In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was cool and overcast. Last night was cold and a little breezy. I wasn’t expecting much wind, but there was some.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a 20% chance of rain or snow today with a high temperature of 40 F. This evening, the chances of snow increase to 60%, with accumulation of 1-2″ possible. The forecasted low temperature is 25 F. The NWS has issued a bunch of Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Warnings across much of the state, due to this winter storm. Here is the graphic from the NWS that shows the areas under watches and warnings.
It is too early for visible satellite imagery over New Mexico.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that some thicker clouds are moving into and across the state, particularly over the Four Corners region, and along the northern border with Colorado.
The water vapor satellite imagery shows the deep moisture associated with this winter storm.
The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a less humid atmosphere as compared to yesterday, with larger dewpoint depressions and 0.26 inches of precipitable water throughout the column. However, 0.26″ of precipitable water is still more than enough to produce clouds and precipitation. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE), and no thermal inversion. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.9 C/km.
The deep-layer shear was 33 kts, and the low-level shear was 11 kts. The shear at all levels was almost entirely due to speed changes, rather than directional changes.
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show clear skies to the east over the New Mexico Plains, and cold temperatures, statewide.
The surface pressure map shows two 1004 mb low pressure systems: one over Utah and one over the Texas Panhandle. There is a tight pressure gradient over northern New Mexico, leading to higher wind speeds through Taos and Raton. The RAP is unavailable at this time.
The critical thicknesses map shows the 0 C isotherm extending far into Mexico. The 850-700 mb critical thickness contour (yellow, 1540 m) and the 1000-500 mb critical thickness contour (red, 5400 m) are creeping southeast through the Four Corners region.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that we are still under a split flow pattern for a few more days. The 300 mb winds are much stronger in the southern half of the state due to an elongated, broad jetstreak.
The 500 mb NAM chart shows that there will be some Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA), particularly along the western edge of the state this evening.
The 700 mb NAM chart shows little rapidly-rising air over New Mexico, but notice the large area of rapidly-rising air over Arizona that is headed our direction.
The 850 mb NAM chart shows no strong thermal advection today. This chart has been excluded from this post.
Overall, I expect the next 48 hours will be interesting. I am able to get to Socorro this morning, but I wonder what conditions will be like when I leave work this evening, and whether I will be able to get home. I expect there to be some snowfall, though perhaps it will be lighter in the Rio Grande Valley.
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