New Mexico Weather: 1/23/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was cool, still and mostly cloudy. We have high cirrus clouds throughout most of the skies even this afternoon. The backyard weather station says the temperature is 57.9 F, the relative humidity is 24%, the relative pressure is 30.17 in Hg and falling, and the winds are 1.7 mph from the southwest.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny afternoon, with a high temperature of 55 F. This evening, the weather will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 31 F. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for tomorrow and later this week, particularly for the Eastern Plains of New Mexico.

The visible satellite imagery shows our mostly cloudy skies.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that a few of the clouds are thicker; they are scattered around the northern half of the state.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is ample moisture over New Mexico this afternoon, though the dominant feature over the country is the low pressure system that is bringing the winter storm to the Mid-Atlantic Region. I will post about this storm tomorrow or Monday.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a relatively dry sounding, with an especially thick dry layer at around 650 mb. There was 0.18 inches of precipitable water and no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present in the column this morning. There was a weak, but thick thermal inversion near the surface that lowered the 0-3 km average lapse rate to 1.3 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 41 kts, and the low-level shear was 18 kts. The lower level shear is dominated by direction changes, while the upper level shear is due entirely to speed changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show the mild temperatures and light winds. The observation stations can probably see right through the high clouds, which is why the station icons show clear skies.

The surface pressure map shows that we are neither under high pressure or low pressure in the Albuquerque Metro area. There is a tighter pressure gradient near the Colorado and New Mexico border. The RAP shows the pressure lowering over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that we are now on the backside of the ridge, with a new trough approaching from the west, currently over central California. We have nearly-zonal flow, with a slight southwestern component to the winds at 300 mb.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows no significant vorticity advection over the state today. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

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 significant thermal advection over the state today. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

Overall, I expect a mild day today. I’m looking forward to getting outside and doing a little yard work. Maybe I’ll go for a bike ride, too. This evening, the scattered clouds will limit some of the radiational cooling, which is why the low temperature is not as low as it has been for several days.

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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