Rain blesses Phoenix

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 17:16 (GMT)

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Rain finally blessed Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, after a record 143 straight days without precipitation. The rains were part of a large and intense weather system that spawned tornadoes that killed two people in southern Missouri, about 80 miles south of St. Louis. The storm also brought snow to the San Francisco Bay area, creating a 28-car pile up on Highway 101 just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The stormy weather is expected to continue today, with the potential for a large tornado outbreak over the Midwest. Violent, long-track F3 or stronger tornadoes are very possible today and tomorrow in association with this powerful weather system.

At Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport, 1.4" of rain was recorded, and other areas of the city received up to three inches. Some mountain areas received up to six inches of precipitation, much of it falling as snow. Flagstaff, Arizona, which had recorded only about three inches of snow for the entire winter, had nearly 20 inches of snow fall. Numerous road closures and hundreds of traffic accidents accompanied the storm, but not many residents are complaining. The big rains and snow will help delay the start of Arizona's fire season, which was widely feared to be the worst on record due to the long dry spell. Phoenix's normal rainfall for this the year ending March 12 is 2.0 inches, so the 1.4 inches from Saturday's storm puts them close to normal precipitation for the year. Organizers of the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Chandler Ostrich Festival must have bee cursing their bad luck, though, since their events happened on a rainy, cold Saturday with 25 mph winds--after 20 straight Saturdays with near perfect weather!


Figure 1. Radar estimated precipitation for the Phoenix area for Saturday, March 12, 2006. The sharp radiating lines pointing towards the radar are due to the effect of mountains blocking the radar beam.

What is the all-time record for dry spells?
Phoenix's 143 day-long dry spell may seem like a long one, but it doesn't compare to the U.S. record of 767 days, set in Bagdad, California, from October 3, 1912, through November 8, 1914. The town, on old Route 66 in the Mojave Desert in southern California, is the setting of the popular book and movie, Bagdad Cafe. The town has been nearly abandoned since 1991. Of course, neither Bagdad nor Phoenix can hold a candle to some regions of the Atacama Desert in Chile, where rain has not been recorded in the past century.

Monday's blog: Probably on the severe weather expected for today.

Jeff Masters

OMG Snow in Phoenix!!! (Snowdrop)
After 143 days without rain, we have had 1.5 inches at our house, and snow! Yes, this is Phoenix :) First for me in the 2.5 years I have lived here. Caught a few pics before the superstitions disappeared again behind the clouds. Now I hear thunder. Very unique weather for us :)
OMG Snow in Phoenix!!!
()

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Viewing: 188 - 138

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188. ForecasterColby
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 15:38 (GMT)
Wheeeee...last season gets more insane with every report they release.
187. atmosweather
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 15:14 (GMT)
Emily Cat 5!!!!! They got something right!!!!!
Member Since: 24.09.2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
186. SBKaren
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 14:50 (GMT)
Jeff -

Enjoyed reading your entry about Arizona and especially the Bagdad Cafe. We watched that movie a number of years ago and then on a trip out that way stopped at the Bagdad Cafe to have lunch. It is truly out in the middle of nowhere, and probably still is! I can imagine that they have very long periods of no rain, but 767 day! Wow - I can't imagine!

Karen
Member Since: 21.02.2005 Posts: 195 Comments: 14510
185. sayhuh
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 14:50 (GMT)
Alas, I survived the outbreak! Living in the SE burbs of KC, I am familiar with many of the areas in KS/MO that got hit. I thought the last one in May 04 was bad..but this seemed more widespread all the way out from Topeka to Columbia and seemingly non stop from when I woke up at 8am to 11PM when I fell asleep exhausted. Such an odd paridigm to be so passionate about the weather phenom itself, but also to know of the tragic loss of so many people. What a kickoff to Spring!
184. haydn
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 14:49 (GMT)
I am going to check back later to see how the storms are coming.
183. haydn
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 14:46 (GMT)
KRWZ,

I just read the report on Emily and by now you have too. The NHC got this one right. Another one for the record books.

There's a line of storms in KY right now. None are as strong as yesterday. We'll have to wait to see what the afternoon holds. By the time this front reaches SC, the system is predicted to weaken. I checked forecasts for the southeast. We need a little rain. The front is supposed to pass through tue.
182. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 14:10 (GMT)
Hurricane Emily update is out by the nhc whats all see if they update her to a cat 5 i be the frist to see it
181. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 14:05 (GMT)
Well, I guess I will be back later.
180. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 14:00 (GMT)
Starting to rain here now.
179. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 13:12 (GMT)
It is about time. I happy to know they decided to upgrade it.
178. Carbo04
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 13:10 (GMT)
Link

Back to the tropics. We now have had official 4 cat 5's in the 2005 season. Emily's report is in the link.
177. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 12:56 (GMT)
Storms are getting close.
176. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 12:20 (GMT)
Yesterday there were 107 tornado reports.
175. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 12:16 (GMT)
I think there is a reasonable chance of tornadoes in Indiana, as I believe that we are at maximum temperature for today.
174. ForecasterColby
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 12:09 (GMT)
Well, it was nighttime - hardly favorable for tornadic development. Over the next few hours the storms should refire.
173. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 11:54 (GMT)
Well, now it looks like there could be some redevelopment.
172. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 11:14 (GMT)
Looks like the line of storms is breaking up. Indianapolis might not get much, if anything.
171. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 09:57 (GMT)
Central Indiana now under a tornado watch.
170. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 09:53 (GMT)
100 tornado reports.
169. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 09:44 (GMT)
I should finally be in a tornado watch in 15-20 minutes.
168. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 09:31 (GMT)
It is 70F now and the sun hasn't even come up yet.
167. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 09:18 (GMT)
Eastern Arkansas now under a tornado watch.
166. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 09:10 (GMT)
67F now. I sure am getting bored waiting for these storms.
165. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:59 (GMT)
Also, won't be long before Eastern Arkansas is under a tornado watch.
164. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:56 (GMT)
Well, Detroit area is now under tornado watch.
163. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:51 (GMT)
Definitely hope no one else gets hurt.
162. snowboy
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:49 (GMT)
thunder is starting to rattle the windows and lightning is flashing, so with great regret I have to sign off to protect my equipment (and go watch the show) ...
- a good night to all and lets hope no one else gets hurt by this MAJOR storm
Member Since: 21.09.2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
161. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:49 (GMT)
I guess i shouldn't say only in the 40's. It is March after all. Guess I have been a little spoiled lately.
160. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:47 (GMT)
On Tuesday it will only be in the 40's here. That is a drop of about 20 degrees.
159. snowboy
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:39 (GMT)
It's 37 degrees here and rain just starting with lightning flickering on the horizon. North of Michigan in northern Ontario it's 10 degrees Fahrenheit and they're expecting at least a foot of snow.. Wild storm for sure.
Member Since: 21.09.2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
158. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:24 (GMT)
Gonna have to check out what the new forecast high is.
157. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:24 (GMT)
Forget what I just said. I was going by what it was an hour ago. The temperature now is 66F. That is a big jump considering it is 3:23 in the morning.
156. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:20 (GMT)
It is 59F here, and the forecast high is 63F.
155. snowboy
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:12 (GMT)
This system is now trailing a nasty line of storms from Michigan all the way to Texas - unbelievable! It is pounding Michigan in particular just now, and we're next (here in Ontario). I have phone-line internet which often goes down in heavy winds, so may be gone soon.
Member Since: 21.09.2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
154. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:06 (GMT)
I really want to see some good storms. Don't want to see damage to property, or deaths though.
153. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 08:00 (GMT)
It won't be quiet here around rush hour.
152. snowboy
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 07:52 (GMT)
fair enough lou - be glad you're in a quiet corner..
Member Since: 21.09.2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
151. arcturus
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 07:50 (GMT)
Yep, jumping around all over the place looking at radars after I couldn't sleep.
149. arcturus
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 07:43 (GMT)
Checking the radar thats one nasty bow echo heading toward the eastern shoreline looks like Benton Harbor area.

148. arcturus
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 07:38 (GMT)
WOW. Those storms over the lakes are humongous! Talk about a dangerous situation out there.

147. snowboy
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 07:37 (GMT)
... you know I've seen hurricanes with radar signatures that aren't as mean-looking as what is coming across Michigan right now!
Member Since: 21.09.2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
146. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 07:33 (GMT)
Not a whole lot going on in Central Indiana right now. Probably nothing till about 5:00-7:00 AM.
145. snowboy
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 07:31 (GMT)
Yikes folks, have snatched minutes out of a busy day to watch this nasty storm system as it has thrashed its way across the central US. Lake Michigan has NOT slowed it down at all - for those in the northeast quarter of the USA and southern Ontario wherever you are tonight if logging in here PLEASE first check at least your regional radar site to ensure you've got nothing coming at you. Mean looking radar signatures and damage reports all over the place.

In particular look out now esp. in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan..
Member Since: 21.09.2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
144. stansimms72
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 06:33 (GMT)
cyclone is still talking about his tunnels? TAKE COVER!!! TAKE COVER!!! TAKE COVER!!!


:)
143. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 06:27 (GMT)
Looks like I am gonna have to wait till about 7:00 AM for any strong storms.
142. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 06:25 (GMT)
Tornado warnings in Northern Indiana now.
141. Trouper415
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 06:23 (GMT)
WOW! 81 tornado reports. Bless all who were in harms way.
Member Since: 22.09.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 637
140. louastu
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 04:49 (GMT)
This is a pretty nasty line of storms.
139. taco2me61
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 04:43 (GMT)
Tornado on the ground south of Springfeild MO... Take Cover Now!!!!
Member Since: 7.07.2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3179
138. ForecasterColby
13. maaliskuuta 2006 klo 04:41 (GMT)
OMG! I just got back and JEEZ! Unbelieveable!

Springfield Illinois got hammered a little while ago, and one amateur from the area is reporting that they've closed off all entrances and exits to the freeway there and are reporting very heavy damage.

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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