New Mexico Weather: 10/17/15

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was clear, cool, and a bit breezy. This afternoon, it has become overcast and the winds have become much more calm.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a 20% chance of showers this afternoon on an otherwise mostly cloudy day. They have issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for later this week, but no severe weather is expected this evening.

The visible satellite imagery shows a clear division in clouds; east of the I-25 corridor, skies are clear, but west of it it, there are overcast skies.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that none of the clouds are thick; all of them have low, warm tops.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is some moisture above New Mexico, though most of the convection is to our south into Mexico.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows low dewpoint depressions (and thus high relative humidity) throughout most of the column. There is a layer of dry air from around 600 mb to 500 mb, which is why the precipitable water is down to 0.62 inches from yesterday’s 0.69 inches. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and only a weak radiational inversion at the surface this morning. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was only 4.5 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 21 kts, and the low-level shear was 26 kts. There is a lot of low level shear, though not much energy to form storms.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show winds from the south, and low dewpoints throughout the state. There are no major frontal boundaries present; the back door cold front has completed its run through the state, with a combination of mixing out (weakening) and moving west.

The surface pressure map shows high pressure creeping into the state from the east behind the back door cold front. There is 1020 mb high pressure over the eastern part of the state, but no steep pressure gradients. The gradient is expected to weaken throughout the next six hours, according to the RAP.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows weak, zonal flow across the state. There is a trough forming off the Pacific Northwestern coast that may be a weather-maker later this week. The loop shows it beginning to affect New Mexico by Tuesday.

The 500 mb chart shows no significant vorticity advection over the state today, or over the next few days.

The 700 mb chart shows no significant pockets of rising air over the state today, or over the next few days.

The 850 mb chart shows no significant thermal advections over the state today, or over the next few days.

Overall, I expect there to be some afternoon showers all over the western half of New Mexico. Currently, we are not experiencing any rain, though I also wouldn’t plan a barbeque for this evening.

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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