This past weekend was filled with a lot of hope but for me it ended with one good Arizona shelf cloud. In fact it was the largest shelf cloud I’ve ever seen while storm chasing in AZ.
There was optimistic talk about stormy weather here in the valley of the sun this past weekend. These high hopes were pinned on hurricane Delores as she raced up the western coast. Predictions were calling for decent chances of storms and much needed rain for the Phoenix area. Of course with those predictions every storm chaser in the state of Arizona was put on alert.
As the weekend unfolded spotty storms began to happen throughout various parts of the state. These storms while sporadic in nature did drop decent amounts of rain all over the state. In fact on Saturday the town of Wickenburg received almost 4 inches of rain in just a few short hours. Watching the reports come in and seeing video of the flooding was horrific to see. My heart goes out to the residents.
My weekend was filled with a few studio sessions so my storm chasing time was limited. After my last session on Saturday I packed up my gear and headed to western AZ towards the city of Buckeye. At the time that was where the most activity appeared to be. Upon arriving things were starting to cool down and mostly turn to just drizzly rain. I pondered going home or staying out a little while longer. As I set off to the side of the highway talking to my buddy Mike Olbinski we both saw a cell pop up towards Gila Bend. After a little deliberation I decided to go after it. Mike had made the same call a few minutes earlier so off we went.
Approaching the cell turned out to be a real treat. A monster wide (technical term) shelf cloud was just a few miles west of Gila Bend. Big shelf clouds are not that common here in Arizona like they are in the midwest so capturing this Arizona shelf cloud was special. I set up my cameras to photograph and time lapse this bad boy as it was headed right towards me. My only regret was not positioning myself further east of it. I underestimated its speed and it quickly overtook my position. I’m still finishing the small time lapse and will post it once it’s finished.
Until next time…