Jul 072014
 

To kickoff the monsoon season in fine form, the Flagstaff Airport received a record-breaking 1.89 inches of rain on July 4, 2014. I didn’t see it reported in the Arizona Daily Sun’s website.

RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF, AZ
1239 AM MST SAT JUL 05 2014

...RECORD DAILY MAXIMUM RAINFALL SET AT FLAGSTAFF AZ AIRPORT...

 A RECORD RAINFALL OF 1.89 INCH(ES) WAS SET AT FLAGSTAFF AZ AIRPORT
YESTERDAY. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF 1.85 SET IN 1986.

More is on the way. Considering that the airport’s normal is 2.61 inches, rainfall for this month should not find it terribly hard to hit normal. There are some dry time periods over the horizon. Also, not everyplace received that much rain. Here is the rain totals for the month so far as independently reported to Rainlog.org at the University of Arizona. The monsoon season has had a healthy start.

Month to date rainfall for the Flagstaff area. July 7, 2014. (Source rainlog.org

Month to date rainfall for the Flagstaff area. July 7, 2014. (Source rainlog.org)

 Posted by at 6:40 am
Dec 102013
 

The average temperature for yesterday was 24 degrees F below normal. The low of -9 degrees F a the airport edged out the previous low of -8F. This morning it looks like we blew through the previous record of -5F and hit rock bottom at -9 again. I think both previous records were from 1951. Wow, that’s cold, especially for early December.

But, some parts of the world get much colder. Antarctica, which is moving into summer, is unbelievably cold. A review of the satellite temperature data shows that the world’s lowest temperature was set in August of 2010 at -135.8F. In July of this year, it came very close to a new record at 135.3 degrees F below zero.

So far this month, Flagstaff is just more that 7 degrees below average. It should warm up for the next week or so. There is a small chance of rain or snow on Thursday. I think the storm will effect eastern and southeastern parts of the state. Hopefully, we will be above freezing.

 Posted by at 6:31 am
Jun 292013
 

Our all-time record high is 97 degrees. Yesterday’s record of 96 for Flagstaff missed the record. Now, the forecast show Flagstaff being cooler than that over the next few days. This is due to the arrival of some monsoonal moisture which has brought clouds and thunder. Here are yesterday’s records.

 ...RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES FOR NORTHERN ARIZONA ON JUN 28 2013...

 CITY (PERIOD OF RECORD)            NEW HIGH      PREVIOUS RECORD/YEAR
 COTTONWOOD-TUZIGOOT (1977 - 2013)     114          110        IN  1994
 FLAGSTAFF (1899 - 2013)                96          94         IN  1990
 GRAND CANYON NP N RIM (1925 - 2013)    89          88         IN  1950
 PAGE (1997 - 2013)                    109          103        IN  2011
 PETRIFIED FOREST (1931 - 2013)        103          103 (TIED) IN  1990
 PRESCOTT (1898 - 2013)                104          102        IN  1900
 PRESCOTT AIRPORT (1948 - 2013)        104          100        IN  1990
 SELIGMAN (1905 - 2013)                105          103        IN  1970
 WINSLOW (1899 - 2013)                 107          104        IN  1973

If you haven’t visited the National Weather Service’s Monsoon Tracking site from Tucson, I think it is worth a look. Here is the Flagstaff dew point chart. Notice the boost the dewpoint temperature got yesterday. That dewpoint temperature boost turned the temperatures around as clouds formed. The outlook is for the monsoon to steadily build.

Flagstaff dewpoint graph from the NWS Monsoon tracking site

Flagstaff dewpoint graph from the NWS Monsoon tracking site

 Posted by at 7:04 am
Aug 182012
 

Or is it just a monsoon season? When the National Weather Service publishes graphs like the one below, it makes me wonder about the quality and site of their Flagstaff equipment. In reality, I think this is just the character of monsoon seasons.

Monsoon Precipitation from the National Weather Service. August 17, 2012

Monsoon Precipitation from the National Weather Service. August 17, 2012

Flagstaff Airport is just below normal for the season. A few sites in Northern Arizona, like Walnut Canyon, are well above normal. As I have mentioned in the past, I report my rainfall totals to two sites. The University of Arizona operates Rainlog. NOAA runs CoCoRaHS . Rainlog is easier for most people to use because of the required resolution is lower than CoCoRaHS. Also, I like Rainlog’s map feature.

Here is a map of the Flagstaff area with rainfall totals from 6-15-2012 until 8-17-2012 from Rainlog. At least one site appears to have not been reporting all summer. It is right next to my site, on the map. Others may have missed data, but by and large, the people who record their data are diligent about it.

Total rainfall reported on rainlog for 6-15-2012 to 8-17-2012

Total rainfall reported on Rainlog for 6-15-2012 to 8-17-2012

Many locations have reported 5 inches or more. I have reported almost 6 inches in the middle of town. There is string of stations from Kachina Village up to University Heights, including the Airport, which are around 3.5 inches. This is just how monsoons go. The Rainlog map is fun. You can look around Northern Arizona and see how the rest of the state is doing.

It could all change with the next storm. If you want to know what is happening in your neighborhood, you can buy an official CoCoRaHS rain gauge and report your precipitation to both websites. Rainlog also sells a rain gauge, but I am not sure if the resolution is high enough for the CoCoRaHS standard.

 

 

 Posted by at 5:46 am
Dec 032011
 

It blows me away when we have record-breaking 6 inch snow falls, in December, in Flagstaff. That’s what happened on Thursday. I’m not sure what the old record was, but I think I remember seeing about 4.5 inches. The record below is goofy because it reports a record in 2011, but always says the snowfall data is missing. Most of us can probably remember digging out of bigger snowfalls in late  November and early December. This shows how short our climate record really is. We don’t have a good sense for what our boundaries truly are.

...THE FLAGSTAFF AZ AIRPORT CLIMATE SUMMARY FOR DECEMBER 1 2011...
CLIMATE NORMAL PERIOD 1981 TO 2010
CLIMATE RECORD PERIOD 1898 TO 2011
WEATHER ITEM   OBSERVED TIME   RECORD YEAR NORMAL DEPARTURE LAST
                VALUE   (LST)  VALUE       VALUE  FROM      YEAR
                                                  NORMAL
..................................................................
TEMPERATURE (F)
 YESTERDAY
  MAXIMUM         36   1015 AM  66    2008  45     -9       57
  MINIMUM         19            -7    1905  19      0       12
  AVERAGE         28

PRECIPITATION (IN)
  YESTERDAY        0.42          1.38 2007   0.05   0.37     0.00
  MONTH TO DATE    0.42                      0.05   0.37     0.00
  SINCE SEP 1      7.59                      5.85   1.74     5.51
  SINCE JAN 1     18.93                     20.04  -1.11    24.49

SNOWFALL (IN)
  YESTERDAY       MM             6.0  2011   0.5             0.0
  MONTH TO DATE   MM                         0.5             0.0
  SINCE SEP 1     12.5                      12.3             8.1
  SINCE JUL 1     12.5                      12.3             8.1
  SNOW DEPTH       0
 Posted by at 6:20 am
Sep 262011
 

The storm on September 14, 2011, two days after our significant hail event in Flagstaff, brought a tornado to the Peaks. Here is an image from the National Weather Service.

Arizona Snowbowl Tornado - National Weather Service

Arizona Snowbowl Tornado - National Weather Service

The NWS in Flagstaff has done a great job in recent history with their documentation of major events like this. Very nice work!

This week we should see awesome weather! Simply beautiful. Sunny, warm days and cool comfortable nights are in store. But, a significant change is still lurking for the weekend. Hurricane Hilary is current off the coast of Mexico. The National Weather Service and AccuWeather are both forecasting Hilary to run up the Baja Coast and bring cooler temperatures and elevated chances for rain this weekend for most of the state. However, I am still not sure it will happen. this morning only the GFS model shows this track. Other models show Hilary drifting about and fading into obscurity.

Summary of computer models from Weather Underground.com

Summary of computer models from Weather Underground.com

So, this weekend could be cold and wet, or it could be like the rest of the week. One particular point, the GFS model has shown the same behavior for the last week or so. Another particular point is that the NoGAPS model has shown a similar drifting track since Hilary first came into it’s time window. Keep an eye out. I’m going to close the windows on my roof this week.

 Posted by at 6:26 am
Dec 142010
 

Yesterday was beautiful as promised. The outlook is up in the air

RECORD EVENT REPORT...CORRECTED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF, AZ
818 PM MST MON DEC 13 2010

...RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES FOR NORTHERN ARIZONA ON DEC 13 2010...

CITY                                NEW HIGH      PREVIOUS RECORD/YEAR
BELLEMONT                              65          57         IN  2004
COTTONWOOD-TUZIGOOT NM                 76          70         IN  1996
FLAGSTAFF                              67          66         IN  1921
FORT VALLEY                            65          64         IN  1950
GREER                                  64          59         IN  2004
HEBER                                  68          67         IN  1969
NAVAJO NM                              56          54         IN  1962
PAYSON                                 69          68         IN  1969
SELIGMAN                               73          70         IN  1950
SHOW LOW                               67          63         IN  2004
GRAND CANYON SOUTH RIM                 63          62         IN  2004
WALNUT CANYON                          60          57         IN  2004

THE HIGH TEMPERATURE AT THE SEDONA AIRPORT TODAY REACHED 70 DEGREES.
THE OFFICIAL RECORD HIGH FOR TODAY IS 70 DEGREES...WHICH WAS SET AT
THE RANGER STATION IN 2004.

...RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES FOR NORTHERN ARIZONA ON DEC 12 2010...

CITY                                NEW HIGH       PREVIOUS RECORD/YEAR
BELLEMONT                              60          60         IN  2004
COTTONWOOD-TUZIGOOT NM                 75          70         IN  1996

THESE RECORDS ARE PRELIMINARY PENDING OFFICIAL REPORTS.

The outlook is a little uncertain. Just as the North American Mesoscale (NAM) model has firmed up on a strong storm hitting the area on Thursday, the National Weather Service has moved to a fairly light 1-2 inches of snow in their forecast. Accuweather has dropped snow from their forecast. The NOGAPs model shows only a small amount of precipitation. The GFS Model shows light amounts in Northern Arizona, with heavier amounts to the south. So, which is right? I think it mostly depends on the positions of the High and Low pressure systems off the Pacific Coast. I think the graphic below captures the situation. If the pump isn’t directed at us, we get very little. If it is directed at us we get a lot.

Check Out Ken Clark’s Blog at AccuWeather. He notes the potential pineapple connection. Very nice discussion and images.

Storm Pump

Storm Pump

 Posted by at 7:09 am
Dec 012010
 

It’s been a while since I can remember a record breaking, winter time low. Yesterday the Flagstaff Airport reported -4 as the temperature. This broke a record set in 1975.

With that said, the rest of this week should be warmer and nice. My personal T-Model continues to show a good chance for a storm between Monday and Wednesday next week. The GFS model shows something weaker, more to the north and sooner. NOGAPS shows a good southern track, later and stronger.

 Posted by at 6:53 am
Oct 032010
 

The National Weather Service hasn’t published their review for the month of September, yet. But, I think it’s a pretty easy month to summarize. Here is the monthly climate graph from Weather Underground.

September 2010 Climate History - Weather Underground

September 2010 Climate History - Weather Underground

There were two stormy times, from September 6-9 and September 22-23. These provided us with significantly cooler temperatures for several days. The rest of the month was absolutely beautiful. It was the best month this year to get outdoors and enjoy. As you can see the last week of the month was well above normal for temperatures and drove us firmly into an above average temperature month. Overall, according to the National Weather Service, we were 2.4deg F above normal with precipitation coming in at a meager 0.79 inches, 1.33 inches below normal. This shift in temperature represents a strong move in the departure from normal temperatures since 2004.

Departure from normal mean temperatures, 2004-2010

Departure from normal mean temperatures, 2004-2010

Temperatures have been mostly below normal since the fall of 2009.

September 1998 doesn’t match September 2010. I think this is due to the timing and rapidity of the shift from El Nino to La Nina, and the accompanied change from a warm Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index to a cool one. I think this has led to a faster return of dry, and possibly warmer conditions. Notice the large cool body of water in the Equatorial Pacific.

Global sea surface temperature anomaly - 1 October 2010 (NOGAPS)

Global sea surface temperature anomaly - 1 October 2010 (NOGAPS)

Also note the warm North Atlantic Ocean. As an aside, there are a couple cooler patches of water in the North Atlantic. One from the coast of Africa stretching north of the Caribbean towards the East Coast of United States. The other from the coast of Nova Scotia to the east. These are under the tracks of Hurricanes Earl and Danielle, and Tropical Storms Colin and Fiona. Tropical storms provide this cooling.

The warm Atlantic and the cool Pacific are going to be the drivers for our upcoming dry winter.

 Posted by at 5:34 am
Oct 012010
 

JP asked me this question today. And a fog was lifted. It’s been so nice, I hadn’t fully realized that maybe it wasn’t supposed to be this nice this time of year. Sure enough, it has been warm. We broke one record high temperature and tied another this week. Thursday, September 30 we saw 83 degrees at the Flagstaff airport, which tied the previous record in 1980. Tuesday, September 28 we saw 83 degrees at the airport, breaking the 1963 record of 83 degrees. The whole week was above average for temperature.

Today, October 1, the high was only 80 degrees, a whooping 5 degrees shy of the October 1 record of 85 degrees that was set in 1980. Hmmm, two records around the same time, 1980, I’ll have to look and see what that winter was like. But, the weather history page for the Flagstaff Airport, from Weather Underground, shows that the average high temperature is only 69 degrees. If you live in Flagstaff, it may be perfectly normal to wear shorts at that, but I am thinking that it would be pretty rare for most folks. I was thinking a high of 75 would be comfortable for most folks. Looking at the last 10 years, here is what the highs were:

2001          68
2002          59
2003          80
2004          61
2005          72
2006          73
2007          66
2008          76
2009          65
2010          80

Looks like shorts were appropriate, by the 75 degree F standard, in 3 of the last 10 years.

I’ve been strongly considering 1998 as an analog to this year, but September and October were near to below normal temperature-wise. This could have been due to the transition from El Nino to La Nina being later in the year and not as rapid back then.

 Posted by at 5:56 pm
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