Monsoon Convection at Wupatki National Monument

Thunderstorms develop in the late afternoon near Wupatki National Monument.
Thunderstorms develop in the late afternoon near Wupatki National Monument.

Time lapse of thunderstorms developing near Wupatki National Monument.

Once again I traveled to Wupatki National Monument to photograph thunderstorms and lightning–and even the Moon.

Thunderstorms had generated several outflow boundaries and two of these boundaries converged and produced new thunderstorms to the southeast of Wupatki NM. The top image and time-lapse video shows the developing thunderstorms along with an appearance of the waxing Moon.

Lightning over the San Francisco Volcanic Field.
Lightning over the San Francisco Volcanic Field.
Lightning over the San Francisco Volcanic Field.
Lightning over the San Francisco Volcanic Field.
Lightning over the San Francisco Volcanic Field.
Lightning over the San Francisco Volcanic Field.

Thunderstorms had also formed on the mesas and plateaus of northeast Arizona earlier in the afternoon and were moving to the west and southwest. These storms would likely arrive in the vicinity of Wupatki NM by late afternoon and early evening. Of note, the high-resolution weather forecast models indicated that the storms would dissipate as they moved across the lower elevations of the Little Colorado River valley. I was more optimistic based on the afternoon radar and satellite data.

These storms continued to move westward and generated a weak haboob–the second in two days in this area. The thunderstorms also generated plenty of lightning as they moved across the San Francisco volcanic fields.

Sunset colors over the Coconino Plateau.
Sunset colors over the Coconino Plateau.

And there was a nice sunset, too.

Lightning over the San Francisco Volcanic Field

After a few days of little or no thunderstorm activity things picked up a bit on Tuesday. Moisture pushed just a bit farther west than the past couple of days allowing storms to form near and north of Flagstaff.

Lightning after sunset over the San Francisco Volcanic Field.
Lightning after sunset over the San Francisco Volcanic Field.

Late in the afternoon I was in Wupatki National Monument and shooting storms to the west and southwest over the San Francisco Volcanic Field. The storms had been fairly weak during much of the afternoon but became more electrically active just before and after sunset.

Thunderstorms with crepuscular rays.
Thunderstorms with crepuscular rays.
Thunderstorms with crepuscular rays.
Thunderstorms with crepuscular rays.
Lightning over the San Francisco Volcanic Field.
Lightning over the San Francisco Volcanic Field.
More lightning.
More lightning.
LIghtning from anvil to ground.
LIghtning from anvil to ground.
Lightning over -- time to capture moonlit storms with stars above.
Lightning over — time to capture moonlit storms with stars above.

And now the forecast models show another down period of at least a few days. Glad I was able to get some nice photos today.