New Mexico Weather: 5/1/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather has been cool, overcast and windy. The backyard weather station says the temperature is 50.0 F, the relative humidity is 50%, the relative pressure is 30.17 in Hg and rising, and the winds are 2.2 mph from the southeast, but gusty and highly variable.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts clouds and scattered showers today, with a chance of precipitation around 30%. The high temperature will be 48 F with east winds 25-30 mph. This evening will be cloudy, with a 40% chance of precipitation from scattered showers, a low temperature of 36 F, and east winds 10-15 mph. Because of the winds, the NWS has issued a High Wind Warning until noon today.

The visible satellite imagery shows the overcast skies over most of the state this morning, with some clearing in the southwest.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that there are a few thicker clouds to the northeast.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows nearly uniform moisture and nearly zonal flow across the state this morning.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a damp atmosphere this morning. There was high humidity and low dewpoint depressions until 350 mb. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and 0.42 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning. There was a slight thermal inversion near the surface and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 5.4 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 47 kts, and the low-level shear was 22 kts. The low-level shear was highly directional, and the deep-layer shear was more related to speed changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show the cool temperatures, overcast skies and moderate wind speeds so far this morning. The radar overlay shows that rain is falling in a few patches across the state this morning.

The surface pressure map shows why our winds are so strong. There is a 1008 mb low pressure system over northwestern Mexico, as well as a 1028 mb high pressure system over northeastern Colorado. Between it is a steep pressure gradient, which is the reason for our high-speed winds.

The RAP shows the low pressure system intensifying and pushing the high pressure to the north over the next six hours. This will decrease the pressure gradient over the Albuquerque Metro area by this afternoon.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that the upper-level low (and thus the dip in the trough) will have drifted over the Farmington area. The jetstreak loops around this low through New Mexico. This upper-level low (and corresponding surface low, shifted farther south) will lead to a rainy week for New Mexico.

At the 500 mb level the NAM chart shows some Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) into the northeastern corner of the state, as the winds blow across a small vorticity maxima associated with the upper-level low.

The 700 mb NAM chart shows some intensely rising air in the southwestern corner of the state by this evening. Throughout the day, there will be convection, however, as each time step of the NAM shows rapidly rising air somewhere in the state.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows the Cold Air Advection (CAA) continuing to spread through the state into the evening hours. Notice how the winds blow directly across the temperature gradient; that is why our temperature is so much lower today, unfortunately.

Overall, I expect a nasty, cold few days. I had great intentions of starting a new outdoor exercise plan, working in the yard and garden all day, and so on, and now I think I’ll stay indoors for the most part.

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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