New Mexico Weather: 2/5/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather sounds quite miserable. I have not yet been outside, but I hear the wind chimes clanging together. The backyard weather station says the temperature is 20.5 F, the relative humidity is 64%, the relative pressure is 30.35 in Hg and steady, and the winds are 6.9 mph from the northwest.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day with a high temperature of 40 F. Winds will be 10-15 mph from the northwest. This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 17 F and 5-10 mph northwest winds. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the possibility of 1-3 inches of snow in the northeastern part of the state.

The visible satellite imagery is unavailable at this time.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows a large patch of thicker clouds over central New Mexico, but otherwise there are no thick clouds over the state.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that a moisture boundary has passed, and is now east of us. You can see the cluster of moisture associated with the cloud cover in the center of the state as well.

The 12Z upper air sounding shows a dry sounding above 700 mb, but there is some moisture in the boundary layer. There was 0.16 inches of precipitable water present in the column today. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present, and no thermal inversion near the surface, but there was a slight inversion near 750 mb. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 3.7 C/km.

In terms of shear, the low-level shear was 23 kts and was mostly directional in nature. The deep-layer shear was 43 kts, with the upper atmosphere dominated by speed shear.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cold temperatures, mostly clear skies, and low dewpoints throughout the state. There are no major frontal boundaries present on this chart.

The surface pressure map shows the steep pressure gradient across northern and central New Mexico between the high pressure system in Utah and the lower pressure in the Texas Panhandle. The RAP shows the Utah high pressure expanding and the lower pressure moving east over the next six hours. The pressure gradient weakens slightly, but is still present.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that the small shortwave trough from yesterday has blown into a full-size trough, and will pass through northeastern New Mexico by this evening.

A vorticity maxima appears on the 500 mb NAM chart, and moves from the I-25 corridor in the north to the northeastern corner of the state. This Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) may produce a few clouds, and perhaps some falling precipitation. This is why there is a threat of snow in this region.

Even with the PVA, 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 cold, breezy and clear day today in the Albuquerque Metro area. I am not digging this cold weather right now; the thermostat at my house is flaky and needs to be replaced. Right now, it is flashing “ER” for “error”, and the furnace is off. This afternoon, I will need to replace it, as well as some insulation near my shower pipes, as they froze earlier this week (no damage). It’d be nice to not have to wear a parka while I did all of this, but you know what they say, wish in one hand…

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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