New Mexico Weather: 2/21/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather has been absolutely beautiful. I woke up late after having had a migraine early in the morning, so I did not go for a run in today’s beautiful weather. The backyard weather station says the temperature is 72.5 F, the relative humidity is 17%, the relative pressure is 30.24 in Hg and steady, and the winds are 3.1 mph from the southeast. There are a few high cirrus clouds in the sky, but less than 10% coverage.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a sunny day today, with a high temperature of 65 F. This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 36 F. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for a strong cold front that will enter the state tomorrow. Some areas will receive snow, as well as colder temperatures. They even have a 10% chance of snow here in Rio Rancho. Yesterday was the first day I’ve had my window open, and now there is a chance of snow! It doesn’t matter though, one chance in the morning, and we continue with our regularly-scheduled early spring.

The visible satellite imagery shows cloudy skies over the southeastern corner of the state. There are also some light clouds behind this boundary, which explains the high cirrus I have over my yard.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that the clouds over the southeast have some thickness to them. There are a few clouds scattered about the state as well; they show up, but do not warrant a coloration code.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows the strong cloud boundary as well, though it shows it as a moisture boundary, of course.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a dry sounding, with a humid layer around 250 mb, and a slightly humid layer around 350 mb. There was 0.19 inches of precipitable water, and no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present in the column this morning. There was a strong thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 3.8 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 19 kts (dominated by speed changes), and the low-level shear was 12 kts (dominated by changes in direction). Overall, the shear is quite low.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show warm temperatures, clear skies, still winds, and low dewpoints throughout the state. There is a cold front that runs through the southeastern corner of the state (corresponding approximately to the cloud cover), due to the wind shift and temperature drop on the surface map.

The surface pressure map shows a 1012 mb slight thermal low over northern Mexico and a 1020 mb high over the Rocky Mountains. This put New Mexico in a slight pressure gradient, leading to slightly higher wind speeds in the eastern part of the state. This gradient will persist for at least the next six hours, according to the RAP.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows the beginnings of a trough forming in New Mexico this evening. This will push into Texas by tomorrow morning.

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 a back door cold front pushing into New Mexico from the northeast. This is one of the factors in our snow threat Tuesday morning.

Overall, I expect a pleasant day today. I have the windows open again, and am fighting the ancient battle of college students- play outside or do my school work. Actually, by “play outside,” I actually mean work on my cars and prune a few trees before they start to bud.

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

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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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