New Mexico Weather: 2/2/16

In Socorro this morning, the weather was cold, windy and mostly clear.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a 10% chance of snow today, with a high temperature of 37 F. The northwest winds will remain strong (10-15 mph) into the evening. This evening will be mostly cloudy with a low temperature of 18 F. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning high winds (particularly Union and Harding Counties) and for snow in the northern mountains. It also mentions the possibility of snow on Friday as well.

The visible satellite imagery is unavailable at this time.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that the winter storm has mostly exited the state, though there are a few thin clouds scattered around the state.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that the mid-latitude cyclone that gave us snow yesterday has moved northeast towards the Colorado and Nebraska border. Notice how the moisture spins cyclonically into this system.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows that the atmosphere over New Mexico has dried out; we had higher dewpoint depressions and the precipitable water had dropped to 0.18 inches. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no thermal inversion in place this morning. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 7.1 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 35 kts, and the low-level shear was 8 kts. The shear was mostly speed shear, and it was considerably lower than yesterday. The trough has moved such that we are in the middle of it, and the upper-level winds have decreased.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show scattered clouds, relatively strong winds, and cold temperatures across the state this morning. There are no major frontal boundaries or drylines present.

The surface pressure map shows that we still have a strong pressure gradient across the state, which is causing our gusty winds this morning. You can see the mid-latitude cyclone exiting our area, but stirring up trouble in the Ozarks today. The RAP shows that over the next six hours, the pressure gradient will persist.

The critical thickness contour map shows that the critical thickness contours have plunged south behind the cold front. If there is precipitation falling today, it will likely be snow.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that we are in the middle of the trough, though the upper level winds will remain strong south of the Albuquerque Metro area.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows that there is vorticity in the area, the vorticity doesn’t seem to be advecting; the places that have vorticity continue to have vorticity throughout the day. I have excluded this chart from today’s post.

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

The 850 mb NAM chart shows that there is ongoing Cold Air Advection (CAA) this morning, but it will taper off towards the evening. It’s going to be a cold morning.

Overall, I expect a cold, windy, but mostly sunny day throughout the state. The CAA is strong this morning, so I think the entire day will be cold. There may be some snow associated with the few clouds that are about, but I don’t anticipate any accumulation or expect many new clouds to form.

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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