Select Forecast Office:  

Forecast Discussion for Phoenix, AZ

FXUS65 KPSR 212039

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Phoenix AZ
139 PM MST Fri Jul 21 2017

.UPDATE...To Aviation Discussion...


Thunderstorm activity...most numerous over the higher
terrain...will continue through the weekend with chances expanding
into southeast California Monday. Drier southwesterly flow aloft
develops next week. This will lead to drier air and warmer
temperatures along with fewer storms region-wide.


Today looks much like yesterday with the best thunderstorm
chances over the Mogollon Rim. Storms have already begun to fire
over southeast Arizona, and the mountains north and east of
Phoenix. These storms are currently approaching northern Maricopa
County and central Gila County.

This morning, the GOES-16 visible imagery showed embedded
circulations over northern Arizona and New Mexico with a healthy
dose of cloud coverage over the eastern half of Arizona. Some
clearing through this morning and early afternoon have allowed an
increase in instability. The deepest plume of moisture could also
be seen in the water vapor imagery over eastern Arizona and into
New Mexico with additional embedded circulations. The moisture is
primarily being funneled into northern Mexico via the stronger
high pressure sitting over Arkansas to our east. The 250 millibar
analysis also indicates a weaker anticyclonic circulation sitting
over Baja California with southwesterly flow and drier air aloft
protruding into our area. Sitting under the eastern flank of the
Baja high, the steering flow for any storms will be from north to
south today.

The 12Z sounding this morning for Phoenix suggested plenty of
instability with 1500 MU-CAPE and nearly two inches of precipitable
water. The amount of moisture is still fairly deep this morning with
700 millibar dew points near 8 degrees. However, the temperatures
at the 500 mb level was borderline warm at -5 degrees , and model
soundings indicate a general warming trend of a few degrees at
this level which may make the atmosphere too warm for substantial
thunderstorms activity. We will have to wait and see...

Given all of this, storm chances are probably best for eastern Gila
County and other higher elevations. The gamut of high-res models are
pretty consistent in showing convection increasing greatly over the
Rim through 21Z but struggling to get much to survive into the
Greater Phoenix area, or any other desert location. However, there
is enough low level moisture to where outflow boundaries and other
local interactions could trigger a few storms over the lower desert.
Any storms that do develop will be capable of producing flooding

Saturday through Monday...
Northeasterly flow aloft develops Saturday and slowly trends to
east and even southeasterly by Monday with anticyclonic flow
becoming centered over the Great Basin and then into Colorado.
This is a favorable steering flow configuration for lower terrain
areas of central and western Arizona and thus storm chances
continue. In fact, ensemble and deterministic model guidance
indicates that PoPs expand into California early next week with
associated moist advection. There may also be also be an inverted
trough the moves through to aid things. Hard to put a lot of
confidence in model forecasts of features like that this far out.

Tuesday through Thursday...
The Westerlies dig southward along the coast next week leading to
a turn of drier southwesterly flow aloft. This will lead to a
downtrend in storm activity - even over the higher terrain. With
drier air, highs will increase but not to excessive levels.


South-Central Arizona including KPHX, KIWA, and KSDL:
Storms already underway over the higher terrain to the north and
east of Phoenix, with overall storm motion moving from north to
south. Slightly more stable/subsident airmass across western and
south-central Arizona should work against widespread storm
development. Cannot rule out some isolated, short-lived activity
along the far eastern periphery of the Phoenix metro. Most likely
directions for of the first outflow winds into the terminals would
be from the north-northeast between 02-04z. Some isolated
showers/storms may develop once outflow breezes work across the
Phoenix area tonight, warranting some VCSH coverage.

Southeast California/Southwest Arizona including KIPL and KBLH:

More stable and subsident airmass will keep the threat for storms
east into Arizona. Mostly clear skies to hold through the TAF
period, with even the threat for storm top blow off low as storm
steering winds are southerly and jet level winds are westerly.
Winds to hold typical summer Monsoon headings, southerly for KBLH
with continued afternoon gustiness and southeasterly for KIPL.

Aviation discussion not updated for amended TAFs.


Sunday through Thursday:
Thunderstorm chances expand into southeast California early next
week with east and southeast flow aloft. A less humid airmass is
expected to develop next week with storm chances becoming only
slight and limited to the higher terrain of south-central AZ.
Afternoon and evening breezes will be a bit stronger as well.


Spotters should follow standard reporting procedures.




Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and at


NWS Phoenix, AZ (PSR) Office Area Forecast Discussion

Discussion Script by Ken True at Saratoga Weather - WFO Script by SE Lincoln Weather