New Mexico Weather: 11/15/15

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather is cool, still and overcast. It looks like it could rain any minute. In fact, while typing this post, the rain began to fall.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a 20% chance of rain today (high of 57 F), increasing to 50% this evening (low of 46 F), with a chance of snow on Monday. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for most of the state concerning the increased rainfall this evening and the snow potential on Monday. In addition to these, there will be gusty winds as this system approaches. Skywarn Spotters are encouraged to report snowfall, wind speeds and wind damage to the NWS.

The visible satellite imagery shows cloudy skies over most of the state this morning. There are stratus clouds covering all but the northeastern corner of the state.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that most of the clouds are thin with low, warm tops, but there are some thicker clouds in the southeastern corner that hint at some convection, as well as a few thicker clouds just west of Albuquerque. Albuquerque will probably receive precipitation until this passes.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that the upper-level low pressure system does not appear as well defined, but that is only due to the strong moisture around the system. Yesterday, there was virtually no moisture near the system, so it was easily identifiable on water vapor imagery. Today, the moisture is ahead of the system, and that is how you can find its location.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows that more moisture was present this morning as compared to yesterday. Notice how the dewpoint trace (green) is not very far from the temperature trace (red). In fact, the area where they almost touch (around 600 mb) is probably our stratus cloud deck. The precipitable water is not very high, 0.37 inches, but high enough for some precipitation to form. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was only 4.1 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 46 kts, and the low-level shear was 16 kts. The increased shear is due to the approaching shortwave trough.

The surface observations and radar overlay (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show the precipitation falling along the western I-40 corridor. This is headed into Albuquerque, and so there will be more precipitation throughout the morning. There are no strong frontal boundaries present, but there is a dryline that cuts through the state along the I-25 corridor, then turns west along US-60. Notice how the dewpoints in the northwestern part of the state are in the 20’s and 30’s, but the dewpoint reaches 51 F in Tucumcari and 46 F in Truth or Consequences.

The surface pressure map shows no strong pressure gradients over the state this morning, and the RAP shows none developing in the next six hours. There is a strong gradient just across the very northern part of New Mexico into Colorado, where the pressure drops from 1018 mb to 1010 mb as you move northeast, but the gradient remains mostly on the Colorado side.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that the trough has moved ashore and has deepened into southern California and Nevada. There are two jetstreaks on the trough, one is passing through the end of the trough, and the stronger one is still on the western side. Otherwise, flow over the state is getting stronger and from the southwest.

The 500 mb chart shows that there is no significant vorticity advection occurring over the state until Monday morning.

The 700 mb chart shows there are no major synoptic features causing rapidly rising air over the state today.

The 850 mb chart shows no significant thermal advection occurring over the state today.

Overall, I expect the trough to deepen, considering the strongest jetstreak is on the western side of the trough. I am expecting a messy, rainy day throughout the Albuquerque Metro area, and will be watching this trough closely over the next few days.

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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