New Mexico Weather: 1/10/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather has been cool, overcast and still. I underestimated the breeziness yesterday, as it got a little breezy in the evening. My backyard weather station says the temperature is 39.9 F, the relative humidity is 43%, the relative pressure is 30.17 in Hg and steady, and the winds are 2.8 mph from the southwest.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a partly sunny and cool day today, with a high temperature of 36 F. This evening, the skies will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 16 F. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the cold temperatures, which will reach -10 F and -20 F in the northern parts of the state, as well as at higher elevations. There will also be 1-3 inches of snow at higher elevations in the western part of the state.

The visible satellite imagery shows the thin layer of clouds over the state today. There is some light poking through, but mostly, the clouds are quite translucent.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that the clouds are not very thick, but they are slightly thicker to the west.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is still some moisture over New Mexico, though the dominant feature on this image is the strong moisture gradient to the east that lags just behind a cold front that extends all the way through the country.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a distinct cloud layer. Notice how the dewpoint depression goes to zero at 700 mb (where the red and green traces touch). There is very high humidity in this region (100%), which is probably our cloud layer. Other than that, the humidity has dropped throughout most of the atmosphere. This morning, we had 0.17 inches of precipitable water and no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present in the column today. There was a slight thermal inversion near the surface, which lowered our 0-3 km average lapse rate to 5.7 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 65 kts (speed shear), and the low-level shear was 7 kts (directional shear).

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show almost all of the New Mexico weather stations are reporting no wind at all. Sky coverage varies, but the skies are clearer today than they’ve been for several days. There are no drylines or major frontal boundaries present in today’s surface observations.

The surface pressure map shows that the region is dominated by high pressure (1022 mb) which will decrease throughout the day to 1020 mb in the next six hours, according to the RAP. However, this pressure will become more uniform across the state, and still be slightly higher than the mean surface pressure. There are no strong pressure gradients.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that there is a bulge in the trough that extends through the middle of the country, and that bulge is going to pass over New Mexico this evening.

There is some light Negative Vorticity Advection (NVA) moving into the state from the north at the 500 mb level, but not enough to warrant much clearing. I have excluded this chart from today’s post.

The 700 mb NAM chart shows no rapidly rising air. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows no significant thermal advection through the state. The cold temperatures already arrived, and the bulk of the Cold Air Advection (CAA) is moving east now through the Deep South.

Overall, I expect a cold, chilly day today. I don’t expect any more snow in the Albuquerque Metro area, but the cold temperatures may make you wish for it. I didn’t take down my Christmas lights yesterday, or replace the battery in my car, so I’ll have to do that today, even though the temperature is colder. Procrastination doesn’t pay.

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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