Getting Ready for a Heavy Rain and Dust event Sep 2-3

We continue to use LIS data to increase our awareness of potential flood prone areas, as well as potential problems with convective dust storms.  An example below of interaction with the Phoenix office on 12Planet this morning where we discuss possible dust problems and inserting blowing dust in weather grids:


Below are this morning’s volumetric and relative soil moistures.  It highlights 2 concerns for us today.  The first is the area of heavy rain we saw 36 hours ago in the Tucson area and surrounding mountains is still very much reflected in soil moistures.  This will be one of the main areas of concern for potential flash flooding today.  The second concern is dust, with dry antecedent soil conditions a concern in favored blowing dust areas Pinal, Maricopa and central Pima counties.


Finally, below is a look at the University of Arizona WRF-NAM 10m wind showing some very interesting convective outflows. The first generated around the Tucson area this afternoon from the strong potential of our atmospheric profile today, and the second southwest of Tucson after 00z from the influence of an impulse embedded in the moist southwesterly flow early this evening:







So that will be what we’re watching closely for today.  After a review of the 12z data, the day shift will coordinate with the Phoenix office on the possible issuance of an extended long fuse Blowing Dust Advisory.  We will also be issuing a partner coordination e-mail to local and state officials on this potential, and a heightened awareness weather story for the web site and social media.

6 thoughts on “Getting Ready for a Heavy Rain and Dust event Sep 2-3

  1. Jim,
    Thank you for sharing your application of the NASA LIS with the community. I thought you summarized it well and provided some nice images to support your discussion. I did notice that the labels on the 4-panel of the LIS soil moisture variables did get cut off. So I was not sure of the exact layers, but I think the upper right was a shallow layer and the dry areas were evident in the counties being discussed for a potential Blowing Dust Advisory. Also good to see that your neighboring WFO (Phoenix) is benefiting from the TWC collaborations with SPoRT and the experienced gained. The Dust RGB imagery from MODIS and VIIRS might be interesting to check later today/tonight. There should be passes valid around 1830, 2000, and 2130 UTC and then 0530 UTC on 9/3 with latency of about 30-60 minutes for each. We would love to see a follow-up of how the day turned out, if you get the time.
    Kevin Fuell

    • Thanks Kevin. Yes, those labels did get cut off. They were volumetric, 0-10cm relative, 0-40cm relative, and 0-200cm relative. I will post a brief follow-up shortly about what happened and potentials for today.

  2. Thanks for the post, Jim. This is a very interesting application and it’s good to see that the SPoRT-LIS fields can be simultaneously helpful for both wet and dry conditions!

    Just out of curiosity, is the University of Arizona WRF that you are showing here one that has been developed by Bill Sprigg? If so, how often do you use this for operational dust modeling?

  3. Hey, informative post Tucson! I’ll be watching conditions today as well as best I can. According to the Hyunglok and Choi paper, significant dust events were almost non-existent once 0-10 cm volumetric soil moisture exceeded about 16% under any wind speed conditions. Of course, that was for the soil type specific to their study (areas with >80% sand fraction). Anyway, you all certainly do have areas below this amount in portions of Pinal, Pima and Maricopa Counties as you pointed out. It will be interesting to see what evolves with any dust if convection and subsequent strong outflow winds take place over these areas.

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