Satellite Image of the Week #3

This week’s Satellite Image of the Week was taken a few days ago.  The clouds on this image are not particularly striking, and, in the early morning hours, are not well lit.  However, if you look closely, you’ll see a bunch of straight lines all over western New Mexico.  These are jet contrails that are showing up on the visible satellite imagery!

Conditions have to be perfect to generate these images.  If there is too little moisture, they won’t show up at all- they will quickly evaporate.  If there is too much moisture, they can fade into the background of the clouds that will form.  If there is too much wind, they will mix out and blur.  If there is too little wind, they will be too thin and not show up in the satellite imagery at all.

These really get you thinking about satellite resolution.  These images were taken on the new GOES-16, which has 1 km resolution.  This means each 1 km by 1 km square is represented by a single color value.  For a contrail to show up on this image, there has to be just the right amount of diffusing winds and sun reflecting from it to cause an entire 1 km by 1 km pixel to show up lighter.

Thank you for reading this post!

Source:  College of DuPage – Meteorology

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Central New Mexico Weather: 1/20/18

Yesterday was sunny, mild and still.  It did not get as cold last night as I had expected, and was already in the 30’s when I woke up this morning.

This morning has been mostly sunny, cold and still.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Rio Rancho, NM) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 59 F.  The winds will from the south at 5-10 mph, becoming south in the afternoon.  This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 50% chance of precipitation (rain turning into up to an inch of snow), and a low temperature of 27 F.  The winds will be from the south at 15-20 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Socorro, NM) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 62 F.  The winds will be from the south at 5-10 mph, increasing to 15-20 mph in the afternoon. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 30% chance of precipitation (up to 0.5 inches of snow), and a low temperature of 33 F.  The winds will be from the southwest at 15-25 mph, gusting to 35 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Magdalena, NM) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 60 F.  The winds will be from the south at 10-20 mph.  This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 30% chance of precipitation (up to an inch of snow), and a low temperature of 25 F.  The winds will be from the west at 20-25 mph, gusting to 35 mph.

The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook, Special Weather Statement and several other products concerning the changing weather this weekend.  Today, there are Red Flag Warnings in place for the Eastern Plains for the above average temperatures, low humidity and strong winds.  There are High Wind Warnings in place for much of the Eastern Plains, where the humidity is higher (reducing the fire threat), but where high winds are still predicted.  Also, the western part of the state has Winter Weather Advisories ahead of the approaching cold front, and Chama has a Winter Storm Warning in place.  New Mexico is a mess today!  The NWS Watches and Warnings graphic is shown below:

The visible satellite image shows clear skies over the state this morning.  This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The infrared satellite image shows that there are thin clouds over the state.  They are hard to distinguish on the image, it has been excluded it for today’s post.

The enhanced low-level water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is moist air over the Four Corners region.  Moisture will continue to move in from the west ahead of the approaching cold front.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a relatively dry atmosphere.  There was 0.22 inches of precipitable water present in the column.  There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH).  The Lifted Condensation Level (LCL) was 1533 m.  There was a large thermal inversion above the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 2.9 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 13 kts low-level shear (due mostly to directional changes) and 60 kts deep-layer shear (due mostly to speed changes).

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cold temperatures and low humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions).  The skies are clear (according to the sensors) and the winds are light and generally from the north.

The surface pressure chart shows that there are two separate low pressure systems- one is a lee-side low over eastern Colorado and one is over southern Utah.  These are expected to merge over the next six hours, according to the RAP.   There are no sharp pressure gradients expected for the next six hours, so the stronger winds will come much later in the evening.

The HRRR simulated reflectivity shows that a line of precipitation is expected to form ahead of the cold front, bringing rain and snow to much of the state.  The line of precipitation is over the Rio Grande River Valley by 05 Z.

The HRRR snow forecast has light snow accumulation through 07 Z, though more is probably expected, as 07 Z is as far as the model extends.

The HRRR has the high temperatures around 23 Z.  High temperatures will approach record levels today, reaching into the low 60’s in the Albuquerque Metro area.

The HRRR shows gusty winds in the western part of the state, peaking at around 22 Z ahead of the cold front.

Today will be sunny and mild.  The winds will pick up in the mid afternoon, and then the colder temperatures and precipitation will arrive.  I think I’ll stay indoors tonight, build a fire in the wood stove and read a book!

Thank you for reading my post.

Sources:
The forecasts from the National Weather Service are from The NWS Homepage
The upper air soundings and mesoscale analysis plots are from the Storm Prediction Center website.
The satellite data, model data, and forecasted soundings are from College of DuPage – SATRAD

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Central New Mexico Weather: 1/19/18

Yesterday morning was sunny, mild and still.

This morning has been clear, cold and still.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Rio Rancho, NM) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 58 F.  The winds will from the west at 5 mph, becoming south in the afternoon.  This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 30 F.  The winds will be from the southwest at 5 mph, becoming northeast after midnight.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Socorro, NM) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 59 F.  The winds will be from the south at 5-10 mph. This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 29 F.  The winds will be from the south at 5-10 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Magdalena, NM) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 60 F.  The winds will be from the northeast at 5 mph.  This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 32 F.  The winds will be from the west at 10 mph.

The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook, Special Weather Statement and several other products concerning the changing weather this weekend.  Today, there are Red Flag Warnings in place for the Eastern Plains for the above average temperatures, low humidity and strong winds.  However, a strong cold front will move through the area Saturday, and we are looking at winter weather for Saturday night and Sunday.  The current Watches and Warnings graphic is shown below:

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has also issued a Critical Fire Weather risk for the east-central part of the state, including Tucumcari.

The visible satellite image is unavailable at this time.

The infrared satellite image shows that there are thin clouds over the state.  They are hard to distinguish on the image, so I have excluded it for today’s post.

The enhanced low-level water vapor satellite imagery shows that moist air has moved over the state.  Today, that won’t be of much concern, but it will tomorrow evening, when the cold front arrives.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a relatively dry atmosphere.  There was 0.18 inches of precipitable water present in the column.  There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH).  The Lifted Condensation Level (LCL) was 1406 m.  There was a large thermal inversion above the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 0.8 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 21 kts low-level shear (due mostly to directional changes) and 23 kts deep-layer shear (due mostly to speed changes).

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cold temperatures and low humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions).  The skies are clear (according to the sensors) and the winds are calm, with many stations reporting no wind at all.

The surface pressure chart shows that there is slightly higher pressure near the Four Corners region, and a lee-side low pressure system developing east of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  This has left a sharp pressure gradient between the two locations.  The RAP shows the low deepening, the high pressure weakening, and the gradient diffusing over the next six hours.

The HRRR simulated reflectivity shows that precipitation is unlikely today.  This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The HRRR has the high temperatures around 22 Z.  High temperatures will approach record levels today, reaching into the low 60’s in the Albuquerque Metro area.

The HRRR shows gusty winds just east of the central mountain range.  When I see this pattern, it means that there is a fire risk.  The winds running down the leeward side of the mountains is often much more dry, and is compressing and warming as it sinks.

Today will be sunny and mild with only light winds in the Rio Grande River Valley.  This slight warming trend, sunny and still conditions (yesterday and today) will only serve to make this weekend feel more cruel.  This weekend will remind us that it is still winter.

Thank you for reading my post.

Sources:
The forecasts from the National Weather Service are from The NWS Homepage
The upper air soundings and mesoscale analysis plots are from the Storm Prediction Center website.
The satellite data, model data, and forecasted soundings are from College of DuPage – SATRAD

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Central New Mexico Weather: 1/18/18

Yesterday morning was partly sunny, cool and still.

This morning has been clear, cold and still.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Rio Rancho, NM) a sunny day, with a high temperature of 54 F.  The winds will from the north at 5-10 mph, becoming west in the afternoon.  This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 26 F.  The winds will be from the west at 5 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Socorro, NM) a sunny day, with a high temperature of 54 F.  The winds will be from the northwest at 5-10 mph, becoming southeast in the afternoon. This evening will be clear, with a low temperature of 25 F.  The winds will be from the south at 5 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Magdalena, NM) a sunny day, with a high temperature of 51 F.  The winds will be from the west at 5 mph, becoming east in the afternoon.  This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 29 F.  The winds will be from the southeast at 5 mph, becoming west after midnight.

The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook and a Special Weather Statement concerning a possible winter storm this weekend.  I will be tracking this system closely over the next few days, but Saturday night and Sunday morning have the potential to be snowy and windy.

The visible satellite image is unavailable at this time.

The infrared satellite image shows that there are few clouds over New Mexico this morning.  This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The enhanced low-level water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is dry air over the state today.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a relatively dry atmosphere, except near the surface.  There was 0.12 inches of precipitable water present in the column.  There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH).  The Lifted Condensation Level (LCL) was 762 m.  There was a large thermal inversion above the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 1.9 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 5 kts low-level shear (due mostly to directional changes) and 13 kts deep-layer shear (due mostly to speed changes).

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cold temperatures and low humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions).  The skies are clear (according to the sensors) and the winds are calm, with many stations reporting no wind at all.

The surface pressure chart shows that there is high pressure with no strong pressure gradients over the state this morning.  The RAP shows that the high pressure will weaken slightly with diurnal heating, and that no strong pressure gradients are expected for at least the next six hours.

The HRRR simulated reflectivity shows that precipitation is unlikely today.  This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The HRRR has the high temperatures around 22 Z.  Today’s temperatures will remain seasonal.

The HRRR shows no strong wind gusts today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

Today will be sunny, cool and still.  It will be slightly warmer than yesterday, but I do believe that is probably just the calm before the storm that is possible this weekend. I don’t have many commitments this weekend, so if it has to snow, let it be on a Saturday night when I can stay at home by the wood stove.

Thank you for reading my post.

Sources:
The forecasts from the National Weather Service are from The NWS Homepage
The upper air soundings and mesoscale analysis plots are from the Storm Prediction Center website.
The satellite data, model data, and forecasted soundings are from College of DuPage – SATRAD

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Central New Mexico Weather: 1/17/18

Yesterday morning was partly sunny, cool and still.  I did expect there to be more wind, but was happily proven incorrect.

This morning has been clear, cold and still.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Rio Rancho, NM) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 48 F.  The winds will from the west at 5 mph.  This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 23 F.  The winds will be from the west at 5 mph, becoming north after midnight.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Socorro, NM) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 46 F.  The winds will be from the northeast at 5 mph. This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 22 F.  The winds will be from the east at 5 mph, becoming northwest after midnight.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Magdalena, NM) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 43 F.  The winds will be from the west 5 mph, becoming east in the afternoon.  This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 25 F.  The winds will be from the northeast at 5 mph, becoming northwest after midnight.

The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning some possible freezing fog along I-25 in the northern part of the state.

The visible satellite image is unavailable at this time.

The infrared satellite image shows that there are few clouds over New Mexico this morning.  This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The enhanced low-level water vapor satellite imagery shows deep moisture has just crossed over the western border of the state.  This incoming moisture may become rain or snow this weekend.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a damp boundary layer, but dry air above 750 mb.  There was 0.12 inches of precipitable water present in the column.  There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH).  The Lifted Condensation Level (LCL) was 439 m.  There was a large thermal inversion above the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 1.1 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 8 kts low-level shear (due mostly to directional changes) and 11 kts deep-layer shear (due mostly to directional changes).

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cold temperatures and low humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions).  The skies are clear (according to the sensors) and the winds are calm, with many stations reporting no wind at all.

The surface pressure chart shows that there is still high pressure over the state this morning, and the sharp pressure gradient has mixed out.  The RAP shows that the high pressure will weaken with diurnal heating, and that no strong pressure gradients are expected for at least the next six hours.

The HRRR simulated reflectivity shows that precipitation is unlikely today.  This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The HRRR has the high temperatures around 22 Z.  Today’s temperatures will remain cool, but not quite as cold as yesterday.

The HRRR shows no strong wind gusts today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

Today will be sunny, cool and still.  Enjoy the sun while you still can, as I am expecting the skies to cloud up starting Friday.  There may be some winter weather this weekend, so I am watching the models closely and will keep you posted.

Thank you for reading my post.

Sources:
The forecasts from the National Weather Service are from The NWS Homepage
The upper air soundings and mesoscale analysis plots are from the Storm Prediction Center website.
The satellite data, model data, and forecasted soundings are from College of DuPage – SATRAD

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Model Analysis: 1/16/18-1/23/18

It is time to look at the long term GFS model data covering Central New Mexico.  This weekend, a lee-side low is expected to develop over eastern Colorado and track east.  As this system forms, it will bring cold air around behind the system, placing New Mexico behind its cold front soon after development.

The temperature will remain cold over the next few days, reaching only into the low 50’s.  The maximum temperatures we will see will be on Friday afternoon.  Notice the lee-side low developing over eastern Colorado in this chart.

The low temperatures will be at their minimum on Monday morning.  Temperatures will reach into the low teens these days.

The dewpoint will peak on Saturday afternoon.  Notice the moisture being pulled through the Great Plains ahead of the mid-latitude cyclone that is forming.  This moisture is behind the warm front (just north of Kansas City), but ahead of the cold front (somewhere near the CO/NM border).

Behind the frontal boundary, we will have extremely dry air. We will see -4 F dewpoints by Sunday morning.  The cold front is much more visible on this chart, as it coincides with the dryline (the sharp moisture boundary through eastern Texas).

There will be partly cloudy skies every day except potentially Thursday.  By Friday, the skies will begin to cloud up again and remain that way through at least Tuesday.  In fact, Tuesday is probably the peak cloudiness, with overcast skies.

Precipitation will be possible Saturday night, but will move through the area quickly behind the cold front.  It looks like any snow that falls will not accumulate, though I will be watching the Feb 1 time frame.

Synoptically speaking, there is a trough that is helping to develop and move the lee-side low, transforming it into a mid-latitude cyclone.  On Sunday, you can clearly see the trough on the 250 mb chart.

At the 500 mb level, there is strong vorticity ahead of the trough. This strong vorticity is moving to the east, and the strong Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) will boost convection and precipitation chances.

At the 850 mb level, we can see some Cold Air Advection (CAA) blowing into the state from the northeast behind the mid-latitude cyclone.  The CAA is strongest on Sunday, but our temperatures will continue to drop long after the CAA has weakened and the mid-latitude cyclone moved east.

Overall, this week will be colder and less pleasant than the past week.  I am expecting no significant precipitation, but colder temperatures and cloudy weather will dominate.

Thank you for reading my post.

Sources:
College of Dupage – Numeric Models, accessed 1/9/18.

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Central New Mexico Weather: 1/16/18

Yesterday morning was partly sunny, mild and still. I did some more work on my van outside, and also went for a brief run.  However, the afternoon turned breezy cloudy and cold.

This morning has been cloudy, cold and still.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Rio Rancho, NM) a partly sunny day, with a high temperature of 42 F.  The winds will from the east at 5-10 mph.  This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 21 F.  The winds will be from the south at 5 mph, becoming calm after midnight.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Socorro, NM) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 56 F.  The winds will be from the northeast at 5-10 mph, becoming south in the afternoon. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a low temperature of 20 F.  The winds will be from the south at 5 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque, NM, forecasts (for Magdalena, NM) a partly sunny day, with a high temperature of 38 F.  The winds will be from the northeast 5-10 mph, becoming southeast in the afternoon.  This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a low temperature of 23 F.  The winds will be from the south 5 mph, becoming west after midnight.

The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook and a Winter Weather Advisory for parts of the central mountain chain.  Light snow, freezing drizzle and freezing fog are possible in these areas, as shown in the Watches and Warnings graphic below:

The visible satellite image is unavailable at this time.

The infrared satellite image shows that are thicker clouds to the west drifting into the state this morning.

The enhanced low-level water vapor satellite imagery shows deep moisture is poised to move into the state from the west ahead of the next trough.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a saturated layer from 750 mb to 700 mb.  There was 0.23 inches of precipitable water present in the column.  There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH).  The Lifted Condensation Level (LCL) was 1021 m.  There was a large thermal inversion above 750 mb, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 2.1 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 18 kts low-level shear (due mostly to directional changes) and 46 kts deep-layer shear (due mostly to speed changes).

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cold temperatures and moderately high humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions).  The skies are cloudy over the north, east and central parts of the state (according to the sensors) and the winds are light and variable.

The surface pressure chart shows that very high pressure dominates the Great Plains.  Because of this, there is a moderate pressure gradient across the state this morning, though our pressure is also higher than average.  The RAP shows the gradient and the high pressure lingering for at least the next six hours.

The HRRR simulated reflectivity shows that precipitation is unlikely today.  This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The HRRR has the high temperatures around 23 Z.  Notice how much lower these high temperatures are as compared to yesterday.  We have a 14 F drop, thanks to the back door cold front that passed through yesterday afternoon.

The HRRR shows no strong wind gusts today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

Today will be much colder and cloudier than this past weekend.  It is a dreary morning so far, and I have no cause to think it will improve throughout the day.  I am a little surprised that the winds are not predicted to be stronger, given the moderate pressure gradient that persists across the state today.

Thank you for reading my post.

Sources:
The forecasts from the National Weather Service are from The NWS Homepage
The upper air soundings and mesoscale analysis plots are from the Storm Prediction Center website.
The satellite data, model data, and forecasted soundings are from College of DuPage – SATRAD

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