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Palms, Dust, and Storms.. Scenes of Monsoon season 2018

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After a swing and a miss.. and two big dust storms last night, the weather gods cooperated today and brought this summers first, widespread action across Phoenix. While i missed out on most of the better rain, which shut down Sky Harbor for a time, and also dropped half-dollar sized hail in Apache junction and East Mesa earlier, today's dust storm made for some decent pictures worth sharing..  Moisture hangs around through the week, and gives everything ( and everyone) a welcomed break from the summer torch fest.  Storm today dropped temps 25+ degrees in less than 2 hours.. Humid and almost perfect out atm.. Just bring more rain next time;)

Grainy pictures from last night. First wall of dust cut visibility to around a mile. Second episode was worse and shut down I-10 south of town for a bit. In the next pictures below, you can easily see across the street from the house. During the second storm last night, you couldn't for a time. Had to shut off the AC for a couple hours.. makes for tough sleeping when its still 100F out. 
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Today's monster. Formed quickly east of town, towards Boyce Thompson Arboretum which is practically due east of the parking lot across the street. Second picture is less than 20 minutes from the first. Storms topped 50K ft as they rolled through the Valley..
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Advancing dust wall progression..
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 Touchdown time
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No, we haven't suddenly landed on Mars.. Just another Dusty Red afternoon in the Desert.. Awaiting the rain, or more of it than what fell here as the dust rolled on west toward South Mountain. 
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** Excuse the butchered Washingtonia in the street median, I guess Chandler hasn't yet hired good caretakers, imo. They could have at least cleaned up the skirts..

More shots of the season later from other spots nearby, if the weather gods keep 'em coming.. 

-Nathan

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So cool. I really want to experience one of these.

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2 hours ago, cm05 said:

So cool. I really want to experience one of these.

Monsoon storms here this time of year can be memorable experiences for sure.. and rank second on the list of places i have lived and casually tracked / photographed storms. The lack of humidity ( most of the time) as storms roll in here opens up the sky, and lets you see more detail of the surrounding landscape compared to back east where such details can be obscured due the extra moisture / haze in the air, or, so i have noticed.  

On the other hand, the dust storms that accompany the rain here can be dangerous and you don't want to be outside in the middle of one for long if you can avoid it. We have a Fungus that lives in the soil that can cause Valley Fever, and if you are on one of the highways, say the I-10 between here and Tucson, which is especially prone to bad dust storms, it can be extra dangerous when visibility suddenly drops from perfect to zero and you are surrounded by other drivers who refuse to slow down /pull aside to wait out the worst of the storm.  Then there's those who insist on driving through flooded washes.. 

If in an ideal spot, say parked alongside a less traveled road, or somewhere where you can move inside, if need be, watching a good storm is great.. especially when the season shifts away from the dust events, into more heavy rain / lightning producing storms. 

A well known photographer /videographer, Mike Olbinski has made several incredible videos of past Monsoon seasons here well worth checking out.. He and Reed Timmer of "Storm Casers" fame, posted a 30'ish second clip from somewhere near Yuma last night as the dust storm we had, rolled through there, only more intense. Can be found on Daniel Swain's ( author of the Weather West blog ) twitter page.  

As for the storm last night, while we missed the best of it ( or worst of.. depending on who you talk to)  there were numerous power poles knocked down, part of a roof taken off a hotel near the Airport, some water rescues, and lots of broken, uprooted trees including a large Canary Island Date Palm that fell over a couple cars in another part of town. You would have never known it was that bad  just to our north and west from what we had here in Chandler. Then again, another storm can do the same type of damage on this side of town, and the rest of the valley gets sprinkles and a handful of lightning flashes. Tis' how the season goes.. 

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Cool. I think it's quite fascinating that such a bone dry place gets these huge thunderstorms for just a short time during the year.

My family lived in Phoenix when I was a toddler. One memory (albeit vague) I have is a bad thunderstorm and dust storm that hit in August of 1996. It was very violent with significant tree damage in the neighborhood and gusts recorded as high as 100 mph in the area. My Dad took home video of it: it was so intense that our car parked in the driveway was being visibly rocked in the wind.

Here's a NWS report I recently found on that thunderstorm event. 

THE SOUTHERN ARIZONA SEVERE WEATHEROUTBREAK OF 14 AUGUST 1996

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1 hour ago, Opal92 said:

Cool. I think it's quite fascinating that such a bone dry place gets these huge thunderstorms for just a short time during the year.

My family lived in Phoenix when I was a toddler. One memory (albeit vague) I have is a bad thunderstorm and dust storm that hit in August of 1996. It was very violent with significant tree damage in the neighborhood and gusts recorded as high as 100 mph in the area. My Dad took home video of it: it was so intense that our car parked in the driveway was being visibly rocked in the wind.

Here's a NWS report I recently found on that thunderstorm event. 

THE SOUTHERN ARIZONA SEVERE WEATHEROUTBREAK OF 14 AUGUST 1996

Great historical info, thanks for sharing..  Storms like the one you referenced, and the one experienced yesterday are more the exception than the rule during most of the season but surprise a lot of people who wouldn't expect such weather here. Heck, no one would think that Tornadoes, sometimes noteworthy ones, can occur here also. 

We had another round today though nothing like yesterday, just your more typical pop up storms though the one that passed just blocks north of the house looked nasty for a time as it came towards us from Queen Creek. Was falling apart within an hour. Reminded me of the hit or miss storms you see there in Florida this time of year.. There were a few left over showers around this morning and most were not anticipating more activity until possibly tomorrow.. Super humid, especially while i was up near Papago Park. Think we set a record for the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere this morning also. 

 

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The monsoonal storms seem to be a mountainous phenomenon. I checked the rainfall for GOC coastal areas like Rocky Point and Guyamas, and the rainfall totals look quite paltry, and stays that way until you get down to Mazatlan.

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