New Mexico Weather: 2/20/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather is quite pleasant. There are very few, thin clouds in the sky. The backyard weather station says that the temperature is 69.4 F, the relative humidity is 23%, the relative pressure is 30.27 in Hg and steady, and the winds are 2.2 mph from the east (but highly variable).

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today with a high temperature of 71 F and northwest winds 5-10 mph. This evening will be mostly clear, with a 5-10 mph north wind and a low temperature of 39 F. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for early next week concerning a strong cold front. This cold front may bring snow to the higher elevations and northwestern corner of the state. Skywarn Spotter activation is not anticipated at this time.

The visible satellite imagery and enhanced infrared satellite imagery show no clouds. They have been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows a moisture boundary extending through the state from west to east. This boundary runs just north of one jetstreak, and just south of another, as you will see on the 300 mb NAM chart.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a mostly dry sounding, with one slightly more humid layer at 600 mb. The precipitable water was 0.32 inches, and there was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) this morning. There was a strong thermal inversion near the surface and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 4.6 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 33 kts (dominated by speed changes), and the low-level shear was 15 kts (dominated by directional changes).

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show clear skies, warm temperatures and still winds, statewide. There are no major frontal boundaries or drylines present across the state today.

The surface pressure map shows that a 1024 mb high pressure pocket on the west side of the Rockies is approaching a 1014 mb pocket of air on the east side of the Rockies. There is a tight pressure gradient between these, some of which extends into northern New Mexico. The gradient will persist in this area over the next six hours, according to the RAP, but the pressure gradient will weaken throughout the rest of the state.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows the two jetstreaks. Notice how the stripe of dry air in the water vapor imagery corresponds to the space between these jetstreaks.

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 show no significant thermal advection over the state today. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

Overall, I expect a pleasant day today in the Albuquerque Metro area. I am sitting here, typing this post in my running clothes, as I will go for a jog when I finish posting.

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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