New Mexico Weather: 4/30/16

In Socorro this morning, the weather was cool, mostly sunny and still.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a 20% chance of thunderstorms this afternoon (in Rio Rancho) with a high temperature of 65 F, partly sunny skies, and west winds 5-10 mph. This evening, there will be a 40% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, a low temperature of 40 F, and 20-30 mph winds after midnight, prompting the NWS to issue a High Wind Warning for this evening and into tomorrow morning.

The visible satellite imagery shows a few scattered clouds across the state this morning, including a few mountain-wave pattern clouds near the central mountain range.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that most of the clouds are thin this morning.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows nearly uniform moisture across the state this morning. The dominant feature in the country is the mid-latitude cyclone over the northern Great Plains, and the long, sweeping cold front extending south into the Gulf of Mexico. The thicker clouds are east of this frontal boundary.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a damp sounding this morning, with low dewpoint depressions (high humidity) until 300 mb. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE), but there was 0.44 inches of precipitable water present in the column. There was no thermal inversion, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.3 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 36 kts, and the low-level shear was 20 kts. The deep-layer shear was due almost entirely to speed changes, while the low-level shear is due almost entirely to directional changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show a strong wind shift that corresponds to a back door cold front. This front is approaching the Albuquerque Metro area from the northeast, having passed through Union county and into San Miguel county so far this morning.

The surface pressure map shows no strong pressure gradients this morning, as low pressure expands in Arizona. The RAP shows a pressure gradient developing over southeastern Colorado, expanding towards the New Mexico border behind the back door cold front. This will become more important throughout the day, but it there isn’t much to see over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows a closed, upper-level low over the central Great Plains and yet another one forming over southern California. These have kept the trough broad and low through the United States, and the jet runs through New Mexico in a zonal pattern.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows no strong vorticity advection over the state today. There will likely be some over night, but I have still excluded the chart from today’s post, and will address it tomorrow.

The 700 mb NAM chart shows rapidly rising air over much of the state today. This will be the convection needed for the showers and thunderstorms throughout the day and into this evening.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows the very beginnings of the back door cold front making its way into the state this morning. It shows up as weak Cold Air Advection (CAA) on this chart.

Overall, I expect a soggy evening, so I’d better get cracking on my outdoor activities today.

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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