After two months of watching for storms and storm chasing when I could, it’s time to go back to my routine of predicting the local weather.
This morning was pleasant when I started my run, but has quickly heated up. Currently, the conditions in my backyard at Rio Rancho are a temperature of 88.3 F, a relative humidity of 34%, a relative pressure of 29.97 in Hg (1014.7 mb), and the winds are light from the southeast. The skies are mostly sunny, with some mid-level cumulus about. To my west, I can see some developing cumulus clouds, so perhaps we will see some rain this evening.
Here is a photo from my backyard, looking almost straight up, this morning.
Visible satellite imagery over the state shows upslope cumulus forming along the easternmost ridge of mountains. Over the west, there are more mixed-mode clouds, with some new cumulus and some high, detached anvil material from yesterday’s showers and storms, particularly in the southwestern corner of the state.
The water vapor imagery shows a few patches of denser moisture, particularly in the northeastern corner of the state, but the entire state has some moisture aloft.
The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a relatively moist atmosphere. The surface dewpoint was 59 F this morning. There is 1.15 inches of precipitable water in the column as well.
In terms of energy, there was 227 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present this morning and only a slight capping inversion, which is probably why I am already seeing vertical development in the cumulus clouds to my west.
In terms of shear, there is almost none. The low-level shear is 7 kts, and the deep-layer shear is only 11 kts, meaning the likelihood of rotating storms is very small.
Across the state, the winds are variable and light, according to the surface observations.
The surface pressure is hovering around 1012 mb for most of the state. I, however have the pressure as around 1014.7 mb at the house. Either way, there are no sharp pressure gradients across the state, so I expect winds to be light, except for perhaps the outflow boundaries of convection later this afternoon.
Looking at the NAM forecast soundings, we start to see an area of nearly 100% relative humidity on the 21Z sounding, just above the 500 mb isobar. Below it, the air is not very dry, so if precipitation forms, little of it will evaporate. Also, notice the surface temperature 30C (86F). This is the highest temperature of any of the NAM forecasted soundings, though the temperature might go higher between the 18Z and 21Z soundings.
Overall, I do expect some showers and thunderstorms this evening in the Albuquerque Metro area, and likely across the state. Storms could produce heavy rain, based on the 1.15 inches of precipitable water and slow storm motions. With limited shear, few of these storms will reach severe limits, if any.
Thank you for reading my forecast.
The New Mexico Watches and Warnings weather graphic is from the Albuquerque NWS website.
The upper air soundings and mesoscale analysis plots are from the Storm Prediction Center website.
The forecasted upper air soundings are from TwisterData.com.
The surface observation and upper level charts are from Unisys Weather.
The satellite data is from NASA – MSFC