In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was right around the freezing mark, overcast, foggy, and a light drizzle falling. It is a dreary day in the Albuquerque Metro area.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a 70% chance of rain and snow throughout the day with a high temperature of 40 F. This evening, the chance of precipitation drops to 20%, with a low temperature of 27 F. They have issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook, which says that areas to the north and west of Albuquerque, particularly above 6500 feet will experience winter weather. For Days 2-7, there will be cooler temperatures and a stronger system that will impact the area with winter weather. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect starting Thursday evening.
It is too early for visible satellite imagery.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that there is a blanket of moderately cool-topped clouds over the state this morning.
The water vapor satellite imagery shows that deep moisture is impacting most of the state this morning.
The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a humid sounding, with nearly 100% relative humidity until around 500 mb, where the humidity tapered off slightly. There was 0.44 inches of precipitable water present and no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present today. There was no thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 5.1 Ck/m, which approached that of the Moist Adiabatic Lapse Rate (MALR – 5.0 C/km).
The deep-layer shear was 23 kts (mostly speed shear), and the low-level shear was 13 kts (mostly directional shear).
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show the still winds, overcast skies, cool temperatures and low dewpoint depressions (temperature – dewpoint = dewpoint depression).
The surface pressure map shows no sharp pressure gradients over the state this morning.
There are none expected to develop over the next six hours, according to the RAP. However, I would like to call your attention to the 1000 mb low pressure system off the California coast. This system will be correlated with our winter weather later this week. Notice on the radar that there is a thick patch of precipitation ahead of this low pressure system.
The critical thicknesses chart shows that the only critical thickness contour that passes through the state isn’t a thickness at all, but rather the 0 C isotherm. I included this to show the effect of the Rio Grande Rift. Notice how the temperature are warmer along the Rio Grande; the rift runs north to south, so depending on the system, warm air or cold air can be forced down this channel.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that we still have a split flow pattern over the country. Notice that the low pressure system is just off the Oregon/California coast.
The 500 mb NAM chart shows that there will be some relatively strong Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) into the northeastern corner of the state, as a local vorticity maxima moves northeast from central New Mexico.
The 700 mb NAM chart shows some rapidly-rising air in the Four Corners region, which may enhance precipitation.
The 850 mb NAM chart shows no significant thermal advection today over the state. This chart has been excluded from this post.
Overall, I expect today to be a soggy mess. There will be rain off and on all day, and some freezing this evening. I am paying close attention to the system that will hit later this week.
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