One of my favorite things about storm chasing is catching a desert rain cell out in the open. I find it incredibly mesmerizing as the rain falls and the clouds roll through the random shapes.


Monsoon Creates a Desert Rain Cell

Last week we finally starting having storms roll into the Valley of the Sun. For most this may see trivial but when you haven’t had rain for months on end, it is a welcomed sight. The monsoon has been underway for several weeks but the Phoenix metro area has not benefited from it until last week. These powerful storms have hammered the southeastern part of the state for the most part leaving central Arizona relatively dry.

Now that weather patterns are more active we are starting to see storms make it into Phoenix. The time lapse shown here of the desert rain cell started off northeast of us as a part of large storm system. I had watched this system throughout much of the day and had a pretty good idea of where it would be when it came off the mountains. As I was headed out to capture this beast the leading outflow of air created quite of bit of blowing dust.  I had hoped to be set up before these winds came but traffic was heavy and I wound up being late.

desert storm

I continued to track this storm system on my phone and knew my original position would still put me in its path. Shortly after setting up, my buddy Scott Wood happened to stop by. Scott is a veteran storm chaser who moved to the  Seattle area last year. He was in town on a business trip and making the most of his free time to storm chase. I set up my camera for the desert rain cell time lapse and stared in awe of the approaching beauty. A massive amount of life giving rain being dropped in the Arizona desert. With this beauty comes the danger of flash flooding with the large amount of rain that falls in a short amount of time. Always know your surroundings and have an escape route planned.

This storm system would continue on that night and push its way south towards the Tucson area. I ended the night down by Casa Grande Arizona and managed to capture this lightning strike as well. All in all, a decent night of storm chasing.

Until next time…

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