Fractonimbus clouds

Wow, heavy winds this morning with the rain going every which way. My bedroom sliders were wet up to six feet, and they’re covered by an overhang. I have learned that although you’d think that rain would clean the outside of the windows, it picks up dirt in the air and the glass is left mottled. (Darn!) But the rain has been sporadic, not enough to get my small wash running. That is why Tucson’s total precipitation for January and February was only four inches. The deck upstairs is coated in blown leaves; one leaf is even attached to the slider, 15 feet from the edge of the roof.

The winds last night broke a huge limb from the large mesquite next to my neighbor’s back patio. Unfortunately, not the limb I wanted to saw off for a better view from my kitchen window. But I haven’t seen any other trees downed.

Now the sky is a miasma of gray, inky clouds scuttling under the pale gray dome. I looked it up; they are fractonimbus clouds. Three of the four mountain ranges around Tucson (excluding the Tucson Mountains, in which I am ensconced, which are too low) have kept snow at their peaks. They are presently enshrouded in clouds; perhaps the snow level will be lower tomorrow morning.

The only critter that I have seen today is the lone rabbit. Poor guy; he must have lost his whole warren to the bobcats and coyotes. The predators, if they’re smart and not too hungry, are snug in their dens now as I am.

The Green thing to do today is to catch your roof runoff in a large, above-ground, bright and shiny corrugated metal tank, sold by all of the nurseries. (Above-ground tanks, rather than underground cisterns because (1) they can be added retroactively, (2) the drip system they feed will work by gravity, rather than a pump, and (3) our concrete soil is a bitch to dig in.) Even the church down the street has one on either side of its entry. Not exactly architecturally unified. Friends have a string of them in their backyard. But my canales are planned to drain the roof into the natural wash behind my house. Maybe in the next house I design I’ll incorporate rain tanks, attached to the landscape drip system.

Chimneys are attractive; we never tried to make swamp coolers good-looking and we just attempt to hide air conditioners. Wonder if rain barrels can be made nice-looking. I am a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited architect, and Green for us should be incorporated into Design. I’m chaffing at the bit to draw up a new Green house.

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2 Responses to “Fractonimbus clouds”

  1. Jim Says:

    A narrow green house against a south facing adobe wall, with a large overhang; and doorway cut through the block wall: an tropical aviary and passive solar heating?

    • notesfromthewest Says:

      My present house does face south, built into a hillside. Don’t need to air condition downstairs in the summer, and don’t need to heat upstairs in the winter.
      But I would like a solarium rather than an aviary. I prefer my finches free, rather than caged (although I love the zebra finches and the strawberry finches in the pet store).

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