New Mexico Weather: 8/18/15

We ended up not receiving storms in the Albuquerque Metro Area, but plenty of places did get some rain yesterday. The SPC even extended a Marginal Risk into the state by the afternoon.

In Rio Rancho this morning, the skies are mostly clear with some haze. The backyard weather station says that the temperature is 71.6 F, the relative humidity is 58%, the relative pressure is 29.89 in Hg, and the winds are still.

The visible satellite imagery shows mostly clear skies over New Mexico today. There are a few remnant clouds from yesterday’s precipitation over the southeastern corner of the state.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows no new information and has been excluded from this post.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows a trough pushing into Northern New Mexico. There is still rich moisture to the south, but the trough has pushed dry air into the state.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows of that the dry air has not yet reached the Albuquerque Metro area. There is still 0.84 inches of preciptiable water present in the column. There is a dewpoint depression minimum around 450 mb, and the sounding takes on an slight inverted-v look. In terms of energy, there were 764 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and 343 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CIN) present.

The approaching shortwave trough has enhanced the deep-layer shear to 47 kts. This could support rotating storms. The low-level shear was 20 kts this morning; there is enough shear for tornadoes, if all of the other thermodynamic criteria were met.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show that there are still winds over the state. Over half of the reporting stations are reporting NO wind. Dewpoints remain in the low to mid-50’s, and no significant frontal boundaries are present on this image, though, once again, there could be outflow boundaries not showing up on this radar overlay.

The surface pressure map shows that the thermal low has changed shape yet again, but intensified to 1006 mb. The approaching shortwave trough may help to deepen this low pressure system as it passes. However, most of the state is under low pressure, so the pressure gradients are not very strong.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows the trough pushing southwards to the NM/CO border. The trough is bringing with it vorticity, shear, and cool, dry air.

The 500 mb chart shows a nose of vorticity poking into the northern part of the state, and advecting southeast. This will reach Jal by the end of the day, meaning there will be Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) across the eastern half of the state.

At the 700 mb level, there is strongly rising air, particularly over the eastern part of the state. This rising air is in response to the PVA shown at the 500 mb level.

There were no significant thermal advections at the 850 mb level, and thus I have excluded the plot. The 850 mb temperatures are still quite warm, so we can expect another hot day today.

Overall, I expect that there will be scattered showers in the western part of the state into the Albuquerque Metro area this evening. I am not sure whether there will be enough energy to overcome the CIN that is in place (the sounding forecast shows CIN this evening, so perhaps not). However, the eastern part of the state will get an extra boost from the PVA, higher temperatures and deep moisture. I expect there will be storms over the southeastern quadrant of the state. Some of these storms will reach severe limits, with large hail and damaging winds being the primary threats. With the Lifted Condensation Levels expected to exceed 2500 m, tornadoes are unlikely, even though the deep-layer shear is present.

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
The surface observation and upper level charts are from Unisys Weather.

The satellite data is from NASA – MSFC


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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