New Mexico Weather: 1/17/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather is cool, breezy and mostly sunny. The backyard weather station says the temperature is 51.3 F, the relative humidity is 33%, the relative pressure is 30.23 in Hg and rising, and the winds are 5.3 mph from the north.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today, with a high temperature of 46 F and winds 10-15 mph from the northwest. This evening, the skies will remain mostly clear, with a low temperature of 26 F. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for locally high winds along several of the major mountain chains. Skywarn Spotter activation is not anticipated at this time.

The visible satellite imagery shows the mostly clear skies over most of the state.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows no thick clouds, so it has been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows a faint moisture feature running through the center of New Mexico. It looks like this is perhaps moisture running near a trough, or a weak frontal boundary. It comes to a point just west of Albuquerque.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a dry atmosphere, though we still have a humid layer near 700 mb. The precipitable water was 0.22 inches, and there was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE). There was a slight thermal inversion in place, and that lowered the 0-3 km average lapse rate to 4.0 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 66 kts, and the low-level shear was 30 kts. Most of this shear was due to speed changes more so than directional changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show clear skies throughout most of the state, with slightly stronger winds along the central mountain ranges.

The surface pressure map shows that we are dominated by high pressure this morning, 1026 mb near the Four Corners area. There is a tight pressure gradient across the northern part of the state. The RAP shows this trend is expected to continue for the next six hours at least.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that, while we are still on the backside of a trough, there is an embedded shortwave and jetstreak passing through the state today that is responsible for our high shear values.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows some Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) in the northern half of the state, due to this jetstreak and shortwave.

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

The 850 mb NAM chart shows no strong thermal advection today. There is a strong temperature gradient to the east, but the winds are blowing along the gradient rather than across it. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

Overall, I expect a sunny, but potentially breezy day today in the Albuquerque Metro area.

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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