Storm of the Winter Update

Inkstain’s staff empiricist forgot the salient detail: 0.13 inch of rain in the Inkstain rain gauge. For a normal March, we’d get one storm that size per week.

Also, a correction. This wasn’t the first measurable rain since January. March 1 we got 0.01 at the airport.


  1. .01 barely washes the dust out of the atm, John, and .13 just makes the plants mad. Sheesh. Hope you get a good monsoon this year, but that won’t help the plants adapted to winter precip…

    Keep up the good work, sir.


  2. There’s a really interesting hypothesis* that correlates bad snowpack (dry winter) with a good monsoon here. The physical mechanism involves surface heating on the Colorado Plateau. Less snow leads to more surface heating, which strengthens the physical mechanism by which warming upper elevation land surfaces suck in moist ocean air to give us a good monsoon.

    * Gutzler and Preston is the first paper, and there are several others:

  3. oooh! Good ‘un – sounds compelling. That’s still not gonna help with your plants adapted to moisture from snowmelt and winter rain. No flowers!

    There’s a similar hypothesis up here wherein GW will heat the Columbia Plateau, creating a stronger heat low which will create a gradient to suck in low stratus out in the Pacific, giving us even fewer sunny days.

    Guar-on-tee I’m moving outta here the year that happens.


  4. But if weather patterns are that sensitive to surface heating, aren’t urban areas as likely to alter them in as big a way? In which case, is Phoenix phucking-up our weather? Coco

  5. There’s a famous study that showed how rainfall increased downwind from St. Louis. And yes, I think it’s good to blame Phoenix.

  6. Pat Michaels did one study too for Atlanta. He showed the same thing in a downwind plume ~40-50 mi IIRC. I would offer that not only PHX but most landuse/landcover changes in the SW are affecting the weather – big change in the hydrological regime and albedos with center-pivot irrigation.



Comments are closed.