New Mexico Weather: 8/15/15

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather is hot. I had great plans of going for a run and then weeding my garden. In less than an hour, it went from 65 F to 85 F, so that cancelled my plans. Currently, my backyard weather station says the temperature is 97.5 F, 26% relative humidity, and a relative pressure of 30.09 in Hg. The winds are still, and there are no clouds. Once again, there is some haze at the horizon.

The visible satellite imagery shows the clear skies over most of the state. There are some light cumulus clouds over the northwestern and southwestern corners of the state, as well as over a few of the mountains.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that these clouds are thin, with warm, low tops.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is still plenty of moisture over New Mexico, with no sharp moisture gradients.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows more moisture and instability today as compared to yesterday. We had 1.06 inches of precipitable water in the column this morning, and the dewpoint depressions are much lower than they have been for several days. There was 247 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present this morning, and it is expected to climb over 1200 J/kg by this afternoon. The lapse rates were not as steep as yesterday, and there was substantial Convective Inhibition (CIN), but the thermal inversion at the surface was also weaker.

In terms of shear, the deep-layer shear has dropped to 3 kts, which is unbelievably low. The low-level shear has increased to 11 kts.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show dewpoints in the mid 50’s throughout most of the state. Winds are calm, and no major frontal boundaries are present.

The surface pressure map shows that the high pressure system over north-central New Mexico continues to weaken, dropping to 1016 mb. There are no strong pressure gradients present this morning.

Synoptically speaking, the NAM (from Unisys) 700 mb chart shows rising air by this afternoon over the Albuquerque Metro area.

At the 300 mb level, New Mexico is still in the middle of a heat ridge.

The 850 mb level and 500 mb level show no significant thermal advection or vorticity advection, respectively.

Overall, I expect there will be some scattered showers and thunderstorms about the Albuquerque Metro area today. I think that I underestimated the potential yesterday, and today, there is more moisture, more CAPE, and potentially stronger lift (as indicated by the 750 mb NAM chart). Looking outside, and drawing from old wives’ tales, the tree leaves are curled upwards, which used to be my indication that there would be afternoon thunderstorms.

With the low deep-layer shear, storms will be poorly ventilated and will not last long. However, glancing at the TwisterData.com soundings, they will take on an inverted-v shape, so there may be some gusty winds associated with these storms. With 1.06 inches of precipitable water and almost no steering winds, these storms may be slow moving and may produce some flash flooding.

Thank you for reading my forecast.

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

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About highplainschasing

This blog is about my tales in storm chasing. My name is Seth Price and I am an instrumentation instructor at New Mexico Tech. My amateur radio call sign is N3MRA.
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