New Mexico Weather: 5/15/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather is mild, humid, cloudy, and mostly still. The backyard weather station shows the temperature is 72.1 F, the relative humidity is 47%, the relative pressure is 30.16 in Hg and steady, and the winds are 5.4 mph from the east.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today, with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, particularly before noon. The high temperature is forecasted at 82 F, and the winds from the south at 10-20 mph. In the evening, the weather will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 55 F, and the southwest winds decreasing to 5-10 mph. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Lincoln and Chavez counties, concerning some borderline severe storms. The primary threats will be large hail and damaging winds.

The visible satellite imagery shows that most of the state is still under heavy cloud cover. There is some clearing to the west.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that there are a few pockets of thicker clouds (and likely precipitation) scattered throughout the state this morning.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows some deeper moisture in the state, as well as one shortwave feature that passes through the Farmington area.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a damp atmosphere, with 0.80 inches of precipitable water present and low dewpoint depressions throughout the column this morning. There was 483 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) present as well. There was no strong inversion present, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.7 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 19 kts, and the low-level shear was 4 kts. The weak shear available this morning was a mix of speed and directional shear.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show clearing skies to the west, which will boost diurnal heating, and intensify the thermal low that is moving east.

The surface pressure map shows that there is low pressure over southern Utah and most of Arizona, leading to a pressure gradient across the state this morning.

The RAP shows this pressure gradient intensifying as the low pressure system intensifies and moves east. Ahead of this low pressure system is where the borderline severe storms may occur this evening.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows mostly zonal flow over the state today. There is an upper-level low pressure system over the Pacific Northwest, and an associated jetstreak that will begin to impact the area tomorrow.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows no strong vorticity advection over the state today. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

The 700 mb NAM chart shows some rapidly rising air in a band through central New Mexico this afternoon. This is an indication of the convection that will occur later today.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows some Cold Air Advection (CAA) moving in as a cold front from the west this afternoon.

Overall, I expect some storms throughout the day. There may be some borderline severe storms in central New Mexico this afternoon, but given the low shear, supercells are not very likely. Instead, globs and clusters will be the primary modes.

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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