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Paul Sherman

Reports & Pictures Chase Day 4 - Arizona

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Day 4 and another risk and our 5th day out of 5 for Thunderstorms and Lightning. Todays Storms though were not as Severe as the other 4 days due to Very Dry air feeding into the Mountains from the Deserts out near the California / Arizona Border. Once again we went North towards Flagstaff and it was not long before we got onto some nice convection near Cape Verde, Showers were struggling and shrinking from the West so we went up along the Mogollan Rim at 7,450ft above Sea Level and went to a scenic Reservoir to plot our next move. The scenery and scent of Pine Forests was amazing and thunder was rattling around the mountains.

It became apparant that the Storms would die off quite early so we went for the other thing Arizona is Famous For and that is Sunsets, Mini Grand Canyon's (See Sedona) and Stars!!!!!

I made sure we were within 1 hours drive of Sedona and we made our way to get there just before Sunset at 710pm. The colours of the rocks were incredible. We then ate some dinner and went along a road 1 Mile above the Town to where the Airport was, the views were breath-taking and the Stars in their Millions above our heads, Meteors were often flashing across the Sky and the Milky Way was like a bruising across the Sky above.

We all set up and got some incredible shots of the skies, mostly short exposures but I even tried some Star Trails at 4 minute exposures, next time though 10 minute and longer will look even better, all trial and error.

It is becoming apparant that Arizona is incredible in Beauty and things to do even if Storms become Illusive, I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as we did of taking them.

Paul S

post-24-0-22169500-1313918262_thumb.jpg - Convection Along the Mogollan Rim (7,450 ft asl)

post-24-0-69957800-1313918307_thumb.jpg - Pine Forest and Reservoir

post-24-0-85513100-1313918336_thumb.jpg - Sunset at Sedona

post-24-0-74870900-1313918422_thumb.jpg - Sunset at Sedona

post-24-0-28962700-1313918376_thumb.jpg - Star Trails over the Sedona Valley

post-24-0-29302100-1313918472_thumb.jpg - Millions of Stars

post-24-0-76298000-1313918508_thumb.jpg - Wow Wow - Milky Way

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If only we could see a night sky like that at Watford

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What a beautiful place Arizona is, the pics you have all posted are lovely.smile.png

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Wow!!! Great photos peeps. Paul, that shot of the Milky Way is absolutely beautiful. Deffo one of those shots to print on a huge canvas.

Amazing photos over the last few days guys. good.gif

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Brief day 4 report from the Utah tour ... sunny and about 30 C at Bryce Canyon where we took in the outstanding scenery from noon to 4 p.m., have numerous storm photos to share (Wed 24th) as large clusters of CBs developed just off to our northeast over the Table Rock Mesa (it runs north-south about 20 miles northeast of Bryce Canyon's central lookout spot, Bryce Canyon runs about 30 miles north-south). Another CB developed almost overhead at 4 p.m. and moved slowly off to our north. Had a supper break with CBs off to north and east, then drove south through back country to Grosvenor Arch where a storm developed, rainbows, lightning, lots of pix. Headed back to base with occasional lightning from cell near Page AZ off to our east. Great day for both scenery and storm photos. The storm we actually intercepted had a large anvil bent back to west over our location, simply beautiful structure. Might have been severe off to our east but just a moderate storm for us. Read my day 5 report in a minute, we had an A+ day on Sunday.

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N1 Roger - Same storm as ours by the sounds of it - Storm we viewed from the Canyon was over Page!

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Day four of the main storm chase (day three of our tour) was Saturday 20th August. To give you a basic overview, first of all, Utah is the state due north of Arizona. It looks square on the map except for a segment in the northeast corner. We toured the southern half of the state, based in Kanab which is near the Arizona border and somewhat west of the central meridian of Utah. The time zone is MDT seven hours behind BST.

Further orientation (for later reference too) -- Las Vegas NV and St George UT are in a lower desert region about 2,000 ft asl and experience the full desert heat like southern AZ. Kanab and a large section of southern UT are in a mid-level plateau about 6,000 ft asl on average with river canyons somewhat lower that cut mainly south to drain into the Colorado River (the river that formed the Grand Canyon). The Colorado River rises in western Colorado and cuts through southeast Utah. Most of that stretch is now Lake Powell due to the Glen Canyon Dam at Page AZ also near the UT border (well east of Kanab).

Meanwhile, in south central UT above this plateau level, you find the Utah equivalent of the Mogollon Ridge, a complex of highlands of 8,000 to 12,000 ft asl that include the north-south Henry Mountains (north of Bryce Canyon), the Aquarius Ridge with Table Rock Mesa to its east, and Boulder Mountain to the northeast of that. Most of this country is forested and ends with spectacular bluffs and mesas on its southern flank including Bryce Canyon.

With that in mind, we drove north from Kanab reaching Bryce Canyon NP at noon. The park highway is about 20 miles north-south and reaches its end point at Rainbow Point. Spectacular views of the mutli-coloured rock formations, heavily eroded, can be had from more than a dozen roadside parking areas on the east side of the highway. The best plan (should you ever visit) is to drive to the south end without stopping, then take in the views on your return north when you're on the right side of the road.

While in the national park, towering cumulus off to the east and southeast were gradually forming CBs and the sky overhead and to the west and due south were clear. It was about 27 C at the 8,500 ft level of the plateau. Pictures below (in order) show

(1) The view northeast from Rainbow Point towards Table Rock Mesa 30 miles away, and developing thunderstorms over that region. Taken about 1 p.m.

(2) Natural Bridge formation, looking east, about 2 p.m.

(3) A view directly north at 3 p.m. showing a nearby thunderstorm that had formed there in situ and which would later move off to our northeast while others formed overhead (for us) in a southward arc.

(4) Scenery near Sunset Point in the northern end of the park (near where my avatar picture was taken)

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After a supper break we moved east and then southeast of Bryce Canyon into Kodachrome Basin State Park in UT, which contains numerous cliffs, mesas and stone pillars (some about 200 feet high). We hiked ten minutes into a rock formation to see the Shakespeare Arch which is the first photo in this section.

The second photo shows the larger Grosvenor Arch to the southeast of the park on back-country Road 400 (unpaved but reasonably passable). This is said to be the second largest natural arch in Utah (a larger one is in Arches National Park). In this photo you'll see a developing storm that was pelting me with large rain drops and providing a refreshing downward drift in the temperature which had been near 32 C.

The third photo here shows the storm a few minutes later in a more developed stage, as it began to produce lightning and this (double) rainbow. The storm itself was moving northeast slowly, while another one was quite active to our southeast. We had a lot of lightning from this next storm as we drove further south. The only good view we had of the cell was to the left in the fourth shot taken (looking southeast) near 8 pm or just before sunset locally. The final picture captures sunset with plenty of colour and the odd distant rumble of thunder from the (near) Page AZ storm behind the photographer in this case.

These back country roads are of course dangerous in stormy weather so we were being vigilant but the local drainage was running dry as the storms were in adjacent valleys to our east. With a heavy storm situation affecting any "dry wash" further upstream in this region, you can get a torrent of muddy water many feet deep without much if any warning.

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