In Socorro this morning, the weather was cold, calm and mostly clear. The electric sign on campus said the temperature was 27 F on my way into work.
Yesterday evening, I saw this neat thin, tubular cloud. I believe I’ve heard these called, “vorticity tubes,” and given the Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) yesterday afternoon, I would believe it. It may be due to the high shear; if you roll clay between your hands, you end up making a clay snake. I’m wondering if this “vorticity tube” marks the boundary between two sets of strong winds.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a 10% chance of snow (Rio Rancho) this morning, and then a sunny afternoon, with a high temperature of 44 F. This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 22 F. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the snow that is falling in the Eastern Plains. Snow will taper off from north to south, though a few inches of accumulation are possible south of I-40.
Visible satellite imagery is not available at this time.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows a few thicker clouds, particularly south of I-40 and well east of I-25.
The water vapor satellite imagery shows a disturbance that is passing through the southeastern corner of the state this morning.
The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a dry sounding above 650 mb, though the air near the surface is more humid. Even so, there was only 0.18 inches of precipitable water and no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present in the column this morning. Near the surface, there is only a slight thermal inversion, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.5 C/km.
The deep-layer shear was 28 kts, and the low-level shear was 6 kts. The shear was of mixed mode (speed and directional changes).
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show the cloudy skies in the east, low temperatures and still winds. The radar overlay shows that there is still precipitation falling over the Eastern Plains.
The surface pressure map shows that high pressure is spreading through the state today. There is a 1034 mb high pressure system over south central Colorado that will continue to grow and cover most of New Mexico over the next six hours, according to the RAP.
The critical thicknesses map shows that most of the critical thickness contours are south of the Eastern Plains. I would expect any falling precipitation to be snow in this region, based on the location of these contours.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows the steeply-tilted trough that extends through New Mexico today. An upper-level low pressure system will develop at the end of this trough today, according to the NAM. Even if we have low deep-layer shear right now, this will probably change drastically over the next 24 hours.
There is currently a vorticity maximum over the Four Corners area, according to the 500 mb NAM chart, and it will advect southeast throughout the day. This Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) is just behind the leading edge of the trough. By this afternoon, the Albuquerque Metro area will be in its wake, or an area of Negative Vorticity Advection (NVA).
This morning, there is some rapidly-rising air over the Eastern Plains, according to the 700 mb NAM chart, probably in response to the PVA. This will diminish by this evening.
The 850 mb NAM chart shows no significant thermal advection over the state today.
Overall, I expect a dynamic day for New Mexico. The weather will remain snowy for the morning and perhaps into the early afternoon for the Eastern Plains. As this disturbance moves through the area, the skies will begin to clear, allowing for maximum radiational cooling this evening. It will be a cold, clear 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