Cloudscapes | Flagstaff to Valle, Arizona | 18 September 2020

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A trough was forecast to nudge through northern Arizona and draw up enough moisture for a chance at a few marginally organized storms. I made my way northwest of Flagstaff on Highway 180 toward Valle to see if anything interesting would drift by. Stronger storms were ongoing further to the west, but a few were starting to fire nearby as I reached Valle. Transient velocity couplets were showing up on radar with these, but there was nothing particularly interesting about them visually…except for a bold, false funnel peeling away from some outflow.

Outflow from the passing cells led to an emaciated arcus that was punctuated against a blob of convection as it surged by.


I was taking my time with it all, just waiting to see what showed up. Further south of Interstate 40, a short line of storms was lofting northward. It was weakening, but seemed like it still might shove a shelf cloud my way. So I headed back south to see if I could get a look at it from one of the prairies in that direction.

Approaching a darker line of convection to the south — 2312Z

I found a good spot just north of Kendrick Park and watched the shelf drift in over the forest, wildflowers and a nameless cinder cone.

Approaching shelf cloud north of Kendrick Park — 2319Z

As it passed, I sat tight, let the rain soak in, and pondered whether any other decent views might be had. This seemed to be the end of the show as far as anything structural was concerned. So I headed back to Flagstaff.

Storms crossing the highway just before the rain dump — 2325Z

As I reached the outskirts of Flagstaff, I could see a bit of a cap on top of the San Francisco Peaks, so I stopped to grab some shots of that for a few minutes.


Wildflowers have been going nuts, so I snagged some of those while I was at it.

Cruising through midtown, a bit of mammatus was drifting above the wildflowers near Buffalo Park, so another stop was made.


As I made my way home on the east side of town, I made another detour to finish things off with sunset on the remaining scraps of convection and debris clouds.

Moonrise — 0125Z

It wasn’t a hearty transition event, at least for the area I chased, but the chase was loaded with great scenery and gorgeous skies. It was good to be out running with the weather for this one.

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