Saturday, August 14, 2010

Round Robin: In Which I Complain About the Weather

A promising cloud build-up on the last day of July.
From Tucson Weather

Well, that was a total bust. When I proposed the Round Robin topic "About the Weather," based on suggestions by Steven of (sometimes) photoblog (now defunct) and Julie of Julie's Web Journal, Tucson had just had a reasonably spectacular thunderstorm as part of our annual Arizona monsoon. Prime time for the monsoon is July and August, so I thought I'd almost certainly be able to photograph some more dramatic weather for you. If it didn't work out, I'd show you the less-dramatic weather we got instead. And if all else failed, I could always go with photos of dramatic weather from past years.

The day after the rain: Alamo Wash on July 31, 2010.

Plan B it is, then. You know how much rain Tucson has had in August? A tenth of an inch. Phooey. Average rainfall here in August is supposed to be 2.3", so we're well behind. Last year's monsoon fizzled in August also, with a total rainfall of 0.33" for the entire month. I wouldn't be at all surprised if our decade or more of drought turned out to be due to climate change. During 2001 to 2009, three years had a total rainfall for the season (mid-June to mid-September) of under three inches each, less than half of the current century-plus average of 6.06".

Clouds over the mountains - and nowhere else.

What typically happens is, we get a nice buildup of clouds in the afternoon, almost all of it over the mountains that surround the city. If the clouds spread to the sky overhead, an actual thunderstorm starts to seem likely. All too often, though, it rains over the mountains and leaves the city gasping for water - or it dissipates entirely, with no rain in the area at all. We're supposed to get about 11 inches of rain a year here in the desert, just over half of it during the monsoon. All too often recently, the monsoon hasn't done its job. Over the past decade, we've only had three years of above-average monsoon rainfall - and two of those were above average by less than three quarters of an inch.

Distant rain.

Back at the beginning of July, when the photo above was taken, I had high hopes for this year's monsoon, and a greater-than usual longing for it. The humidity was building, making 100 degrees feel hotter than 114 degrees had in June. Every day I wondered, "Is it here yet? Is the monsoon coming? When is it going to rain and cool things off?" I kept checking the National Weather Service/NOAA site dedicated to the Arizona monsoon, looking for a notice that "The 2010 monsoon started on July 3, 2010" or somesuch. They used to post this info every year, based on the following calculation:

The monsoon start date is determined when the average daily
dewpoint is 54 degrees or greater for "3" consecutive days.
The start date is the first of the "3" consecutive days.

What I didn't know was that NOAA decided several years ago to stop naming the official start of the monsoon by this definition, probably because it's hard to compare monsoons from year to year without using the same date range for each. Now the monsoon officially starts on June 15th, whether the sky is ready or not. This year it wasn't. We had just under a quarter of an inch of rain in June.

Temporary relief.

When it does rain, it can make a huge difference in the temperature. Trust me, 76 degrees is unusually cool for a Saturday morning at the end of July!

Storm over St. Matt's.

Still, I should be grateful for the 2.30" in July. Besides, the season's not over yet. We may yet get a gullywasher or two.


P.S. It's 4:18 AM, and I just heard thunder! Hooray! So did Cayenne, and she's come to me for comfort.

Now let's go see what the weather has been like for other Robins:

Linking List
as of 7:52 PM MST/PDT, August 14, 2010 (C)

Julie - Posted!
Julie's Web Journal

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Linda - Posted!
Mommy's Treasures

Freda - Posted!
Day One

Carly - Posted!

Jama - Posted!
Sweet Memories

mga gihuna-huna


Rich - Posted!
Rich Image

Sherrie **new blog!** - Posted!
Food for Thought

Ruth - Posted!

ellen b - Posted!
The Happy Wonderer

Sandy - Posted!
From the Heart of Texas

Erin - Posted!
A Hardcore Life

Rudo (Ethos) - Posted!
Passion in the Moments

Peggy - Posted!
Holmespun Fun Memes and Themes


Carly said...

Hi Karen

Oh please send me a thunder storm! I LOVE them, but they are a rarity in the Bay Area, although they have been cropping up in recent years. Yes, a "Gullywasher" would be good! :)

:) Carly

Sherrie said...

Hi Karen,
If I could I would give you some of our rain. We had way too much in May and June. Like those pictures of the mountains, beautiful. Have a great day!

Food for Thought

Rich said...

Sounds like your weather has been about as inspiring as mine. :D

My favourite shot of yours this week is 'the day after the rain', love those reflections of the trees in the puddles.

Linda said...

We need rain, too!! And we also need those 76 degree temps!!!

ellen b said...

Hi Karen! So sorry your weather is not cooperating for the challenge. You still have some great shots of weather trying to be dramatic :0)
Love the clouds, the distant rain, and the rain gutters overflowing ...

Scrabblequeen said...

I used to visit my Gran in Tucson most summers...I don't remember rain there, but I DO remember a monsoon catching us once when we were driving to Phoenix to visit my older sis...Hope you get some rain out of that scary thunder!

Jama said...

Last month we had the most rain, more than the usual we had for the whole year. I love rainy days as long as I'm not caught in it somewhere, home is the best place to be !
Sorry a bit late in posting this week's photo, totally forgot about it till about an hour ago.

barrettmanor said...

Your current weather looks a lot like ours around here. The clouds build up, but we get no rain. Only stifling humidity to go with the heat.