New Mexico Weather: 9/18/15

In Rio Rancho this morning, the backyard weather station is showing the temperature as 66.2 F, the relative humidity as 43%, the relative pressure as 29.96 in Hg and rising, and the winds are still. The skies are mostly sunny.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts partly cloudy skies today for the Albuquerque Metro area. They have also issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for much of New Mexico for gusty winds this evening. Skywarn Spotter activation is not anticipated at this time.

The visible satellite imagery shows cloud cover over the eastern half of the state. Mostly, the clouds are cumuloform, with a slight mountain wave pattern visible in those between Albuquerque and Clayton.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows a patch of thicker clouds in the northeast. These clouds have slightly cooler, higher tops than the clouds over the rest of the state.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that New Mexico is in a moisture plume extending from the Gulf of California. However, it is not as rich as it has been in the past, so we will be watching this over the next few days to see if it strengthens.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows that much drying has occurred since yesterday. The dewpoint depressions are high throughout the entire column, and the precipitable water is down to 0.38 inches. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present this morning, and the 0-3 km lapse rate was only 6.0 C/km. Today looks stable thus far.

The deep-layer shear was 43 kts, the low-level shear was 14 kts. The shear was enough to support rotating storms, provided there was any convection possible to form storms in the first place.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show the still winds, low dewpoints (30’s and 40’s), and cool temperatures (50’s and 60’s) statewide. There are no major frontal boundaries present on this map.

The surface pressure map shows a low pressure system developing over the Panhandles Region (TX/OK). This morning, it is an area of 1006 mb, with a modest pressure gradient extending across New Mexico to a higher pressure region (1014 mb).

Six hours from now, the low pressure system has expanded west and intensified (1004 mb), strengthening the gradient. We can expect gusty winds with this sharp pressure gradient, though Colorado will see the bulk of the gusty winds.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows the phased jetstreams moving with the trough across the central part of the country. With it, a weak jetstreak will move through the northern half of the state, and upper level winds will begin to diminish from west to east later this afternoon.

The 500 mb chart shows a small pocket of Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) in the very northeast corner of the state as a weak, local vorticity maximum follows behind the jetstreak and moves east.

The 700 mb chart shows rising air in the northeastern corner, which is likely due to the PVA shown at 500 mb.

The 850 mb chart shows the beginnings of another back door cold front forming in southwestern Kansas and pushing southwest. There is some Cold Air Advection (CAA) pushing into the northeastern corner of New Mexico.

Overall, I expect a day of transition. I expect there to be gusty winds and perhaps a few storms over the northeastern part of the state, associated with the PVA and approaching cold front. However, given the limited moisture, I do not expect widespread showers or severe weather.

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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