New Mexico Weather: 10/5/15

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was cool. It has been officially fall for about two weeks, and this was the first morning I brought a long-sleeved flannel shirt to work with me on my commute. I have it tied around my waist, as I did not need it, but I brought it anyway. The skies are overcast and the winds are still.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts showers and thunderstorms in the Albuquerque Metro area. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for dense fog along I-25 near Raton Pass this morning, and for thunderstorms this evening. The primary threat from the thunderstorms will be small hail and gusty winds. Skywarn Spotter activation is not anticipated.

The western part of the state has also been placed under a Marginal Risk for severe weather, according to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). We are just barely out of the 2% Tornado Threat Ring.

The visible satellite imagery shows nothing, as it is too early and the sun is too low on the horizon for visible satellite imagery.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that there is a thin blanket of clouds over the state. None of these clouds have high or cool tops.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows a lot of neat things. It shows the two tropical cyclones in the Atlantic. It also shows several storms firing in a line ahead of the trough in Arizona. Notice the puffs of moisture in clusters.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a damp atmosphere, with a surface dewpoint of 51 F, and low dewpoint depressions (high relative humidity) until around 550 mb. There was 0.86 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning. The Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) was 98 J/kg. The 0-3 km lapse rate has dropped to 6.5 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 20 kts, and the low-level shear was 12 kts. This is not enough to support long-lasting, rotating updrafts, though a little shear boost from the approaching shortwave trough could fix that.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show overcast skies and moderately high dewpoints statewide. The winds are slow, but consistent throughout the state, with the exception of the Carlsbad station. There are no major frontal boundaries or drylines present from this surface map.

The surface pressure map shows a 1020 mb high pressure system in the Panhandles Region, and a 1006 mb low pressure system over Arizona. This creates a pressure gradient through the state, particularly in the northwestern corner.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows the intensifying upper level low over the southwest. It is quickly on its way to becoming a closed low, independent of the jet. Over New Mexico, the approaching trough/embedded low is raising the upper level wind speeds over New Mexico.

There are no strong vorticity advections forecasted at the 500 mb level.

There is no strong upward vertical velocities forecasted at the 700 mb level.

There are no strong thermal advections forecasted at the 850 mb level.

Overall, I expect a dreary day today in the Albuquerque Metro area. It will be interesting to see the extent of the Marginal Risk/2% Tornado Threat over Arizona, but I am not anticipating much severe weather in this state. Daytime heating will be limited today due to the cloud cover, and we are still a day away from the trough’s direct effect.

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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