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Saturday, May 28, 2016

atmospheric confusion... (pm.28.may.16)>

Saturday's stats:

Low temp: 55.0F (12.8C)
High temp: 85.2F (29.6C)
Rainfall: 1.34" (3.4cm) -- final total

We're in the midst of numerous fits-and-starts of rain showers, thunder and a few brief periods of hail this evening -- under mostly cloudy skies.  Today has seemed like two totally separate days:  the one we experienced up until about 1:30pm, and then the one after.  The first part of the day featured more of our recent intense summer sunshine, with temperatures soaring rapidly into the mid-80s (ºF).  But right around noon, towering cumulus clouds started developing over the mountains, and soon matured into cumulonimbus (thunderheads), with the first faint rumbles of thunder just before 1:30pm.  The significant showers didn't materialize here in town until almost exactly 3:00pm, but then we've had off-on-on rain/thunder/hail ever since... in spite of a brief period of sunshine between 4:30 and 5:00pm.  The low temp since midnight (see above) occurred during one of the heavier rain/hail episodes this evening.  What a day.

Instability was expected to kick in again today, but I have been shocked and stunned that the resulting thundershower development (from southwestern Jammu & Kashmir all the way into western Nepal) has been so widespread and intense.  A more moisture-laden air mass has been drifting northward, up and against the outer Himalayan ranges, as some weak energy aloft drifts in from the northwest.  Also, there are some pockets of slightly colder air in the upper-levels that are gradually moving in.  If you are a regular weather watcher, you know that this is the classic recipe for thunderstorm development along the southwestern-facing slopes of the mountains -- and when you add into the equation some very warm mid-summer air in the surface layers, the stage is set.

The sun will continue to appear, but this instability will keep us on our toes all the way through Monday night or Tuesday, keeping the potential for more showers/thunder in the forecast. There should be a fresh trend toward stability by late Tuesday into Wednesday -- models are still advertising a massive ridge of high pressure for the latter half of next week, which could potentially deliver the warmest/hottest temps of the season and the year...

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