forecast of 5-12 inches or even Wunderground‘s lower forecast of 5-8 inches. Most of the models are heading in the 3/4’s of an inch of water range which fits the lower predictions. Still, I am concerned that everything will come together, but over Eastern Arizona, not Central Arizona.

I recommend taking this storm seriously. It could be our biggest one for the season.

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ
523 AM MST TUE DEC 30 2014

AZZ004>009-015-016-018-037-038-302230-
/O.NEW.KFGZ.WS.W.0001.141231T1200Z-150102T0000Z/
KAIBAB PLATEAU-MARBLE AND GLEN CANYONS-GRAND CANYON COUNTRY-
COCONINO PLATEAU-YAVAPAI COUNTY MOUNTAINS-
NORTHEAST PLATEAUS AND MESAS HWY 264 NORTHWARD-
WESTERN MOGOLLON RIM-EASTERN MOGOLLON RIM-NORTHERN GILA COUNTY-
YAVAPAI COUNTY VALLEYS AND BASINS-OAK CREEK AND SYCAMORE CANYONS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...FREDONIA...PAGE...
GRAND CANYON VILLAGE...SUPAI...PRESCOTT...FLAGSTAFF...PAYSON...
SEDONA
523 AM MST TUE DEC 30 2014

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM WEDNESDAY TO 5 PM MST
THURSDAY FOR NORTHWEST ARIZONA ABOVE 3500 FEET ELEVATION...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN FLAGSTAFF HAS ISSUED A WINTER
STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM
WEDNESDAY TO 5 PM MST THURSDAY.

* TIMING...WIDESPREAD SNOW WILL INCREASE FROM WEST TO EAST
  ON WEDNESDAY. THE HEAVIEST SNOW IS EXPECTED TO FALL FROM
  MID MORNING WEDNESDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT...TAPERING OFF
  TO SHOWERS ON THURSDAY.

* GENERAL EVENT TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...6-14 INCHES ARE
  EXPECTED AT ELEVATIONS ABOVE 5000 FEET IN THE WARNED
  AREA...WITH 2-6 INCHES BELOW 5000 FEET.

* SNOWFALL FORECAST FROM 5 AM MST WEDNESDAY UNTIL 5 PM MST
  THURSDAY...

   CHINO VALLEY  4 TO 6  INCHES      COTTONWOOD  1 TO 3  INCHES
     DONEY PARK  7 TO 11 INCHES       FLAGSTAFF  9 TO 13 INCHES
   FOREST LAKES 13 TO 19 INCHES        FREDONIA  4 TO 8  INCHES
   GRAND CANYON  9 TO 13 INCHES HEBER-OVERGAARD  6 TO 10 INCHES
     JACOB LAKE  9 TO 15 INCHES            PAGE  4 TO 6  INCHES
        PAULDEN  4 TO 6  INCHES          PAYSON  5 TO 9  INCHES
PINE-STRAWBERRY  8 TO 12 INCHES PRESCOTT VALLEY  4 TO 8  INCHES
       PRESCOTT  4 TO 8  INCHES          SEDONA  3 TO 6  INCHES
       SELIGMAN  5 TO 9  INCHES           VALLE  6 TO 10 INCHES
       WILLIAMS  9 TO 15 INCHES

* OTHER IMPACTS...THIS IS A COLD SYSTEM...AND SNOW WILL FALL TO
  THE VALLEY FLOORS BY THURSDAY MORNING. BE PREPARED FOR HAZARDOUS
  WINTER DRIVING CONDITIONS ON ALL ROADS IN NORTHERN ARIZONA
  DURING THIS EVENT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED OR OCCURRING...DUE TO SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW AND
STRONG WINDS PRODUCING LIMITED VISIBILITIES.

DRIVING WILL BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS DURING THIS STORM. FOR THE
LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS AND CLOSURES...CALL THE ADOT FREEWAY
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AT 1 888 411 7623 OR VISIT THEIR WEB SITE AT
WWW.AZ511.COM.

ADDITIONAL WEATHER INFORMATION IS ON THE WEB AT
WWW.WEATHER.GOV/FLAGSTAFF.
 Posted by at 6:43 am
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