New Mexico Weather: 3/2/16

I was surprised at the cloudiness yesterday afternoon in Socorro. The skies became overcast for a little while before clearing out in the late afternoon.

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was cool, clear and still.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a sunny and windy day today, with a high temperature of 73 F, and wind gusts as high as 30 mph. This evening will be clear, with a low temperature of 40 F, and a northwest wind 5-15 mph. The NWS has also issued a number of Red Flag Warnings today, as shown below in their graphic:

The visible satellite imagery is not available at this time.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows a few thicker clouds exiting the northeastern corner of the state this morning.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows deeper moisture associated with the clouds over the northeastern corner of the state. Behind them, we have uniform moisture.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a dry sounding, with perhaps a slight moisture peak around 650 mb. The precipitable water was 0.24 inches this morning and there was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE). There was a thermal inversion present this morning, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 3.9 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 54 kts, and the low-level shear was 20 kts. Most of the shear was due to speed changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show still, clear air over much of the state this morning. The dewpoints are higher than they were yesterday.

The surface pressure map shows that there is still a weak high pressure region over the Four Corners area this morning. Currently, there is no strong pressure gradient.

However, the RAP shows that the high pressure system will intensify and grow in areal coverage. Also, a lee-side low will develop on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, leading to a stronger pressure gradient across the northern part of New Mexico over the next six hours. The winds will increase as this pressure gradient increases throughout the day.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows a jetstreak to our north; there isn’t another trough per se, just an additional jetstreak south and west of the trough that will pass through Colorado, and give us northwesterly flow at the 300 mb level.

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 some Warm Air Advection (WAA) as the trough moves west, and warm air from the southwest moves in behind it. The WAA will mostly occur in areas that were affected by the back door cold front yesterday.

Overall, I expect a breezy spring day today. If it was the first, I would say that March is “coming in like a lion,” and hoping that it will “go out like a lamb.” In reality, this is New Mexico, so it is always “like a lion.”

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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