Although I was in desperate need of a long night's sleep, last nights spectacular lightning display kept me mesmerized and jacked up through about midnight.
The system swept through the Salt Lake Valley from about 9 PM to 1 AM MDT. It featured a number of strong convective cells, followed by a more continguous region of precipitation in their wake.
The system was highly electrified. Although frequent lightning of this type is common east of the Rockies and sometimes in the southwest U.S., I don't know if I've ever seen such a long period of frequent lightning before in northern Utah. Hence, I'll call this the Strobe-Light Storm since the combination of thunder, heavy rain, and lightning gave it a discotheque feel.
Some of the most intense precipitation fell at about 11 PM MDT near downtown Salt Lake City and especially near the junctures of I-215, I-80, and I-15. At this time, a broad swath of heavy precipitation with radar reflectivities exceeding 50 dBZ, with maxima above 60 dBZ, pummeled the area.
Storm-total radar-estimated precipitation in this area peaked at a whopping 2.5 inches (brownish pixels below) with a large area exceeding 1.5 inches. The average July rainfall at the Salt Lake City Airport is only .61 inches.
The maximum radar-estimated 1-h accumulation in that area was near 2 inches. Such an hourly rainfall rate has a return interval of about 200 years at that area of the Salt Lake Valley according to data on the the NOAA Precipitation Frequency Data Server. Although there are a variety of problems with the use and interpretation of those intervals, especially in a changing climate, such numbers illustrate that it was "raining like hell" in that area last night by Salt Lake City standards.
Showers and thunderstorms are possible again today. What a great start to July.