Travel Weather: Anaheim, CA to Rio Rancho, NM

I will be on the road today as I return to Rio Rancho, NM, from Anaheim, CA. So far this morning, it is cool, still and partly cloudy here in Anaheim.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in San Diego, I will pass through a Wind Advisory on before leaving California.

The NWS office in Flagstaff, AZ, shows another Wind Advisory in eastern Arizona.

The NWS office in Albuquerque, NM, shows yet another wind Advisory in western New Mexico.

No matter where we go along this route, it looks like a windy trip back to New Mexico. This is all in response to the approaching upper-level trough and the gradients it causes at lower levels in the atmosphere.

It is too early for visible satellite imagery, but the enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows some light, low-topped clouds along the I-40 corridor.

The water vapor imagery shows that the upper-level low is intensifying, at least in terms of moisture. Notice how there is more moisture spiraling into it today as compared to yesterday. There is also what looks like a large cold front that extends south from this system.

The surface pressure map shows that low pressure is deepening over Nevada (1000 mb) and high pressure over New Mexico (1018 mb), which may contribute to some stronger winds this morning.

The RAP shows that the low pressure system will continue to intensify over the next six hours, dropping the pressure to 998 mb, and strengthening the pressure gradient across California. This sharp gradient will lead to windy conditions.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart shows the strengthening trough and sharp tilt. Notice the small jetstreak over southern Nevada.

At the 500 mb level, there will be some strong Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) across northern Arizona ahead of this trough.

Even with the strong PVA, there is no large pockets of synoptically lifted, rapidly rising air showing up on the 700 mb NAM chart. It has been excluded from today’s analysis.

As we cross through Arizona, we will be bringing the cold air. Notice the Cold Air Advection (CAA) moving in from the west across Arizona at the 850 mb level. Sorry, guys, it’s our fault.

Overall, I am expecting a windy and cool trip back to New Mexico. It is unfortunate, as the weather here has been great, and I guess I am a bit spoiled by it at this point. Yesterday, they had a cool day, and some light drizzle in the evening, and a flannel shirt was almost too much. Instead, I’ll return to the Albuquerque Metro area and think about where I might get some firewood for Thanksgiving weekend.

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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