Friday 31 August 2012

27th August 2012 - Tuscon

Today we were back in the SE Of the state with more storms forecasted for the Tucson area. So we got down to the action area at about 4pm and played around with some storms, we headed east towards Sells going through the Border Patrol to take a look up Kitt Peak for a decent vantage point, unfortunately the Peak pass closes at 4pm so we had to turn around, after a quick stop at the border crossing back into the USA We pulled up in a nice vantage point to watch a Monsoon Storm just to our North West as the onset of Sunset was appoaching.

Thursday 30 August 2012

26th August 2012 - Benson and Willcox

Models today showed the moisture on a traditional Monsoon Flow (Eg SE-NW Flow) which we have not seen yet this trip. In these Set-Ups the area in the SE Of the State is always favoured so today we had a different area to chase which was good as we had different scenery to show the guys. We headed east from our base and had lunch in Globe, a nice Storm went up just south of the town and started throwing out some very nice Cg's, the gutting part of this was finding an amazing vantage point 8 miles South of Globe on Highway 77 just as the storm was dying off. We then headed South towards Tucson and took an amazing road that literally turned into a sandy dry river bed for about 40 miles just north of Benson, unnerving signs of "DO NOT ENTER IN FLASH FLOODING" started to appear quite regulary and with 2 developing Monsoon storms on the road in front of us moving at us the next hour was going to get entertaining. The car handled the roads/rivers quite well and we made it to Benson in the end, with 1 hour to Sunset and with a large Storm that was going to sustain until after dark to our East near Willcox we headed that way and found a nice vantage point to the lee of the mountains, everyone then shot some nice Cg Lightning viewing from the West. We stopped at Tucson on the way back for a bite to eat and headed back to base for a 1am finish.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

25th August 2012 - Prescott Valley

Another day and another Mogollan Rim risk. Today we were going to grab some lunch in the Ghost Town of Jerome but Storms would put a stop to that idea. We found a really nice vantage point in the Prescott Valley near Dewey-Humboldt and watched some really nice Cg strikes from storms over the mountains. Some of the cloudscapes today were stunning and we managed to get some pano shots of developing multi cell storms.

After these storms started to dissipate we headed back west towards a severe storm just north of Payson, road options would mean we could not get anywhere near this Storm as it was sat on top of mountains just 28 miles to our east but with roads to get near it we would have to cover 79 miles.
So we sat and watched it from near Sunset Point along I-17.

24th August 2012 - Prescott Valley

Today looked like a decent days chasing along and near the Mogollan Rim. So we headed north and had some lunch in Flagstaff, storms started to fire around 2pm near and to the South West of Flagstaff. So we meandered our way back south and stopped to observe a stationery storm just west of Sedona at a favourite viewpoint near Sedona Airport. We left this storm at about 4pm and headed further south towards a multi cell storm near Prescott. We got into a decent position just before sunset and found a nice vantage point just south of Chino Valley. Our monsoon storm lasted long enough for us to get some really nice Cg shots as the darkness fell.

After taking the sunset shot above we moved into our position just SE Of a really nice storm to shoot some Lightning.

Thursday 23 August 2012

22nd August 2012 - Arizona

After looking at various models today looked like the North West of the state looked decent for daytime Storms and the evening and overnight in the Phoenix area, so we left at Midday and went North West to grab some lunch in Wickenburg, Storms started to erupt and we intercepted a decent Storm just North of Wickenburg, this showed some really nice structure and tried to get briefly organised before raining itself out pretty quickly.

More decent looking storms were showing up further North up Highway 89 towards Prescott so we pushed on along the scenic route towards this location, you can really see how the Monsoon storm was raining itself out in the next picture taken from just south of Peeples Valley.

Storms were now starting to wane around 6pm so we decided now was the time to head back South towards the Phoenix Metro area and grab some dinner, knowing that an ejecting Shortwave Trough was approaching from Southern California we had some time before Storms would start approaching the Metro area so went back to the Hotel to load up the Camera gear and head out again, this time we went west along Interstate 10 towards Buckeye and watched the forward edge of the now MCS Approach, Lightning photography was very hard due to the tropical nature of the rainfall. But we all managed to get something decent Cg wise.

We then had to bust back through the core and get back to our Hotel in Scottsdale to sample round 2 of the now Severe Storm impacting the Phoenix downtown area, as the storm approached some insane Cg bolts were raining down around the hotel with instant gunshot thunder, strong thunderstorm winds around 30-40mph also hit our hotel.

All in all not a bad first day if a little frustrating at the lack of daytime Lightning action, here hoping the heat builds and gives us some proper monsoon storms over the next 9 days with little rainfall to scupper the photography.

Monday 20 August 2012

Arizona Desert Monsoon 2012

Well its been a while since I have updated this blog but tomorrow (Tues 21st August) we embark from London Heathrow on our 2nd trip of Desert Monsoon Chasing and after last years incredible chases and active pattern this year is also shaping up to be an active Monsoon chase.

This year we will be staying in Scottsdale which is a short hop from the Airport, staying at the Best Western. There looks to be some decent activity North and South of Phoenix towards Flagstaff and Tucson over the first few days so better get looking at those charts.

Will update when we have landed and got everything sorted with the kit.