Jul 032013
 

What a great start to the monsoon season! What a mess all over Flagstaff!

Rain, sleet and hail visited most of the areas around Flagstaff yesterday. My weather station recorded 1.58 inches after the sleet melted. Remarkable, the sleet is still lingering around town this morning. I have some in my front lawn.

The flooding and heavy precipitation made a mess all over town. The rain flooded many roads. The Daily Sun has a great picture of the Dairy Queen on Milton. The railroad underpass flooded.

One item stands out to me. Usually, it seems like they keep the rain gauge at the airport indoors so it doesn’t get wet. Yesterday, they logged 1.74 inches.

Hats off to the Climate Prediction Center on this one. They usually don’t do that well at forecasting for this time of year. They nailed it when they predicted above average precipitation for this week.

 Posted by at 6:51 am
Mar 142011
 

I mentioned a new project the other day. While it is still under construction, it is up, running and fully functional. It related to last year’s Schultz Fire, and helping prevent it from happening again.

Summer 2010 - Schultz Fire

Summer 2010 - Schultz Fire

I have been working with the folks at Campfires Limited to produce a website. The main goal of the site is to raise awareness of the proposed ban to campfires in the Coconino National Forest from May 1 until the monsoonal rains are well established. There are pages for contacting the National Forest Service and the Coconino National Forest to send your support for the ban. Please, visit the site and provide your support for the ban.

I think more content is needed for the site. If you would like to help provide content or links, please contact me or email Campfires Limited. Don’t forget, there is a campfire ban poll running in the right margin of this page.

Coconino County is holding a series of meetings to assist residents “with addressing the impacts from the on-going flooding and flood risks to your family, homes and property.” These meetings are being held in the next few weeks, and the schedule is shown below. They ask that you attend on the meeting for your area. More information is available at: http://www.coconino.az.gov/schultzfloodinformation.aspx?id=23604.

Meeting 1: Monday, March 28 from 7 – 9pm
Kevin’s Way, Daniel Way, North Copeland, Buckboard and Glodia areas

Meeting 2: Tuesday, March 29 from 7 – 9pm
Wupatki Trails, Brandis, Girls Ranch and Fernwood areas

Meeting 3: Wednesday, March 30 from 7 – 9pm 
Doney Park, Slayton Ranch and McCann areas

Meeting 4: Saturday, April 2 from 10am – 12pm
Zady, Alice, Linda and Paintbrush areas

Meeting 5: Saturday, April 2 from 1 – 3pm 
Hutchison Acres, Immediately east of Hwy 89 and Elden Springs
(Desert View, Lilac, Soaring Eagle, Onika) area

All meetings will be held at:
Sinagua Middle School
3950 East Butler Ave., Flagstaff 86004

The timing on getting information to people in the areas affected by potential flooding this summer is very important. Please, spread the word. The information is also available here: http://www.coconino.az.gov/schultzfloodinformation.aspx?id=23604.

For those interested in the weather, it looks like we are moving into a warmer, drier, but occasionally windier time. Temperatures should continue above normal for the week, but dry southwest winds will be the rule for the week. There is a slight, very slight, chance for some precipitation later this week and into the weekend. There are high chances for early next week, and maybe beyond.

 

 Posted by at 6:45 am
Aug 082010
 

I’d like to say that July was very unique. For many reasons it was.

It was the month where the global surface station system data came under suspicion again. When the monthly temperatures were reported to be the hottest ever, it did jive with the satellite data which showed near normal temperatures. It is expected that this will be repeated for July. But, how did we do in Flagstaff.

The big news was the 4th largest rainfall amount for Flagstaff for July at 5.94 inches. Obviously, the wet month was especially tough for those who have been faced with the run-off from the Schultz Fire Burn Area. The regular flooding to the east of the San Francisco Peaks. Interestingly, while many parts of Northern Arizona had similar heavy rainfall results, Prescott did not. They were about an inch and a half below normal. The last weekend of the month was, simply put, very wet!

So, what about temperatures. Compared to the last few years, we saw a continuation of the moderate to cooling trend in July and June.

Departure from average monthly mean temperatures January 2004 - July 2010

Departure from average monthly mean temperatures January 2004 - July 2010

As you can see from this grapg going back to 2004, June was below the monthly average. July was 0.57 degrees above this short-term average, but not outside of 1 standard deviation. Our airport is in a remarkably stable environment for a suburban location. So, I don’t think Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect is very strong, unlike many of the other surface stations on the planet.

The warm July was driven by two factors. First, relatively late start to the month allowed a beautiful, sunshine filled start to the month which boosted high temperatures. Second, when the monsoonal flow did begin, we had many nights with thick cloud cover that acted like a blanket and cushioned our low temperatures. Still, it was cooler when compared to last summer’s high and mean temperatures. Here is a great graphic that summarizes the last week of July.

Last week of July 2010 precipitation anomaly summary

Last week of July 2010 precipitation anomaly summary (US Climate Data Center)

Last week of July 2010 temperature anomaly summary

Last week of July 2010 temperature anomaly summary (US Climate Data Center)

So, what lies ahead? Many have started to ask me about this coming winter already. More on that later. Currently, I am concerned that the building La Nina could alter monsoon pattern. Will it bring an early end by ushering a dry spell, or will it allow more tropical flow from the Caribbean to the southwest?

 Posted by at 7:56 am
Aug 022010
 

Our dewpoint temperatures have been about 5 degrees above normal for quite a while now. When we get clearing skies, massive, energetic thunderstorms can erupt.

Flagstaff Dewpoints - Summer 2010

Flagstaff Dewpoints - Summer 2010

Precipitable water remains high.

Precipitable water August 2, 2010

Precipitable water August 2, 2010

We can expect more of the same for at least a couple more days.

 Posted by at 6:39 am
Jul 312010
 

Wow! Yesterday morning, the rain we had was simply delightful. Watching it gently fall with a cup of coffee in my hand was great.

Yesterday afternoon, the town was shutdown with a massive torrential rainfall. 89A, Milton at the railroad bridge, and Soliere were all flooded and closed. Other minor side streets had similar issues. It took my daughter over an hour to go 3 miles to work last night. Here is a great image and story from the Arizona Daily Sun.

Milton Flooding - Arizona Daily Sun

Milton Flooding - Arizona Daily Sun

It was a record rainfall day for the airport.

PRECIPITATION (IN)
  YESTERDAY        1.33R         1.33 2010   0.10   1.23      T
  MONTH TO DATE    5.64                      2.30   3.34     1.00
  SINCE SEP 1     19.83                     19.92  -0.09    12.56
  SINCE JAN 1     15.12                     12.18   2.94     6.20

Notice that even with last fall and last spring being very dry, the wet winter and summer have boosted us to normal precipitation levels since last September. Here is the radar estimation of precipitation from yesterday (Intellicast.com)

24 Rainfall estimate - Intellicast.com (will update with time)

24 Rainfall estimate - Intellicast.com (will update with time)

The current trend is to last through the weekend. Next week should be more like the standard monsoon pattern.

 Posted by at 6:49 am
Jul 282010
 

Flagstaff’s dewpoints are much above average historic levels. This is driving our intense rainfall amounts. The Flagstaff airport has received 4.165 inches of rain. I have gotten 2.74 inches at my house. 2008, the first July with my station operating, I measured over 4 inches of rain. Bellemont has received 3.13 inches. These variances are typical of the monsoon season. One place gets rain, the next place gets nothing.

But, the dewpoints are quite high. Here is a graph for July.

Flagstaff Dewpoint Temperature - July 2010

Flagstaff Dewpoint Temperature - July 2010

After a slow start, the moisture is firmly in place. The National Weather Service actually has “Heavy Rain” in the forecast for the next few days. We can expect more of the same for the next few days.

 Posted by at 6:38 am
Jul 222010
 

Sadly, the folks in the Timberline area are still realizing the severe damage from the campfire-caused Schultz Fire. With this weeks heavy monsoon action, flash flooding has ruined homes and neighborhoods and taken the life on one young girl. Keep those folks in your thoughts and prayers.

The National Weather Service has done a great job warning about this danger well in advance of the recent onset of the monsoonal thunderstorms. Here are several important links:

July 20 Flood

Schultz Burn Area Hydrologic Outlook

NWS Flash Flooding

Moisture levels are going to continue to remain high for the rest of this week. Localized flash flooding can happen in many areas. Also, keep in mind that the storm doesn’t have to be overhead to affect flooding in your area. It can take place miles away, but the drainage pathways, narrow canyons and washes, can lead the water to cause massive flooding at your location.

 Posted by at 7:35 am
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