New Mexico Weather: 2/15/16

I busted the forecast yesterday, as it got quite cloudy by the afternoon. However, those clouds dissipated for a mostly clear evening. I underestimated the southern extent of the trough and the amount of cloud cover its nose would produce.

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather is cool, mostly clear and there is a slight breeze that is just shaking my amateur radio antenna. Currently, the backyard weather station says the temperature is 39.0 F, the relative humidity is 64%, the relative pressure is 30.24 in Hg and rising, and the winds are 5.8 mph from the south.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a sunny day today, with a high temperature of 64 F and northwest winds from 5 to 15 mph. This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 34 F and the northwest winds will remain 5 to 15 mph. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for later this week, concerning higher winds and a fire weather threat.

The visible satellite imagery is not available at this time.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows a few patchy, thin clouds over the state today.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows variable moisture over the state. There are several pockets of deeper moisture, in the form of some clouds. The trough is visible over the Great Plains, and it is drumming up severe weather in the deep south. A few convective storms are firing over Louisiana and Mississippi.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a dry atmosphere again today. There are no damp layers, except perhaps above 200 mb. The moisture from yesterday’s mid-levels has mixed through the boundary layer, raising the humidity near the surface slightly. There is still only 0.22 inches of precipitable water present, and no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE). The temperature was variable in the boundary layer, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 4.0 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 46 kts, and the low-level shear was 28 kts. Most of the shear is due to speed changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show still winds, cold temperatures and clear skies.

The surface pressure map shows that the state is under slightly-higher pressure this morning. There isn’t a strong gradient in present.

The RAP shows some lee-side low pressure developing over southeastern Colorado. Over the next six hours, there will be a pressure gradient developing as the 1018 mb slightly higher pressure pushes in from the Four Corners area, and the 1008 mb slightly lower pressure develop. The farther north in the state, the stronger the gradient (and thus, the stronger the winds).

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows the steep trough through the Mississippi Valley this evening. New Mexico will be on the far west side of the trough, giving us northwesterly flow throughout this afternoon and evening.

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 that we are the generator for some Warm Air Advection (WAA) moving into the southern high plains. Notice the winds blowing across the thermal gradient from warm to cool. Perhaps some politicians are visiting the state this afternoon.

Overall, I expect a pleasant day again today. I will do some gardening, go for a run, and perhaps a bike ride this afternoon. Not bad for a February day!

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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