The Arizona Experiment.

Not my cup of tea but maybe an interesting diversion. …

Weather records are not very convincing past the 1990's and not very good past the 2000's. This is because the agencies posting them these days can use satellite data which lends itself well to posting as graphic files.

Collections of records before then and most receiving stations data since, is stored as grib files. Codes for stations, temperatures, pressures, visibility even cloud cover in the good old days, were all given numbers in a grid.

I suppose you ust got used to reading them the way you'd read a temperature gauge or a barometer. Or a good book. It produced its own inner picture.

Anyhow, here is some local colour for people in the lea of Pacific storms. Most of the Low pressure hitting the USA hits some of the highest mountains in the world. And at California they are fat and wide and mostly unbroken.

So all the clouds hitting them go high and wide changing into dry and cold air as it does. From Low pressure comes high pressure. The cold air falls down the slope when it gets to Arizona and Nevada and warms up as the pressure increase. They turn into desiccating breezes.

Usually.

Sometimes though…

Originally posted by The Flood Control District of Maricopa County:

2010

Jan. 20-22:
A major winter storm system, the strongest in more than a decade, brings heavy precipitation to the county. Much of the region receives 1 to 3.5 inches of total rainfall, with up to 5 inches recorded by District gages in the north-western and northern portions of the county.

Cave Buttes Dam has stormwater more than 60 feet deep in the impoundment pool behind the dam, the highest level since 1993. A state of emergency is declared in the county and state.

2009

Sept. 30:
The last day of the official 2009 monsoon season brings to a close the fifth driest monsoon in recorded history in the county. In fact, August was the driest in 116 years. The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center classifies most of Maricopa County as "moderately dry," one step below "severe drought."

2008

July 13:
Late-afternoon storm hits Tempe, where more than two inches of rain falls in less than two hours. A five-mile section of the U.S. 60 freeway through Tempe is shut down for three hours due to deep standing water across several lanes and beneath underpasses.

July 10:
The first major monsoon storm of the season drops more rain in a 12-hour period than during the entire 2007 monsoon season.
A cluster of severe thunderstorms moved across north west Maricopa County causing strong winds and dense blowing dust.
A second cluster of severe thunderstorms moved into east-central parts of the county and converged over the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The highest rainfall totals were in the Wickenburg area (one to three inches), and central Phoenix and northeast Mesa (one to three inches). A total of 0.83 inch was recorded at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Rising water forced the closure of Interstate 17 near downtown Phoenix.

Jan. 27:
A day-long rainstorm drops up to three inches of rain in the north-eastern mountains. Cave Creek and New River flow rapidly, with 14 feet of water held behind Cave Buttes Dam and 23 feet in the impoundment area behind New River Dam. A dozen roads in Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale are temporarily impassable due to flooded wash crossings.

2007

July 31-Aug. 1:
Up to three inches of rain falls in parts of the northern Phoenix metropolitan area. Various east-west roads in North Scottsdale are closed due to flooded washes and mud flows. The impoundment pond behind Cave Buttes Dam holds floodwater more than 20 feet deep.

July 23:
Approximately two inches of rain falls in parts of the Phoenix metropolitan area, especially in the northern portion where a mud slide closes a road in Cave Creek.
The washes in the Gila Bend area are full due to the torrential rains in the area.

July 21-22:
A late start of the monsoon brings heavy rain to the County. Sheet flooding in Queen Creek turns dirt roads to mud and causes a 1/4-mile-long, 12-foot-wide, 10-foot-deep fissure in the ground through a rural neighborhood.

2006

Sept. 7:
Roads through Indian Bend Wash in Scottsdale are closed due to rainstorm run-off in the wash.

Aug. 24:
A rainstorm drops two inches of rain in parts of the north-eastern Phoenix and north Scottsdale. Both bridged and unbridged crossings on Indian Bend Wash are closed.

Aug. 21:
Some streets in northern Tempe are flooded, and the right-hand lanes of both eastbound and westbound U.S. 60 at Rural Road are closed due to heavy rain.

July 25:
Heavy rains create a sink-hole adjacent to an apartment building in Tempe, forcing residents to evacuate the community.

2005

Sept. 3: Very heavy rainfall across the far northern portion of the Phoenix metropolitan area results in rapid runoff and flooding. The Seven Springs stream gage indicates a sudden jump of the water level, from zero to 8.5 feet, in only 20 minutes.
The Camp Creek ALERT system gauge records a total of 3.11 inches of rain, with 2.01 inches in one hour. Bartlett Road is washed out and impassable, the heaviest rain storm is reported at the East Fork of Cave Creek at 7th Avenue, with flooding of many streets in north Phoenix.

Aug. 23:
Flooding is reported on State Route 85.

Aug. 9:
Heavy rains from widespread thunderstorms cause flash flood waters to over-flow washes from New River east to the Seven Springs area and Camp Creek. Rain gauge networks indicate that up to 4.5 inches of rain falls during the late afternoon and early evening.
Heavy rains during the afternoon flood highways and roads in Queen Creek, while in Tonopah many roads are closed in the area due to rapid flooding.

Aug. 2:
One of the heaviest rainfall events of the 2005 season strikes the Phoenix area, where almost three inches of rain falls in many locations in the metropolitan area, causing roofs to collapse and streets to flood quickly.

July 30:
Very heavy rainfall, about two inches per hour, causes the flooding of low spots and washes in Wickenburg, where the peak flow in Hartman Wash is 1,200 cubic feet per second.

July 26:
In Sun City, the occupants of a stranded vehicle in a flash flood are rescued at 128th Avenue and Galaxy Drive.

Feb. 16:
The governor declares a state of emergency in various counties due to 2005 winter storms and flooding. The declaration for Maricopa County only includes the town of Wickenburg.

Feb. 12:
Rains associated with a mid-winter storm system move slowly across central and southern Arizona. Rainfall intensity increases significantly during the evening of Feb. 11, and Flood Control District ALERT rain gages begin to report excessive rainfall exceeding 1.5 inches per hour during the early morning hours of Feb. 12.

Rural roads in northern and north-eastern Maricopa County become flooded by washes running heavy with the rain runoff. The Hassayampa River erodes its banks near Wickenburg. Rock and mud slides along U.S. Highway 60 from Superior to Globe are reported by the afternoon of Feb. 12.

This storm system is the final significant 2004-2005 winter event in a season of very heavy rainfall. The Carefree-Cave Creek area reports a three-month total of 13.66 inches.

2004

Dec. 29:
Heavy rains fall across a large portion of southern and central Arizona.

Aug. 15: Flash flooding is reported south of U.S. Highway 60 on Vulture Mine Road near Wickenburg. Three to four inches of rain fall in one hour.

2003

Oct. 10:
Storm totals are up to 1.30 inches at Skunk Creek near New River and 2.24 inches at Pinnacle Peak in north Scottsdale.

Sept. 4: Near Wickenburg, Sols Wash grows to about 150 feet wide, Flying E Wash is full and Vulture Mine Road is closed due to flooding. Flash flooding occurs at the entrance to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park near the intersection of Olive Avenue and Citrus Road in the western part of the Phoenix area.

Aug. 28:
Locally heavy rainfall affects a large part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The heaviest rain falls north of Sun City where one gage records approximately four inches. More than two inches falls at Antelope Creek near Wickenburg.

Aug. 14:
At least 15 homes are flooded in Tolleson.

Aug. 13:
A flash flood in Sols Wash sweeps a vehicle downstream from Vulture Mine Road.

2001

Aug. 1:
Thunderstorms with heavy rainfall of up to one inch per hour cause flash flooding of washes and streets in Wickenburg.

March 7:
Heavy rain over much of south-central Arizona leaves washes running and streets flooded or closed. More than two inches of rain falls in Wickenburg and two inches is recorded over much of the Phoenix area.

2000

Oct. 27:
The second major storm in a week causes considerable flooding in both rural and urban areas. A trailer park in Aguila and another in Buckeye are evacuated, while homes in Peoria, Youngtown, Surprise and surrounding areas are flooded. One unofficial rain gage 15 miles east of Aguila registers 8.79 inches for the month and another gage in Aguila records 5.05 inches. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declares a flood emergency for Maricopa County.

Oct. 21:
State Route 93 is closed north of Wickenburg due to high water. Sols Wash overflows and floods Coffinger Park as well as nearby homes. Vulture Mine Road is closed and trapped motorists are rescued. Floodwaters produce considerable damage to agriculture in northwestern Maricopa County.

Oct. 10: A strong storm system moves through the Phoenix area producing very heavy rainfall, resulting in street flooding and road closures. The Phoenix Fire Department responds to four swift-water rescues. Flooding is reported around Indian Bend Wash.

Aug. 29:
Very heavy rainfall, with estimated rates of an inch per hour, moves slowly across the County. Sols Wash in Wickenburg is flooded as well as other streams and washes in the northern part of the County.

Aug. 17:
One inch of rain falls in 15 minutes, causing a flash flood that fills washes near New River.

June 20:
About 2.5 inches of rain falls in just 90 minutes.

March 5-7:
A series of storm systems move through Arizona during the three-day period, dropping as much as 3.5 inches of rain across north-central Maricopa County. Sky Harbor Airport records 2.77 inches and many areas of the city have more than two inches.

http://www.fcd.maricopa.gov/Education/history.aspx

That's plenty for now. Concentrating on a small location like this makes it possible to eliminate variable to a fluid system that can not be catered for on a large scale.

For example nationwide in a country as large as the USA, there is always a flood some place while elsewhere, at the same, time a drought.

Now to see if I can find the weather records fore the area. What I want are synoptic charts for the USA generally. The axiom: Someone's flood is someone's drought may be a problem when dealing with causes locally but to look at the weather budget you need to see what the cause is doing overall.

In such cases the USA may not be a large enough area but it is probably the best anyone can hope for.

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4 thoughts on “The Arizona Experiment.

  1. continued:1999 Aug. 31: Rainfall exceeds one inch per 30 minutes in parts of the eastern Phoenix metropolitan area, resulting in street flooding. July 15: Showers and thunderstorms develop over a wide area between Wickenburg and Phoenix, with streets and roads flooded. July 14: A major storm hits most of the Phoenix metropolitan area with numerous reports of street flooding. At least six swift-water rescues are performed, including a dramatic rescue using a sheriff's department helicopter. March 5: A series of storms moves through Arizona over a three-day period and produces the third-wettest March on record in Phoenix, causing widespread street flooding. 1998 Oct. 30: Sheriff's deputies form a human chain to rescue a woman trapped in her car in a flooded wash on 14th Street south of the Carefree Highway in the northern Phoenix metro area. Sept. 5: Sheriff's deputies rescue at least one camper stranded by flash flood water at the campground at Apache Lake. Aug. 12: Very heavy rain causes considerable flash flooding around Wickenburg. March 28: Three members of a Boy Scout troop perish after their SUV is swept away after they try to drive across a flooded wash near Sunflower. 1997 Sept. 26: An average of three to five inches of rain falls from storms caused by Hurricane Nora, leading to flash flooding in portions of northwestern Maricopa County. Two earthen dams give way in Aguila, causing widespread flooding where approximately 40 people are evacuated from the town. Water flowing down the Sols Wash is so high that the Sols Wash bridge in Wickenburg is closed for more than two hours along with other highways in the vicinity. A total of 11.97 inches of rain falls in 24 hours on Harquahala Mountain, breaking the 24-hour record set at Workman Creek during the 1970 Labor Day storm. Sept. 25: Widespread flooding occurs in the town of Aguila, with many properties and roads are under six inches of water. Sept. 2: Many cross-streets are flooded along Thomas Road in Phoenix. Aug. 26: Water flowing through Indian Bend Wash rises to three feet. Automobiles become stranded in the wash at McCormick Parkway between Hayden Road and Scottsdale Road. 1996 Aug. 18: Indian Bend Wash floods quickly and forces the closure of two roads. 1995 Sept. 28: More than two inches of rain fall in Scottsdale, flooding streets and homes and filling Indian Bend Wash. Feb. 15: Floodwaters from the Hassayampa River near Wickenburg cause some property damage. 1994 Sept. 13: Extensive street flooding in Phoenix is caused by torrential rains. Sept. 4: More than 1.5 inches of rain falls in one hour in Litchfield Park, resulting in major street flooding. Sept. 2: Extensive street flooding is reported around the Phoenix area with water three to five feet deep in some freeway underpasses. 1993 Oct. 6: Heavy rain causes Indian Bend Wash to overflow onto city streets and wash over the bridges on Camelback and Indian School roads. A few motorists are rescued from their cars when they become stranded after trying to cross the flooded wash. Feb. 8-10: Flooding on the Hassayampa River forces 30 people to leave their homes. Jan. 8-20: An extremely intense El NiƱo causes heavy rainfall. A large, garbage landfill in Mesa and portions of the new Mill Avenue bridge that is under construction are washed away by the raging Salt River. The Gillespie Dam west of Phoenix is damaged as high water spreads throughout low-lying areas. One man drowns while trying to cross the Agua Fria River. 1984 July: A summer storm causes scattered flooding, particularly in east Mesa near the Central Arizona Project canal that is under construction. 1983 Sept. 28-Oct. 7: Tropical Storm Octave causes heavy rain over Arizona during a 10-day period. Southeastern Arizona is particularly hard hit, where at least 10,000 people are left temporarily homeless along with 14 fatalities and 975 injuries attributed to the flooding. Damage is estimated at $370 million. This massive storm brings floodwater north along the Santa Cruz and Gila rivers to Maricopa County, causing extensive flooding of streets and highways with some flooding of homes and businesses. One freeway underpass is filled with nine feet of water. 1980 January: Severe flooding on the Salt, Verde, Agua Fria and Hassayampa rivers, and along the Gila River below the confluence with the Salt River. The Salt River below Granite Reef Dam and the Agua Fria below Lake Pleasant are raging torrents, with a peak flow of 170,000 cubic feet per second. The greatest flood damage occurs along the Salt River in the greater Phoenix area. Eleven of the 13 bridges or crossings are destroyed or damaged. Approximately 600 homes to the west of Phoenix are damaged and others are destroyed, with 6,000 residents being evacuated. Damage is estimated at $63.7 million. Between October 1977 and February 1980, seven regional floods occur and Phoenix is declared a disaster area three times. There are 18 fatalities and approximately $310 million in property damageBut not for a while.

  2. Here is a list of lunar phases for the last 10 years:http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/phase/phases2001.htmlActually it is a list of the phases for the century and a classic example of what a state managed agency is capable of. The USA's space administration has been the envy of the world for decades. Imagine what a health care system there would be if the USA wasn't keener on forcing foreigners to give them oil.

  3. The ultimate cause of all the weather and all the earthquakes, as far as it concerns this neck of the woods, is the moon. Obviously the position of the mmon depends on the sun and the rest of the solar system but as far as makes little difference, it is down to two states of the lunar cycle.I am not talking about the phase and the orbital periods. Nor about apogee and perigee. What affects the all have I can't say. I have only tried to study the part the time of the phases play.Unfortunately the time of the phase has a different effect according to the ocean cycles: El Ninos and the like.The one I know about is the North Atlantic cycle. And the chart I am most familiar with is the Met Office's North Atlantic sea level pressure chart.However, things translate pretty well I imagine. This is the experiment. To see how other people's mileage varies.One striking phenomenon is that when a quake is building up the time of the phase moves back in the code (or forward, it's a 6 digit code that repeats four times in 24 hours.)And it moves it back a number of hours depending on the coming severity. Maximum bob is 4 hours – which is to say it is taking the code full circle. Any more severity and it will be back to the base code number.Smething else tends to happen in the physics when things reach a certain degree of intensity. It is noticeable in travelling through air.Buffeting drops off when the air steam-lines.The power requirement is still high to increase velocity. But the curve drops a little.The same is true with energy transformation. The more induction a motor produces the more the process produces. Eventually it goes so fast you get a diminishing return as the motor overheats. The wires get hot and conductivity drops making the heating more extreme.So it is with the acoustic wave that forces air or rock to move. The more it moves, the more it can move. Eventually it reaches peak efficiency and then criticallity.Then things break.This is the normal settled weather code for positive North Atlantic Oscillations:1 = Wet.2 = Unknown3 = Thundery4 = similar to 25 = Fine6 = misty7 through 12 repeats13 through 18 repeats19 through etc., etc.A major hurricane or for that matter a super Typhoon anywhere on the planet can knock things back from wet to thundery.That is, incoming Atlantic Low pressure off the UK will become a mixed frontal system that produces thundery conditions.The one gift of a clue to super storms like these is that they only occur when a series of self similar phases take place, a run of long standing unusual weather will give way to the extreme event.

  4. 2009 2 Dec 07:30 9 Dec 00:13 16 Dec 12:02For the UK the above were predominantly wet spells. A surprising amount of water is added to the water-table in a well run country that has a lot of misty weather. Unfortunately, these days, the British countryside has suffered from too many bean counters and not enough bean growers. 24 Dec 17:36Whilst unstable (as were the preceding) this is a dry spell -going on misty. 31 Dec 19:13This is a wet spell.2010 7 Jan 10:40A very unstable spell, one given to volcanic activity IMO 15 Jan 07:11WetWhat the condition were in Arizona you can see for your self in the original post.

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