New Mexico Weather: 5/6/16

In Socorro this morning, the weather was cool, but not uncomfortable in a short-sleeved shirt. The skies are clear and the winds still along my commute north this morning.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today, with a high temperature of 42 F, and 20-30 mph south winds by this afternoon. This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 46 F and winds decreasing to 10-20 mph. The NWS has issued a Red Flag Warning and a Wind Advisory based on the gusty conditions this afternoon.

The visible satellite imagery shows a line of clouds stretching through the eastern part of the state.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that none of the clouds in the east are very thick.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows increasing moisture this morning over the state. I also like the steep, upper-level dryline over the Atlantic that is colinear with a strong cold front.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a distinct moisture peak at around 750 mb. Notice how the dewpoint trace approaches the temperature trace at this height. There was 0.46 inches of precipitable water and no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) in the column this morning. There was a slight thermal inversion and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.8 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 35 kts, and the low-level shear was 33 kts. Shear at all levels was due largely to speed changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show the mild temperatures, cool dewpoints, clear skies, and still winds this morning.

The surface pressure map shows a surface low pressure system over the central Rocky Mountains. Currently, the winds are not strong, as the pressure gradient is not strong.

Over the next six hours, the RAP show wind speeds increasing as air streams in towards the low pressure system.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows the nose of a jetstreak pushing its way into the state from the west. The jetstreak wraps around a closed, upper-level low.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows some Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) moving in ahead of the upper-level low.

The 700 mb NAM chart shows rapidly-rising air over much of the state by this evening, particularly east of the central mountain chain.

At the 850 mb level, there is some Warm Air Advection (WAA), where the winds blow at a slight angle to the thermal gradient. This will enhance some convection this afternoon.

Overall, I expect the winds to increase as the low pressure system over the Rockies intensifies. I expect partly-cloudy to mostly cloudy skies by this evening, based on the weak WAA and moderate PVA

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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