In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was cold,, mostly clear and still. There are some high cirrus clouds over the eastern and southern skies as well as a few lenticulars over the mountains.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today, with a high temperature of 45 F. This evening, the skies will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 24 F. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for light to moderate snowfall and icy conditions in the Northeastern Highlands and East Central Plains today.
It is too early for visible satellite imagery.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows a few thicker clouds to the south and east.
The water vapor satellite imagery shows deeper moisture in the south. It wouldn’t surprise me to see this drift northeast and produce some snow, based on the NWS forecast.
The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a dry sounding, with a few humid layers- one at around 700 mb and one at 450 mb. Overall, the sounding was dry, however, with only 0.20 inches of precipitable water and no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE). There was only a slight thermal inversion near the surface, so the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 5.2 C/km.
The deep-layer shear was 78 kts, and the low-level shear was 22 kts. The low-level shear was mostly due to directional changes, whereas the upper-level shear was mostly due to speed changes.
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show clear skies, freezing temperatures and still winds, statewide.
The surface pressure map shows a slight pressure gradient across the Colorado and New Mexico border, but no strong gradient in the Albuquerque Metro area. The pressure is not strong in either direction, and this trend will continue for at least the next six hours, according to the RAP. The pressure gradient is also expected to decrease.
The critical thickness chart show several of the critical thickness contours passing through the western part of the state, where the moisture is sparse. However, there is some moisture in the northeastern corner of the state, which is north of two of the critical thickness contours.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows a trough over New Mexico this afternoon, with a weak, embedded jetstreak crossing through the southern part of the state.
The 500 mb chart shows some Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) along the north-central part of the state, associated with the strongly-tilted trough.
The PVA also boosts the rapidly-rising air in this region, as shown on the 700 mb NAM chart.
At the 850 mb level, there is some weak Cold Air Advection (CAA) over the northeastern part of the state. As it spreads south, the critical thickness contours will move as well. This will expand the area of snow overage farther south.
Overall, I expect a sunny day in the Albuquerque Metro area, with some snow possible in the eastern and northern parts of the state. I think today will represent a welcome relief from the wind, as well.
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