New Mexico Weather: 12/16/15

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was cool, breezy and partly cloudy. The backyard weather station says that the temperature is 42.8 F, the relative humidity is 36%, the relative pressure is 30.06 in Hg, and the winds are 4.5 mph from the southwest.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today with a high of 37 F. This evening, the weather will be mostly clear with a low of 18 F. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for extremely low wind chill temperatures this evening, and for the possibility of more winter storms starting Tuesday of next week.

The visible satellite imagery shows that there are some light clouds, particularly in the northern and western part of the state. Even so, it can barely be classes as “partly cloudy,” as there are very few clouds in no organized pattern.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that the few clouds there are over the state are not very thick.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is uniform moisture over the state. There is an upper-level disturbance over Minnesota and Wisconsin, but no moisture disturbances over New Mexico today.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows that the dewpoint depressions are moderate throughout the column, with one area of high humidity near 700 mb. There was 0.18 inches of precipitable water, and no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present in the column this morning. There was a small radiational inversion near the surface, which dropped the 0-3 km average lapse rate to 4.8 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 27 kts, and the low-level shear was 25 kts. The shear is a broad mix of of directional and speed shear, partially because of the abrupt direction change from 500 mb to 350 mb.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show light, disorganized winds, clear skies, as well as low temperatures and dewpoints. There are no major frontal boundaries or drylines present over the state today.

The surface pressure map shows high pressure over the Utah and Arizona border, which places a pressure gradient across northern New Mexico this afternoon.

The RAP has this gradient intensifying as the high pressure moves east, but a resistant pocket of 1012 mb air does not shift very far. The gradient bunches up between Farmington and Raton over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that we are in the middle of a broad trough, which explains our cold temperatures. The trough has deepened past New Mexico into Mexico, which is why the deep-layer shear has dropped from yesterday.

There is no strong vorticity advection forecasted to impact the state today, according to the 500 mb NAM chart.

There is no rapidly-rising air forecasted to impact the state today, according to the 700 mb NAM chart.

There is no strong thermal advection forecasted to impact the state today, according to the 850 mb NAM chart. Over night, however, there will be some Cold Air Advection (CAA).

Overall, I expect that I will be getting out of town just in time. There will be cold air moving in early tomorrow morning, and the potential for winter weather starting Tuesday. I will be on the east coast, which may or may not be any better.

Starting tomorrow, I will be on the road. I will post when I can, though the posts will likely concern the weather along the way.

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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