In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was cold, still and mostly clear. There are some clouds to our west, which is probably the leading edge of the approaching winter storm. I can’t believe we are half way through January.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a potentially nasty day, with a 40% chance of scattered showers and snow showers this afternoon and evening, with a high temperature of 41 F. Accumulation in the Albuquerque Metro area is expected to be under a half inch. This evening, the showers will continue, with a low temperature of 25 F. The NWS has issued a hazardous weather outlook for today, concerning the snow. There will be a few inches of snow in the northern and eastern parts of the state, though Skywarn Spotter activation is unlikely.
It is too early for visible satellite imagery.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows the approaching storm system, which is entering the Four Corners region.
The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is adequate moisture associated with this system.
The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque is unavailable at this time.
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show the clear skies, cold temperatures and still winds.
The surface pressure map shows the pressure drop from a few days ago. Currently, pressure over the Albuquerque Metro area is near the standard, but the overall trend is downward.
The RAP shows that the pressure will decrease over the next six hours, with a weak lee-side low developing in the Eastern Plains of New Mexico. The winds will also increase slightly through the metro area this afternoon.
The critical thicknesses plot is a little surprising to me. With the cold surface temperatures, I expected the critical thickness contours to be much closer to New Mexico than they are. As it turns out, no critical thickness contours encompass any part of New Mexico, though the 0 C isotherm covers most of the state. This may hinder severe winter weather.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows a deepening trough and embedded shortwave digging into the southwest. This is partially responsible for our winter weather.
At the 500 mb level, there will be some Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) moving through the northern and central part of the state throughout the afternoon and evening.
At the 700 mb level, there is some synoptic scale lift, leading to rapidly-rising air in the western part of the state today.
The 850 mb level NAM chart shows no significant thermal advection over the state today, though it does show a temperature gradient from north to south. However, I have excluded it from today’s post.
Overall, I expect some precipitation today throughout the Albuquerque Metro area. It may start out as rain and then transition to snow this evening. Either way, I do expect a messy night tonight.
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