Posted by: senorwx | July 19, 2009

July 18 – A Record Breaker

In the 2-plus years we’ve been monitoring the weather here in San Pancho, yesterday had its share of records.

The sunny part of the day set its own record:  mid afternoon the Heat Index (combination of heat and humidity) reached 108°!  As a reference, last year’s high Heat Index reached 111°, but that wasn’t until August!

Even more interesting to note is that the THSW reached 121°!  The THSW, which folks think more accurately reflects the ‘feeling’ of current conditions, uses humidity and temperature like the Heat Index, but also includes the heating effects of sunshine and the cooling effects of wind (like Wind chill) to calculate an apparent temperature of what it “feels” like out in the sun.

In a word, it was hot!  If the rainy season is early, then so is the hot weather.

Now, the rain story.  It had been a beautiful, if hot, day. The dark rain clouds began to gather over the mountains by late afternoon.  They weren’t any more threatening than the black clouds that crop up over the Sierras every afternoon this time of year.  By late afternoon the clouds were passing over the pueblo and it seemed that we wouldn’t get any rain after all.

But the clouds returned with a vengence. And just before sunset the thunder and spectacular lightening began.  The precipitation was ushered in by  heavy winds, including a record gust for the year of 42 miles an hour out of the SSE just shortly after 8:30 p.m.  The previous high wind gust was back in May and registered only about 20 mph.  It was that gust that blew down some potted plants for us and I imagine did some minor damage around town.

As for the rain, not that big a deal. Only 3/4 of an inch fell. And all of it between 8:30 and 10 p.m.

As the yearly total rainfall inches toward 15 (pun intended), we’ve had two other significant storms prior to yesterday’s.  On July 6 we had 1.5 inches.  On the 11th of July another inch.  And yesterdays .73 inches.  You can see a graph of the rain over the past month right here. For those of you who enjoy the annual comparison, the rain total as of July 19, 2008 was  13.9 inches.  So we are now only one inch ahead of last season’s rainfall.

For those of you reading this from afar, there’s more to the story.  At least for those of us living in the pueblo. Sometime before the winds arrived locally, the power flickered on and off several times.  And then off.  Until (my best friend tells me) about 3:30 this morning. My impression is that we’ve had more outages this year than last.

Living in town where we can hear some of the heavy trucks that use their engines as frenos, it seems like there was little traffic on Route 200 for a while after the storm.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some washouts or rock slides along the road as a result of the downpour.

Any storm observations you may have are welcome as ‘comments’ to this blog.  Don’t be shy.  I’m thinking about adding a forum to sanpanchoweather.com to get more input on other weather observations from around the area.  What do you think?

For our household, last night’s experience reminded us to get another flashlight or lantern (it’s been on the to-do list for some time).  Other than that, the day and evening was a confirmation of how awesome (original meaning) the elements are.  And how lucky we are to observe them from here in San Pancho.

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