Tag Archives: Mount Lemmon

Why the Catalinas glow pink at sunset

Amazing atmospheric optics in action.

Often times during the year, the peaks of the Santa Catalina Mountains glow during dusk and dawn. It’s a phenomenon known as “alpenglow”. Here’s how it works.

Continue reading Why the Catalinas glow pink at sunset


Footnotes from a historical May storm

One rare Spring storm system. Several bookmarks in the weather history books.

For starters, Mount Lemmon woke up to a dusting to 1″ snow yesterday. This marks the first recorded May snowfall since 2008. The record for most May snow is 7.8″, set on May 7th, 1995.

Tucson’s daytime high of 68° Tuesday is noteworthy on a couple of levels. It marks the 2nd coolest May afternoon in the last 30 years, last occurring on May 21st, 2009. Between Friday’s daytime high of 104° and yesterday, the temperature dropped an incredible 36°. This is the largest 4 day temperature drop during the month of May.

Finally, the Bisbee-Douglas Airport recorded 0.07″ rain on Tuesday. While it’s not much, it does set the record for most rainfall on May 9th. The old mark? A whopping trace back in 1997.

How rare is a May snowfall on Mount Lemmon?

Mount Lemmon is waking up to a Winter wonderland this morning.

A dusting to inch of snow fell overnight. While record keeping is limited, this is the first May snowfall on Mount Lemmon since 2008. Weather records show that 0.3″ snow fell 9 years ago.

Morning snowfall on May 9th, 2017 atop Mount Lemmon

The most snow Mount Lemmon’s ever recorded in May was 7.8″. Ski Valley recorded that impressive amount on May 7th, 1995, nearly 22 years to the day of this current storm system.

An additional 1-3″ snow is possible above 7,000 feet through early Wednesday. If the forecast comes to fruition, this would be the largest May snowstorm in 22 years. The late snowpack won’t stick around long, however. Temperatures return to the upper 40s tomorrow in Summerhaven.

Monday’s Tucson Forecast: Winter storm to end the month




Today – 20% chance of showers late, breezy. 69°, west-southwest wind 15-25 MPH.

Tonight – 60% chance of showers, breezy. 53°, southwest wind 10-20 MPH.

Tomorrow – 60% chance of showers early, breezy. 64°, west wind 10-20 MPH.


A quick-hitting storm system swings toward the state.

Clouds & winds increase this afternoon. Expect west-southwest winds around 15-25 MPH today as highs peak in the upper 60s. Drivers on I-10 may encounter blowing dust east of Willcox, which potentially reduces visibility to less than a mile at times.

Late afternoon features a 20% chance of showers for Metro Tucson, courtesy of a cold front moving in from the Pacific Ocean. Rain chances increase to 60% tonight through the first half of tomorrow. Snow levels bottom out around 6,000 feet, with 5-15″ snow possible above 7,000 feet. For that reason, a Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Mt. Lemmon, Mt. Graham & the White Mountains from this evening through Tuesday evening.

Valley rainfall totals along & north of an Ajo-Tucson-Safford line may reach 0.30″ in spots. Areas along the border should see less rain/mountain snowfall.

Highs reach the mid 60s tomorrow, but rebound to the 70s the rest of the work week. More sunshine prevails by Wednesday.

Wednesday’s Tucson Forecast: Pair of cold fronts queued up




Today – Mostly sunny. 80°, west wind 10-15 MPH.

Tonight – Mostly clear. 48°, southwest wind 5 MPH.

Tomorrow – Sunny. 67°, west wind 10-15 MPH.


A quick warm-up, followed by a few changes.

Daytime highs peak in the upper 70s to low 80s this afternoon. High pressure departing to the east supplies temperatures roughly 10° above average for late February. Expect westerly winds around 10-15 MPH today.

The first of two cold fronts sweeps across Arizona tomorrow, dropping temperatures 10-15° off today’s levels. Gusty winds up to 20 MPH may develop Thursday afternoon east of Tucson. After highs reach the upper 60s tomorrow, lows bottom out in the upper 30s.

Highs return to the 70s this weekend, before a second cold front enters the state. This feature supplies gusty winds as soon as Sunday, followed by a slight shower chance. Tucson’s rain chances range from 10% Monday to 30% on Tuesday. Exact rain/mountain snow totals remain unclear this far out.

Tuesday’s Tucson Forecast: Flirting with the 80s




Today – Sunny. 79°, northwest wind 5-10 MPH.

Tonight – Clear. 51°, southeast wind 5-10 MPH.

Tomorrow – Mostly sunny. 81°, west wind 10-15 MPH.


After a wet & white weekend, a warming trend commences.

High pressure parked over the state drives daytime temperatures roughly 10° above normal, according to 4WARN Meteorologist Jeff Beamish. Metro Tucson peaks in the upper 70s to low 80s the next few days with abundant sunshine. Nighttime lows drop to the upper 40s to low 50s, which is a touch mild for late February standards.

The first of two cold fronts kicks through the state Thursday, knocking temperatures back to reality. Daytime highs for the end of the week reach the upper 60s to low 70s.

Cold front #2 takes aim at Arizona early next week. Gusty winds develop Sunday, followed by a slight shower chance Monday. Rain chances may continue into next Tuesday, but the exact timing remains unclear at the moment.



Snowy Sky Islands, snapped Monday by Mount Lemmon SkyCenter. Behold the beauty of a fresh powder!

Thursday’s Tucson Forecast: Calm before a strong Winter storm



Today – Mostly sunny. 73°, west-northwest wind 5-10 MPH.

Tonight – Mostly clear. 49°, southwest wind 5-15 MPH.

Tomorrow – 10% chance of showers, breezy. 72°, southwest wind 15-30 MPH.


A significant pattern shift is in its formative stages in the Pacific Ocean.

As Southern Arizona awaits this weekend’s Winter storm, highs today run 4-6° above average. Metro Tucson tops out in the low 70s this afternoon. Winds today will be much lighter than yesterday, peaking around 5-10 MPH out of the west.

Friday looks to be the transition day, as cloud cover and winds start to increase. There is a slight shower chance tomorrow afternoon and evening. The cold front enters the state Saturday, elevating southerly winds in the 20-40 MPH range.

Primetime for valley rain & snow above 6,000 feet looks to be Saturday evening through the first half of Sunday. A few rumbles of thunder can’t be ruled out as well. Valley floors could pick up 0.40-0.80″ rainfall, while Mount Lemmon may be in line for 10-20″ snow.

Drier weather prevails early next week, courtesy of high pressure parking over the state. Low to mid 70s return for daytime highs Tuesday and Wednesday.