New Mexico Weather: 9/9/15

In Socorro this morning, it was cool and humid. The winds were still and the skies partly cloudy. I went for a walk around the NMT Campus and saw the sunrise, as shown in the cell phone photo below:

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts fair skies today, with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon and evening here in Socorro. The same holds true for Rio Rancho and the Albuquerque Metro area.

The visible satellite imagery shows mostly high clouds across the state, with a few cumulus clouds near the Texas border.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows the thickest, coolest topped clouds in the state are to the south, though I will watch the convective clouds near the eastern border as well.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows how the upper level trough has limited the advance of moisture farther north. We still have ample moisture over New Mexico, but the trough has dried out much of the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows that we have moisture, though it is less than it has been for several days. The precipitable water is down to 0.82 inches, and the dewpoint depressions are higher, except near 550 mb, where they are low (and the relative humidity is nearly 100%). There is just over 200 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present today, and slightly more Convective Inhibition (CIN) present this morning, limiting morning convection. However, the CIN expected to decrease throughout the day, leading to some showers and thunderstorms. The lapse rates are steeper than yesterday, with 7.4 C/km from the surface to 3 km.

The deep-layer shear is 26 kts, which is lower than yesterday. The low-level shear is 11 kts. With the trough having moved through the area, the shear will likely decrease through this afternoon and evening. The deep-layer shear is marginal, and a little boost could support rotating storms. It is at least high enough to keep storms ventilated and extend their lifetimes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show surface dewpoints much lower than yesterday; dewpoints are in the upper 40’s for most locations. The surface winds are calm, and the temperatures pleasant. There are no obvious frontal boundaries present in the state this morning.

The surface pressure map shows a 1010 mb low pressure developing in the southern part of the state, and a 1020 mb high pressure system developing just across the Colorado border. This morning, there is a pressure gradient between these, meaning there might be some surface breezes. However, the pressure gradient will fade through the day, as the high pressure system weakens, according to the NAM.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that there is a very weak jetstreak over the state. A few weaker areas of divergence aloft may boost thunderstorm activity this afternoon. Otherwise, the trough has moved northeast as the upper-level closed low has moved towards the western shore of the Hudson Bay.

There are no significant vorticity advections at the 500 mb level this afternoon.

The 700 mb chart shows some rising air over the Albuquerque Metro area this afternoon.

The 850 mb chart shows some Cold Air Advection (CAA) moving into the eastern part of the state. The winds blow directly across a temperature gradient in the southeastern corner, where the CAA will have the strongest stabilizing impact.

Overall, I expect a few showers and thunderstorms in the Albuquerque Metro area. It will be one of those days where if it doesn’t rain in your location, you will be able to see a location where it rains. The lower dewpoints and moisture will mean that some gusty winds are possible with these showers. Overall though, I am expecting a pleasant day.

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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