Lightning and Reflections

We have been in a “monsoon break” in northern Arizona for a week or so, but there can still be some convection during these periods. A few days ago, some isolated showers and thunderstorms developed to the north of the San Francisco Peak in the late afternoon and early evening.

Lightning reflected in the ponds of the Kachina Wetlands.
Lightning reflected in the ponds of the Kachina Wetlands.
Lightning reflected in the ponds of the Kachina Wetlands.
Lightning reflected in the ponds of the Kachina Wetlands.

This was a good opportunity to capture images of thunderstorms and lightning with reflections in the ponds of the Kachina Wetlands.

Radar image of storms north of the San Francisco Peaks.
Radar image of storms north of the San Francisco Peaks.

Above is an image showing the thunderstorms and lightning north of the peaks.

One more thing: the mosquitos were pretty intense—but it was worth it.

Sunset Convection and Lightning

It was a pleasant evening in Sedona watching thunderstorms as the sun sank lower in the western sky. It was mostly clear in that direction allowing sunlight to illuminate storms in the east. This is one of my favorite setups: clear in the west and stormy in the east.

Early evening sunlight illuminates thunderstorms and Cathedral Rock in Sedona.
Early evening sunlight illuminates thunderstorms and Cathedral Rock in Sedona.
Early evening sunlight illuminates thunderstorms.
Early evening sunlight illuminates thunderstorms.
Lightning from a distant storm after sunset.
Lightning from a distant storm after sunset.
Lightning from a distant storm after sunset.
Lightning from a distant storm after sunset.

The setting sun produced wonderful pastel colors on the clouds and occasionally illuminated the rock spires and buttresses in the middle distance. And after sunset, distant storms showed large anvils along with occasional bolts of lightning.

Lightning and shelf clouds


The past few days have produced interesting storms across northern Arizona.

An isolated thunderstorm develops at sunset.
An isolated thunderstorm develops at sunset.
Lightning illuminates an updraft.
Lightning illuminates an updraft.

An isolated storm developed around sunset and produced both wonderful colors and lightning. Most of the lightning, however, was on the other side of the updraft so the storm instead was lit from the inside like a lightbulb. The storm colors and lightning was nicely reflected in the waters of the Kachina Wetlands.

Low clouds from thunderstorms envelop the San Francisco Peaks.
Low clouds from thunderstorms envelop the San Francisco Peaks.
Outflow boundary and low clouds arrive in Sedona.
Outflow boundary and low clouds arrive in Sedona.
Lightning over the Mogollon Rim.
Lightning over the Mogollon Rim.

A few days later a large line of convective storms moved southwestward across the state and produced a haboob in the lower (and drier) elevations. As the leading edge of the rain-cooled air moved across the San Francisco peaks the clouds quickly enveloped the mountains. About an hour later, the shelf cloud arrived in Sedona and new storms began to develop.

 

Heavy Rain, Low Clouds and Wildflowers

We have had an extended period of heavy rain across Northern Arizona this week with some of the 7-day rainfall totals exceeded 5 inches. After a night of heavy rain we had several hours of fog and low clouds the following morning. I went to Anderson Mesa southeast of Flagstaff to get above the fog. Unfortunately, the fog layer was too deep and there was also a layer of clouds above so there was no morning light. Still, the fog drifting through the Lower Lake Mary area was interesting.

Fog draped across Lower Lake Mary.
Fog draped across Lower Lake Mary.
As the fog lifts the San Franciso Peaks can be seen in the distance.
As the fog lifts the San Franciso Peaks can be seen in the distance.

Later in the morning I shot this photo of the lifting fog and low clouds with the San Francisco Peaks in the distance.

Sunflowers along the recently completed Sheep Crossing Trail in Flagstaff.
Sunflowers along the recently completed Sheep Crossing Trail in Flagstaff.
Sunflower closeup.
Sunflower closeup.
Seven-day rainfall totals around Flagstaff.
Seven-day rainfall totals around Flagstaff.

All this rain has brought out the wildflowers, including these sunflowers found on the edge of the recently completed Sheep Crossing Trail, part of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS).