Monday, August 1, 2011

SATURDAY STORM CHASING

Inspired by my love of extreme weather and one of my favorite shows ("Storm Chasers"), I headed out this past Saturday to see if I could connect with a large, monsoonal storm cell that was forecast to hit the Mojave Desert and the local Angeles National Forest near Wrightwood, CA. I was not disappointed!

I actually drove into the storm about 10 miles east of the town of Pearblossom, CA and was pelted by heavy rain, surrounded by lightning. It was magnificent! Incredible cloud-to-ground lightning as well as some beautiful cloud-to-cloud forked lightning. And LOUD thunder!

The temperature was 103 when I went through Palmdale, but by the time I was about 20 miles east and in the actual storm, the temp dropped to 77! Up in Wrightwood it was a pleasant 68-degrees.

The system was slow moving, so it stayed around the area for a long while and ultimately flooded the town of Victorville; the downtown area was hit pretty hard.

I chased from 11:00 am to almost 5:00 pm--a most satisfying day!

Looking east, towards Acton and the Angeles National Forest at 11:30 am. The cumulus congestus is beginning to form.

Same view, zoomed in.

Another view, same direction.

Taken from moving vehicle, 10 miles east of Pearblossom. Not quite in the rain yet, but can see it in the distance towards the mountains where the veils are dark and thick. Active cumulonimbus clouds.

More veils of rain.

Mount Baden Powell seen from Grassy Hollow at 2:00 pm, looking southwest. More clouds were piling up in the east and I could hear more thunder. Cumulus and strato- cumulus from the dissipating storm.

Coming down from Wrightwood, looking southwest. (taken through vehicle windshield)

Zoom detail of previous--awesome cumulonimbus formation.

Looking east from Acton at 4 pm. The clouds are forming into the typical shape of the anvil altocumulus.

Detail zoom of the previous.

This storm was fairly rare for this time of year, so I was lucky to catch it. The way the climate is changing, I will no doubt find other interesting weather like this to observe in the future!