New Mexico Weather: 6/19/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, it is already hot, sunny and dry. The backyard weather station says the temperature is 90.3 F, the relative humidity is 31%, the relative pressure is 30.38 in Hg and steady, and the winds are 1.6 mph from the south. There is not a cloud in the sky, but the skies are hazy from smoke.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a sunny, hot day today with a high temperature of 97 F and calm winds. This evening will be partly cloudy with a low temperature of 69 F and east winds of 5-10 mph, becoming southeast after midnight. The NWS has issued an Air Quality Alert concerning the smoke from the wildfires, as well as a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the high temperatures as well as a few thunderstorms along the mountain crests.

The visible satellite imagery shows a few clouds in the southeastern corner of the state again today.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that a few of the clouds are thicker, as they are part of an ongoing Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) over west Texas.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there has been some moisture return into New Mexico over the last 24 hours.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows that the atmosphere has become more humid today, with a surface dewpoint of 58 F, smaller dewpoint depressions, and 0.68 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning. There was 706 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and a small capping inversion near the surface. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.4 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 6 kts, and the low-level shear was 5 kts, with directional changes as the dominant mode of shear throughout the column.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show still winds, higher dewpoints, clear skies, and warm temperatures over the state today. There are no major boundaries present on this chart, except perhaps a dryline running through the eastern third of the state again today.

The surface pressure map shows high pressure this morning (1020 mb) and no strong pressure gradients over the state today. The RAP shows that the pressure will lower over the day (as a thermal low develops), but no strong pressure gradients are expected to develop over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows no flow aloft over the Albuquerque Metro area, and very little flow anywhere else in the state, as an upper-level high elongates ahead of a shallow trough.

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 over areas west of Albuquerque. Unlike yesterday, there is some moisture present, which will increase the chance of showers and thunderstorms for this area. This is likely why the NWS is calling for partly cloudy skies this evening.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows Cold Air Advection (CAA) across the eastern part of the state. However, notice the 850 mb temperatures of 36 C. Blech. This is miserable.

Overall, I expect that today will be an interesting day. It will be an absolutely miserable day to be outside, as it will have yesterday’s heat, but with higher humidity. The Albuquerque Metro area will also experience more smoke. In general, today is straight up going to suck outside. The only relief might be a few thunderstorms, though I expect none in the metro area.

On a side note: Maybe this is all my fault. 36C 850 mb temperatures, smoke. Yesterday was my birthday and I tried to put candles on my cake. Sorry, y’all.

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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