the latest...

Check archived posts (right column) and stats (above) for general information.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

august's last punch... (pm.31.aug.14)>

My rain gauge on Tushita Road just below the mountaineering center showed 1.50" (3.8cm) this afternoon -- and that's the largest single-day total since the 8th of August.  Although it was a very impressive couple of hours of rain we had, it wasn't enough to keep us from finishing the month of August with a very sub-par rainfall total.  I'll be tabulating all the numbers after the month is officially over.

There was some thunder, along with gusty winds accompanying those heavy rain showers this afternoon -- mainly between about 1:00pm and 4:30pm.  Our Sunday certainly did turn on us, after a very sunny start to the morning.

All of the available weather info and data is pointing to some very significant changes as we enter September, and progress through the first week of the month.  The wind patterns throughout all layers of the atmosphere are going to be more favorable for a return of rather active monsoon conditions, after this unseasonable intermission period we've been stuck in for more than two weeks.  I think it's likely that we'll see much more persistent and consistent cloudiness and fog, along with increasing daily rainfall rates -- especially toward the middle and latter parts of the week.

The normal/average rainfall for September is around 16 inches (40.6cm), which may not be hard to chase down.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

pattern changes evolving... (pm.30.aug.14)>

It's mostly cloudy at sunset this evening, with some patchy fog in the area.  We've had another dry (or nearly dry) day, with nothing more than perhaps a few sprinkles in the area.  As per the recent routine, morning sun gave way to a considerable amount of cloudiness and some fog during the afternoon hours.

The month of August has been split right down the middle -- with an above normal amount of rain during the first half, and an absolutely paltry amount during the second half.  These last two weeks we've finally received our portion of the weak monsoon that has been being talked about all over the media since June.  Up until the 15th of this month we had been running slightly ahead of the normal pace, but that situation has obviously changed very dramatically.

But -- there is a major pattern shift getting underway across northern India, which is going to return our general atmospheric flow back to more of an east-southeasterly direction.  This is going to begin channeling in much deeper and juicer tropical moisture just in time for the arrival of September.  It's going to be very interesting to watch the changes during the Monday to Wednesday time frame during this coming week, as computer models are showing a much better chance of some significant rainfall returning to our area.

Friday, August 29, 2014

incredibly feeble... (pm.29.aug.14)>

I've been away from home the last few days, so I haven't been able to keep an eye on temperatures, humidity and rainfall info that I normally monitor.  It doesn't matter so much, though, since things have been extremely uneventful.

These last 13 days or so have featured the longest stretch of generally inactive monsoon conditions that I can ever remember occurring during the month of August.  It is very understandable that we're being lulled into thinking that the monsoon season has come to an end, since it has seemed much more like late September.

However, as I mentioned earlier this week, there are still signs that deeper, richer and juicer tropical moisture is going to ease back in our direction as we transition into the new month.  It's going to be a rude awakening when we end up with a saturated atmosphere capable of producing persistent clouds, fog, drizzle and periods of significant rainfall after this recent long stretch of a very feeble monsoon.  Stay tuned as we wait for those changes to occur...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

weak, not gone... (pm.26.aug.14)>

Tuesday's stats:

Low temp: 63.3F (17.4C)
High temp: 77.4F (25.2C)
Rainfall: 0.09" (2mm)

There have been some light rain showers in the area since around 6:00pm this evening, but it was dry up until then, with a mix of clouds and sun all day.  My high temp on Tushita Road just below the mountaineering center (above) was the warmest of the entire month of August.

I really have nothing much to report, in terms of any kind of significant changes in this very weak monsoon phase which has been dominating our weather pattern for the better part of the past two weeks.  We're going to continue dealing with this sun/cloud/occasional fog combo, along with a good chance of at least widely scattered rain shower/thunder development during the afternoon and evening hours.  It's looking more and more like our chances of catching up to normal rainfall amounts for August are very remote, though.

Everywhere I go I overhear people (locals and foreigners alike) saying things like "this year's monsoon is over".  I have to bite my tongue every time I hear it, because if anything, extended range data and computer models are showing increasing tropical moisture and BETTER chances of significant rains as we cross into September.  There's nothing even remotely resembling a permanent end to Monsoon 2014 on the horizon.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

easy treatment... (pm.24.aug.14)>

Sunday's stats:

Low temp: 63.5F (17.5C)
High temp: 73.0F (22.8C)
Rainfall: trace

It's partly cloudy this evening, after narrowly escaping some significant thundershower activity here in McLeod proper.  Today featured a lot of sunshine until the late morning, when clouds and fog rapidly developed (again) -- leading to a couple of hours of very thick clouds and fog during the late afternoon.  It really looked like we were going to get dumped on, like yesterday evening, but there were nothing other than a few sprinkles and very brief, light showers, along with some rumbling thunder for a while between about 4:15 and 5:30pm.

The second half of August this year (so far) has been nothing short of surreal, with monsoon conditions lapsing into an extended very weak phase.  We're suspended in a kind of limbo state, where we're tempted to think the monsoon has totally abandoned us -- while actually it's really not at all safe to say that yet.  The normal/average monsoon withdrawal date is still more than three weeks away, and all kinds of things could happen in that amount of time, and even beyond.

In the near term, we can expect this sun/cloud/fog combo to continue on a daily basis, along with a good chance of some PM shower/thunder development affecting us.  The extended range data is hinting at a resurgence of deeper moisture by the end of this week, which could increase our rainfall potential just in time for September's arrival.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

a reality check... (pm.23.aug.14)>

Saturday's stats:

Low temp: 60.6F (15.9C)
High temp: 74.7F (23.7C)
Rainfall: 1.00" (2.5cm) -- updated @ 8:00pm

We've broken our nearly week-long mid-monsoon drought with a period of moderate to heavy rain showers early this evening.  There were a few sprinkles and brief light showers developing around the area as early as 2:00pm, but it wasn't until about 5:05pm that the sky really opened up.  That heavier rain only lasted about 30-40 minutes, but it was the most significant dumping in McLeod proper in at least a week.  I'll check the rain gauge later this evening and post the exact amount received.  There are some lingering light showers at the time of this writing, with the clouds breaking up a bit.

I still have no appreciable shift in the overall weather pattern to report.  Today we happened to find ourselves the recipients of some impressive rain shower action, but the development of that activity here along the front slopes of the mountains (from Himachal through Uttarakhand and into western Nepal) has been very random the last several days.  We'll have to be prepared for a downpour each and every day, especially during the afternoon/early evening hours, but there will be many more dry hours than wet ones.  

We'll also be able to come up with some sunshine on a daily basis as well -- along with the periods of clouds and fog -- all the way through the 5-7 day forecast period...

Friday, August 22, 2014

dullness... (pm.22.aug.14)>

Friday's stats:

Low temp: 65.8F (18.8C)
High temp: 72.5F (22.5C)
Rainfall: trace

It's almost inconceivable that we've had such a radical and dramatic pendulum swing during the past week to ten days or so.  Up until about the 12th of the month, we were receiving enough rainfall on a daily basis to keep us well ahead of a curve which would allow us to finish August well above normal.  Since then, our daily rains have sputtered out to almost nothing, and we're now on a pace to finish the month way way way below normal.  Check the UPDATED RAINFALL TALLY on the tab above to scroll through the specific rainfall data for this monsoon season.

Sunshine has been a little harder to come by during the last couple of days... with plenty of clouds and occasional fog hugging our mountain slopes.  BUT -- rainfall during the past six days has been scanty at best, at least here in the immediate McLeod area.  The agreement among the various computer models of an increasing chance of significant rains has failed to materialize, as atmospheric dynamics are just not in sync, it seems.

A downpour of moderate showers could occur any day though -- in spite of a pattern which is going to shift/change very little during the next week or so.

atmospheric malaise... (am.22.aug.14)>

There are more clouds around this morning than we've seen the previous few mornings, but there's some sun breaking through as well.  My low temp in the upper part of town has been 65.8F (18.8C), with just a trace of rainfall overnight, thanks to some light drizzle during the evening.  The current humidity reading is 86%.

My rain gauge has been doing very little work recently, in fact, I've recorded only 0.10" (2mm+) of rain in the past five days.  That's an insanely small amount for the third week of August, obviously.  Overall, the vast array of data supplied by various computer models continues to show a little better/more favorable scenario for the development of more substantial rain shower action -- but none of that "theory" has manifested in reality as of this moment.

As I've mentioned -- though there's no sign of any kind of dramatic resurgence of truly deep/rich tropical moisture (and the dynamics to stir up longer-lasting and heavier rains) during the coming several days, there is also no indication of a long-term pattern shift that will truly put an end to this year's monsoon.  It's still a few weeks too early for that.  Seems we'll continue to languish in this very tepid phase, until further notice...

By the way, as I'm sure everyone's already heard by now, yesterday's 4.9 earthquake had an epicenter very close to us -- just 24km (15mi) to the north-northeast near Bharmour in the Chamba Valley, directly on the other side of the Dhauladhars.  A little too close for comfort!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

sharing the deficit... (pm.20.aug.14)>

Wednesday's stats:

Low temp: 64.5F (18.1C)
High temp: 74.8F (23.8C)
Rainfall: 0.09" ( 2mm) -- updated @ 820pm

We're wrapping up the fourth consecutive day of very weak monsoon conditions -- and it's now lasted long enough to make people start talking about an early demise of Monsoon 2014.  Although there's no indication right now of a return to a really strong and robust phase of the monsoon, there's also little chance that it's going to disappear altogether.  

Here in the immediate McLeod Ganj area (along with many other locations right along the front slopes of the Himalayas), we've seen rainfall totals this season running close to average, if not a little bit above -- compared to below average rainfall rates over the vast majority of the Indian subcontinent.  But during the past week or so, our daily rainfall rates have dropped considerably as well.

Our recent combination of morning sunshine and rapidly developing clouds and fog, along with occasional mainly light PM rain showers may morph into something a bit wetter during the latter part of this week.  I think we stand a better chance of picking up some heavier rainfall between now and Saturday night -- but still nothing really all that impressive for the latter part of August.  We still need about 15" (38cm) of rain by the end of the month to reach the historical/climatic norms... which could be quite a challenge.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

oh so feeble... (pm.19.aug.14)>

Tuesday's stats:

Low temp: 64.0F (17.8C)
High temp: 74.8F (23.8C)
Rainfall: trace

My rain gauge has measured a total of 0.01" (less than 1mm) of rain in the past three days, which is now by far the driest stretch of weather since this monsoon season began to crank up in late June.

There have been a few fleeting patches of blue sky in the last half hour, otherwise we have mostly cloudy skies with patches of fog in the area as sunset approaches.  There were a few sprinkles of rain between about 2:00pm and 4:00pm, and there was a brief shower (maybe 3 or 4 minutes) at my location on Tushita Road below the mountaineering center around 3:00pm -- but it wasn't quite enough to register a measurement.  Once again our morning sunshine got challenged by rapid cloud/fog development by the late morning.

This relatively rain-free situation is highly unusual for this stage of August, but each year, we tend to get a few consecutive days of scant rainfall at least once or twice during the course of the entire monsoon season.  Now is our time for a break, apparently.  Still, there's enough latent moisture in the air (especially in the lower levels) to get piled up against the mountains -- providing us with a lot of cloudiness and fog.

It looks like conditions will become a bit more favorable for a return to more significant shower action as we head toward the end of the week.  Right now I see no surge of truly robust monsoon conditions during the coming several days or more, though, so it's probable that our total rainfall for the season is going to start lagging behind the normal pace... after running at least a bit ahead of normal up to this point.

our holiday continues... (am.19.aug.14)>

After a rocking start to the month of August, average daily rainfall has gradually slowed down during the past ten days or so -- and has almost fizzled out completely during the past couple of days.  Check the UPDATED RAINFALL TALLY (tab above) to scroll through the day-by-day rainfall amounts that have been recorded since June.

We have partly cloudy skies on this Tuesday morning, with a humidity reading of 85%.  My overnight low temp has been 64.0F (17.8C), and there has been no rain since those brief showers last evening.

Although we're in a major retreat phase of monsoon conditions, it's pretty tough to totally erase lingering low-level moisture from the equation this time of year.  It's something that is usually entirely overlooked by computer models, and can provide surprises here along the mountain slopes.  Yesterday's beautiful morning sunshine was eclipsed by rapid cloud and fog development by mid-day -- the fog was very thick for awhile during the evening, with some drizzle and brief showers around the area as well.  We'll likely see more of that disparity in conditions between AM and PM as we progress through the rest of this week.  In fact, the risk of significant rainfall will be on the increase once again, as deeper moisture creeps back in our direction by Thursday or Friday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

sun to fog to showers... (pm.18.aug.14)>

*Update @ 8:04pm... My rain gauge here on Tushita Road in the upper part of town shows only 0.01" (less than 1mm) from our evening showers.  I'm sure it was considerably more than that in the main market of McLeod between about 6:30 and 6:45pm.  Oh well.  Still, it's pretty easy to say that our rainfall total during the past two days has been the lowest since the very beginning of the monsoon season in late June.

*Update @ 7:08pm... Those rain showers came and went very quickly.  Will check the rain gauge and post the amount later this evening.

Monday's stats:

Low temp: 62.0F (16.7C)
High temp: 74.7F (23.7C)
Rainfall: trace -- as of 4:30pm

It's cloudy and foggy at the moment, with rain shower intensity rapidly picking up in just the past few minutes.  Up until very recently, it was looking like we could have ended up with two consecutive days without measurable rainfall -- for the first time since late June.  We had a good amount of sunshine until the early afternoon, but the clouds and fog gradually developed and thickened as the day wore on, leading to pretty gloomy conditions since around 3:00pm.  Humidity today has averaged in the 70-90% range, though it's climbed higher in the past hour or two.

The computer models are still showing a shocking lack of precipitation development across most of the western Himalayan region during the next two or three days, as the ingredients necessary for true monsoon conditions remain weak.  Unseasonably dry air in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere is parked over most of northwest India, though there is still a good amount of lingering moisture in the lower levels.  This is a classic recipe for morning sunshine, but then some cloud/fog development towards the mid-day and early afternoon hours -- along with a risk of some PM shower/thundershower development over the mountains as well.

All in all, the situation during the rest of this week will be much more tolerable than what is normally happening this time of year.  However, we'll have to be ready for the next advance/surge of deeper tropical moisture (and its effects) by Friday or so.  There's still plenty of this year's monsoon season yet to endure...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

intermission... (pm.17.aug.14)>

Sunday's stats:

Low temp: 61.7F (16.5C)
High temp: 72.9F (22.7C)
Rainfall: none

If you scroll through the UPDATED RAINFALL TALLY tab above, and then compare it to the amount of rainfall we had today (zero), you'll see that the fact that it didn't rain at all today (at least not as of the time of this writing) is a pretty big deal.  Although we've had fairly regular periods of sunshine this monsoon season and not very long stretches of persistent clouds and fog, the rainfall totals here in McLeod have actually been running a little bit above normal up until recently.

It's foggy as we approach sunset this evening, but our Sunday has featured a good amount of sunshine alternating with fog and periods of clouds.  There were even a couple of brief rumbles of thunder around 3:00pm, but as I've said, I didn't witness any rain drops.

The weather charts/data are looking pretty remarkable for most of this new week.  A west-northwesterly flow in the mid- and upper-levels of the atmosphere has channeled in some unusually dry air for this time of year, and has successfully pushed the vast majority of the juicy tropical moisture well to our southeast.  It doesn't look like atmospheric patterns will be favorable for that moisture to surge back in our direction until perhaps Friday or Saturday, so we may be in line for an extended intermission here in the middle of Monsoon 2014.

On the other hand, the Dhauladhar thunder machine is notoriously naughty in relatively dry/fair weather patterns like this, so we're going to have to remain on guard for potential thundershower development during the PM hours...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

weak phase ahead... (pm.16.aug.14)>

Saturday's stats:

Low temp: 59.9F (15.5C)
High temp: 70.0F (21.1C)
Rainfall since midnight: 0.44" (1.1cm)
24 hour rainfall: 0.83" (2.1cm)

Both sunshine and some lingering patches of cloudiness are on the scene during the last hour of daylight this evening -- it's actually very beautiful.  Today has featured some radical swings between clouds and sun, along with a couple of very brief periods of rain showers which didn't add very much to the moderate amounts we received during the wee hours of the morning.  For the third day in a row, I recorded a high temp of exactly 70F.

Although there has been extremely heavy rainfall across many parts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand during the past four days, we never really got a taste of it here in the immediate McLeod area.  It seems it was our turn this monsoon season to get skipped over.  It's kind of a blessing, though, since there were numerous reports of landslides, flooding and even some fatalities as close to us as Mandi and Shimla districts during the past few days.  I've measured less than 4" (10.2cm) of rain in the past week, which is very sub-par for mid-August.

And now it appears that we're heading into a week in which deep monsoon moisture is going to be in a major retreat phase.  The weather charts this week are looking much more like mid-September than mid-August, with a relatively dry atmosphere settling in, and genuine tropical moisture all but entirely chased away -- temporarily.  The afternoon mountain thundershower potential will be in play, however, and we all know that an hour or two of moderate to heavy rains can boil up fairly easily.

in transition again... (am.16.aug.14)>

We had a rowdy round of showers and thunder during the middle of the night.  I had about 0.70" (1.8cm) at my location on Tushita Road below the mountaineering center, which is still nothing close to the kinds of rainfall amounts the computer models have continued to threaten us with.  My overnight low temp of 59.9F (15.5C) was the coolest I've recorded for the month of August.  There is some sunshine trying break through the clouds early this morning, with the humidity at 89%.

Some drier air nudging in from the west and northwest is trying to displace the tropical/monsoon air mass over northern India -- but there could be yet some battle lines drawn during the next 24 hours or so.  We're going to have to remain on guard for more rain/thunder development today and tonight, but sunshine is going to be trying to bust out as well.  

It looks like we may be seeing quite a lot of the sun during the early part of the new week, as our atmosphere dries out considerably for this time of the year.  Still... we've had measurable rainfall each and every day since the 12th of July, so some afternoon mountain thundershower development is a good bet, even if the overall pattern is looking drier and calmer for a few days...

Friday, August 15, 2014

waiting for something... (pm.15.aug.14)>

Friday's stats:

Low temp: 63.4F (17.4C)
High temp: 70.0F (21.1C)
Rainfall since midnight: 0.52" (1.3cm)

We're wrapping up yet another sub-par day in terms of rainfall here in the immediate McLeod area.  Despite dumpings of heavy rain which have been occurring in almost all directions around us since Wednesday, we've really missed out.  Things usually balance out in the long run.... but we are definitely way overdue for a major downpour.

As sunset approaches, our skies are mostly cloudy, with some patches of thick fog drifting around, along with a couple of random sprinkles of rain.  Most of the rainfall since midnight occurred during the pre-dawn hours, with very little measurable rain after about 10:30 or 11:00am.  We even had some sunshine which broke out a bit during the early afternoon.

There have been too many times to mention that we've received an extended period of heavy rain just when I was on the brink of giving up on it.  That may be the case later tonight into Saturday, as we're still dealing with an atmosphere that could trigger that kind of scenario anywhere, anytime, here along the front slopes of the mountains.

A pattern shift is scheduled -- starting on Sunday, which could give us at least a couple of days with unusually low humidity for mid-August, along with rain chances confined to afternoon mountain thundershower development.

normal for mid-august... (am.15.aug.14)>

It has started raining lightly again (at 7:00am), after a night of off and on light to moderate rain, along with some thunder/lightning.  My rain gauge shows just 0.64" (1.6cm) since my last report at 9:45pm -- that's a fairly respectable amount, but certainly not very heavy.  I'm recording an overnight low temp of 64.9F (18.3C), and the humidity reading is hovering in the 95-100% range.

This morning's satellite pics indicate that the heaviest rain has been occurring not far off to our south and east during the past several hours -- so I wouldn't be surprised if some areas between Kangra and Shimla have picked up several inches of rain since midnight.  We've remained on the very northwestern fringes of the really heavy stuff, it appears.

More heavy rain potential exists all along the mountain slopes of Himachal Pradesh during the next 36 hours or so.  Although we've missed out on impressive amounts here in the immediate McLeod vicinity so far, our turn could yet come.  It looks like the deepest tropical moisture will start to retreat again by tomorrow (Sat) evening, with generally improving weather conditions for a few days during the early part of next week... apart from mainly afternoon thundershower development.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

pregnant with potential... (pm.14.aug.14)>

Thursday's stats:

Low temp: 64.9F (18.3C)
High temp: 70.0F (21.1C)
Rainfall: 0.29" (7mm) -- updated @ 9:45pm

Light rain is in progress at this hour of the evening, and we're socked in with clouds and fog.  There have been numerous periods of drizzle, sprinkles and light rain showers today... especially since right around noon... but the actual accumulation in my rain gauge in the upper part of town has been very paltry (as of the late afternoon).  The sunshine did try to break through during the late morning, but cloudiness and occasional thick fog have been in control for the most part.

It has looked and felt much more like the middle of monsoon season the last couple of days, mainly due to the predominance of grey clouds and fog.  BUT -- at least here in the immediate McLeod area, we've yet to see anything more than light amounts of rain.  Last week there was more sunshine, but also heavier dumpings of rain during the afternoon and overnight hours.  The last several days we've failed to come up with anything much more than a half inch during a 24-hour period.

Every single one of the computer model solutions is showing the development of very heavy rains (and possibly some thunderstorms) across our area between tonight and Saturday evening.  The computer model data has been pretty lousy during the past few weeks, quite honestly, but with copious amounts of tropical moisture in place, and some dynamic energy and cooler upper-level temperatures easing in from the northwest during the coming 48 hours, we could have an interesting situation shaping up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

much juicier... (pm.13.aug.14)>

Wednesday's stats:

Low temp: 66.0F (18.9C)
High temp: 69.8F (21.0C)
Rainfall: 0.39" (1cm) -- updated at 8:00pm

We've been in the midst of a major atmospheric transition since late last night and early this morning, as the first in a new series of surges of juicy tropical air pushes up against the mountains.  One of the largest discrepancies in rainfall totals for our area that I've ever seen occurred today -- our weather observer near Norbulingka recorded 5.8" (14.7cm) of rain, with most of that happening between 10:30am and 12:30pm.  You can see from the stats above that my total for the entire day in the upper part of McLeod Ganj was only a very small fraction of that.

There has been much more cloudiness and fog today here in McLeod than we've had to endure recently, along with off and on mainly light rain showers since just before 11:00am.  Humidity has been in the 88-100% range throughout the day.

As I've been alluding to for a few days now, we've got a much better chance of heavier rainfall during the rest of this week -- as some cooler air seeps in aloft, and over-runs the moisture-packed tropical air mass in place in the lower levels of the atmosphere.  Our friends and neighbors downhill from us already got hammered today, and it's probably just a matter of time before we see our rainfall amounts increasing as well.  There are signs that the next drying-out trend will begin on Sunday, and last through at least the first part of next week...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

strange season... (pm.12.aug.14)>

Tuesday's stats:

Low temp: 64.4F (18.0C)
High temp: 74.5F (23.6C)
Rainfall: 0.51" (1.3cm) -- updated at 9:20pm

We're in the midst of another August evening that doesn't look or feel much like August.  The persistence of thick clouds and fog this year has been lacking -- which is very odd, but not really anything to complain about.  We've had more of the usual back-and-forth between fleeting periods of sun, clouds and fog all day, with rain shower development holding off until a bit later in the afternoon.  Although there were a couple of light showers by 1:30pm, the moderate to briefly heavier showers didn't really get going until after 3:00pm.  It has dried out again since around 5:30pm or so.

I have not personally experienced a monsoon season quite like this one.  As I've mentioned several times during the past five weeks, we've had MORE sun, LESS fog, generally LOWER average humidity levels, but a bit MORE rainfall than average.  I've recorded measurable rainfall each and every day since the 13th of July, and usually the daily total has exceeded a half inch.  You can peruse the UPDATED RAINFALL TALLY tab above if you're interested in the daily play-by-play.

Today was the fourth day in a row that we've been dealing with a general slow-down in daily rainfall averages, along with some decent periods of sunshine and lower humidity readings.  It's looking like this respite will be coming to an end fairly quickly, however, with all of the computer models showing various degrees of increasing moisture and heavier rain potential surging back into our area as we move into the latter part of the week.  I think it's likely that we'll get hit with at least one or two rounds of very heavy rains (anytime of the day or night) by the time Saturday rolls around...

Monday, August 11, 2014

a recovery period... (pm.11.aug.14)>

Monday's stats:

Low temp: 65.1F (18.4C)
High temp: 72.9F (22.7C)
Rainfall: 0.67" (1.7cm)

As August evenings go, this one is about as calm, quiet, clear, dry and beautiful as they get.  There are some patches of clouds around as we approach sunset, but visibility is very good at the moment, with some nice glimpses of sunshine.  Things went almost exactly according to plan today -- with lots of variability between sun, clouds, patchy fog, and rain showers.  Almost all of the rain (and thunder) happened between about 12:20pm and 3:40pm, and my rain gauge in the upper part of town showed a total almost exactly equal to the one recorded yesterday afternoon.

Although it's still been raining every day, there's definitely been a major slow-down since Saturday.  I've recorded only about an inch and a half (nearly 4cm) during the past three days... and that's less than the daily average last week.  The average moisture content of the air mass as a whole is quite low for the middle of August, and that's allowing us to enjoy these unseasonable doses of sunshine.

We could have another day or so of this before we shift back into a more active and robust phase of monsoon conditions.  I think we could see things turn for the worse by tomorrow evening, or perhaps on Wednesday... with a better chance of some extended periods of clouds, fog, and heavy rains lasting into Saturday.

Check tabs above for other weather info...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

a respite of sorts... (pm.10.aug.14)>

Sunday's stats:

Low temp: 64.1F (17.8C)
High temp: 72.8F (22.7C)
Rainfall: 0.68" (1.7cm)

I've measured just 0.88" (2.2cm) of rain in the past two days, which is quite a change from the large (and sometimes mammoth) daily totals we were receiving for about 12 days in a row previously.  Surprises are the name of the game here along the front slopes of the Dhauladhars, but it looks to me like we'll continue to enjoy some nice sunny breaks and generally lower 24-hour rainfall amounts during the next couple of days.  A return to more generally saturated conditions and heavier, longer-lasting rains could occur by very late Tuesday or Wednesday...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

perhaps a slow-down... (pm.09.aug.14)>

Saturday's stats:

Low temp: 63.5F (17.5C)
High temp: 71.8F (22.1C)
Rainfall: 0.19" (5mm)

There's a blanket of thick fog across the area at the moment, which has been with us most of the early evening.  We've had a few spells of sunshine today as well -- mainly early this morning and again during the mid- to late afternoon hours.  Rainfall today, at least up til now, has been very light -- there were some moderate rain showers between about 1:00 and 2:00pm, but they were brief.

There's plenty of moisture trapped in the lowest layers of the atmosphere, but some drier air has been trying to nudge its way in in the mid- and upper-levels since last evening.  This retreat of the deepest tropical moisture is expected to continue until about late Tuesday, when it will begin surging in from the south and southeast once again.  Computer models are still pretty much useless, with multiple solutions and very little agreement on when/where and how much precipitation will develop here along the leading edge of Himalayan chains.

It could be that we'll be able to enjoy two or three days of relatively lower daily rainfall totals -- with most of it confined to afternoon convection (thunder/downpours) breaking out over the mountains.  But I have to admit that my confidence is not really all that high.  This time of year it takes only the most subtle changes in wind patterns throughout the different layers of the atmosphere to cause heavy rain shower development which remains nearly stationary.  Anyway.... it would be really nice to get a break right about now.

Friday, August 8, 2014

way ahead of the pace... (pm.08.aug.14)>

Friday's stats:

Low temp: 63.0F (17.2C)
High temp: 67.1F (19.5C)
Rainfall since midnight: 3.25" (8.3cm)

  • There's been a good amount of sunshine breaking out this evening, with some lingering clouds, along with some random patches of fog further downhill.
  • The rainfall total since midnight has been huge (see above), and when we add yesterday's amount -- most of which occurred after about 5:30pm -- we're talking about 4.80" (12.2cm) at my location on Tushita Road in the upper part of town.
  • I've received a report of more than 7" (17.8cm) further downhill near Norbulingka, with major flooding of roads during the early morning hours.
  • We're running way ahead of the normal pace of rainfall for the month of August.
Computer model moisture profiles are showing a fairly significant retreat of the deepest tropical moisture from Himachal Pradesh starting tomorrow, and lasting maybe through Monday.  However, that may only mean a return to mainly afternoon rain/thunder development for us, with some heavy downpours still likely.

Some nice periods of sun will be returning as well, so this weird monsoon season will continue to feature a vast array of extremes...

overnight rain... (am.08.aug.14)>

The latest rainfall numbers:

Since midnight: 2.05" (5.2cm)
Since 9:00pm last night: 2.44" (6.2cm)
During last 24 hours: 3.60" (9.1cm)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

middle of the middle... (pm.07.aug.14)>

Thursday's stats:

Low temp: 65.7F (18.6C)
High temp: 70.7F (21.5C)
Rainfall: 1.16" (2.9cm)
-- updated at 9:10pm

It's cloudy with some areas of fog this evening -- and light to moderate rain is falling at this moment.  My rainfall total in the upper part of town was actually much lower today than it's been in the last ten days or so, but with the rain showers intensifying this evening, that could easily change.  As anticipated, our sunshine supply was much more limited today than it has been recently.  There were some areas of rain and thunder already pushing through very early this morning, and the clouds and occasional fog held sway for the vast majority of the day.

We're now in the very middle of the middle of the monsoon season, so it's not very realistic to expect anything other than some temporary breaks in the action.  Deep and rich tropical moisture will ebb and flow up against the front slopes of the mountains over the course of the next 5-7 days, and that's going to keep things rather active for the most part.  The irony is, when the mid- and upper-levels dry out enough to allow us to enjoy some sunshine, that solar energy only serves to warm things up, destabilize the air mass, and make use of all the latent moisture lying in wait in the lower-levels.  The days with the most sunshine recently have also been the days with the heaviest rain during the PM hours.  It's just hard to escape the wetness this time of year.

Some of the very extended range computer model data is showing some rather dramatic drying after about the 17th of the month -- but I'm not taking that very seriously...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

daily doses... (pm.06.aug.14)>

Wednesday's stats:

Low temp: 64.8F (18.2C)
High temp: 76.1F (24.5C)
Rainfall: 1.37" (3.5cm)

  • We had nearly full sunshine until around 10:30am, and that boosted my high temperature today to its warmest since the 11th of July.
  • Clouds thickened quickly during the late morning, with some sprinkles/light showers appearing by 1:30-2:00pm.
  • A period of heavy rain and thunder between roughly 2:20 and 4:00pm provided a rainfall total well above one inch -- and that makes nine of the last ten days with the day's amount exceeding an inch.
  • I've measured nearly 11 inches (27.9cm) of rain during these first six days of August.

At about the mid-way point of the season, Monsoon 2014 has been full of contradictions.  I'm not sure I remember a monsoon with so little fog and so much sunshine by this stage of the game.  On the other hand, the amount of rain we've been receiving -- at least here in McLeod proper -- is running above normal.  You can check and cross-reference the WETTEST MONTHS and UPDATED RAINFALL TALLY tabs above to see the specific numbers.

After such an extended period of moderate to heavy rainfall totals on a daily basis, it wouldn't hurt for us to get a respite of at least two or three days.  Unfortunately, the data doesn't favor that scenario.  We'll have to be content with occasional periods of sunshine in the midst of the downpours -- but even the sun could be less prevalent during the coming days than we've seen recently.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

repetition... (pm.05.aug.14)>

Tuesday's stats:*

Low temp: 64.9F (18.3C)
High temp: 70.2F (21.2C)
Rainfall: 1.86" (4.7cm)

I haven't been posting recently, because I am bored to death with the sound of my fingers clicking on the keyboard as I type the same thing over and over again day after day -- and I get the impression you're bored with it as well.

We've had relatively short-duration heavy downpours of rain for several days in a row now, with most of it occurring for a couple of hours during the 2:00 to 5:30pm range.  Yesterday afternoon I measured 3.17" (8.1cm) in just an hour and a half, and late this afternoon we had another hour and a half or so of very heavy rain (though I haven't been home to check the amount yet).

At the same time, we've also been able to squeeze out more than the normal amount of daily sunshine for early August, and that's made these heavy daily rainfall totals a bit more tolerable.  If you scroll through blog posts since the last few days of July, you can see that the scenario we're dealing with has changed little, and it seems it will change little during the coming few days as well.

If you're interested in detailed rainfall info for the monsoon season, you can find it on the UPDATED RAINFALL TALLY tab above.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

elephant season

Sunday's stats:

Low temp: 62.4F (16.9C)
High temp: 72.7F (22.6C)
Rainfall: 1.78" (4.5cm) -- updated

the combo continues... (am.03.aug.14)>

We remain in a mode when/where the sky condition changes very rapidly and frequently, but it is mostly cloudy with some patchy fog at this particular moment.  I've measured an additional 0.20" (5mm) of rain since about 7:40pm last evening, and almost all of that occurred before midnight.  The low temp at my location here in the upper part of town was 65.7F (18.7C), and the humidity has been in the 90-100% range.

In the last seven days, I've recorded 13.71" (34.8cm) of rain.  You can do the math yourself and see what that means on an average/daily basis.  It's a lot, yes, but it's actually fairly typical for daily/weekly averages here in the very core weeks of the monsoon season.  I've been thinking that we'd see at least a few days of slightly lower daily rainfall averages by now -- but that hasn't happened yet.  The slightly drier air that has been chipping away at our air mass in the middle and upper levels has only served to deliver enough sunshine to heat up the lower levels and get the whole convection process cranked up -- leading to some moderate to heavy rain shower and thunder development.

I get asked often, "Is it safe to come to McLeod at this time?"  "Are there landslides?"

I can say that there are always some minor landslides and road wash-outs occurring around the area this time of year, but it's impossible to say exactly where and when they will happen, and often it's hard to get accurate information on specifics.  As far as the safety issue is concerned -- this place is packed with Indian tourists (and some foreigners as well) who don't seem too worried about it.  I have learned to refrain from offering travel advice -- it's way too subjective, and people have vastly different levels of tolerance and capacities for risk and adventure!  If you're traveling these mountain roads this time of year, you just have to be smart and cautious.

CURRENT FORECAST details are on the tab above.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

sun & heavy rain... (pm.02.aug.14)>

Saturday's stats:

Low temp: 64.9F (18.3C)
High temp: 73.9F (23.3C)
Rainfall: 1.78" (4.5cm) -- as of 7:40pm

We've got some beautiful cloudscape views around the area before sunset this evening, with a mix of clouds, fog and some patches of blue sky.  Today has featured everything from periods of warm and muggy sunshine to very heavy downpours of rain with thunder.  The showers didn't start developing until around 1:30pm, but gained momentum throughout the rest of the afternoon, leading to a few periods of very heavy rain which occurred mainly between about 2:45 and 5:00pm.  My high temp in the upper part of town (see above) was the warmest since the 15th of July.

We really got dumped on this afternoon, but a look at the visible satellite photos show that nearly all of the rain/thunder development occurred right along the Dhauladhars, so there wasn't much action a lot further downhill toward the plains.  As we've been talking about all the time lately -- this mid-monsoon sunshine is certainly nice to behold, but all it does is cause our moisture-laden air mass to heat up, become very unstable, and explode into convective shower/thunder development over the mountains.

The atmospheric flow from the surface into the upper-levels will continue to favor this type of weather pattern/scenario for another couple of days -- meaning we'll be able to enjoy more periods of sun, but also have to be on guard for the potential development of more of these heavy downpours, mainly during the late morning through early evening hours.  There are signs of less sunshine, though, as we head toward the middle of the new week.

CURRENT FORECAST details are available on the tab at the top of the page.

Friday, August 1, 2014

clouds-sun-fog-rain... (pm.01.aug.14)>

Friday's stats:

Low temp: 65.1F (18.4C)
High temp: 70.7F (21.5C) -- updated
Rainfall: 0.98" (2.5cm)

It's a variable end to a variable day, with clumps of clouds, patches of fog, some haze, and also some sunshine thrown into the mix.  As expected, we did end up with some fairly decent periods of sun today -- early this morning and then again this afternoon and evening -- but we also had to endure a significant amount of rain which occurred mostly between about 9:00am and 1:30pm.  I was surprised that the showers got going so early, but happy that they tapered off early enough to salvage a good part of the day.

By the time the 1st of August arrives, most of us are usually over the initial novelty factor of the monsoon season, and the reality of this long slog starts to sink in.  We're not even halfway through the season -- there's a lot more to come -- but already I've measured 50% of the normal June through September average rainfall.  The normal rainfall for the month of August is only slightly less than that of July, so we could come up with another 35-40" (89-102cm) during the next 30 days.

Our recent variability and dramatic swings between clouds, fog, sun and rain are expected to continue over the weekend, though the computer model data is showing lower daily rainfall totals.  These subtleties may mean very little in actuality, but it's possible that we'll get some slight relief.  Looking further ahead, it looks like mid-monsoon business as usual through most of next week.

Check tabs above for CURRENT FORECAST and other info...

august steps in... (am.01.aug.14)>

The visibility is very low due to fog at my location on Tushita Road just below the mountaineering center at the moment... but just 15 minutes ago there was no fog.  There were some light rain showers just before sunrise, which deposited 0.05" (1mm) in my gauge, and I'm recording an overnight low temp of 65.1F (18.4C).  Humidity is currently 95%.

Thanks to 9.90" (25.1cm) of rain during the last four days of July, the monthly total ended up at 38.25" (97.2cm) -- and that's slightly less than one inch ABOVE normal.  A week ago, it had looked like the deficit might be too much to overcome, but we really made a run for it during the final days of the month.  I have a report of 46.5" (118.1cm) near Norbulingka -- so the 'weak monsoon' that has been talked about all over the media is not the reality here in our immediate area.

Variable and changeable conditions are going to be the story for us as we head into the weekend and early next week.  The overall moisture content of this air mass, averaged throughout the various layers, is projected to decrease slightly.  That decrease has already been enough to provide us with some short sunny breaks the last day or two, and I think we'll see more rapid swings between clouds, fog and peeks of sunshine during the coming several days.  In the midst of that, however, there will be some rain showers and thunder at times -- mainly during the mid-day into the afternoon/early evening hours.  A heavy downpour could occur as well, so don't get fooled by the sun.  Keep the rain gear handy.

CURRENT FORECAST specifics and other info can be found on tabs above.