New Mexico Weather: 6/27/16

Better late than never, right? I was not feeling well this morning, so my prediction is way behind schedule!

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather has been warm, mostly sunny with a few C1 cumulus clouds at the low levels and a few stripes of H1 cirrus at the high levels, The winds are mostly still. The backyard weather station says the temperature is 93.4 F, the relative humidity is 24%, the relative pressure is 30.37 in Hg and steady, and the winds are still. Here is a photo looking southwest from my house in Rio Rancho:

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny afternoon, with a high temperature of 92 F and east winds of 5-15 mph. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a low temperature of 65 F and a 10% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds will be from the east at 5-15 mph. The NWS has also issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning strong thunderstorms this afternoon in the northeastern part of the state. Hail up to the size of nickels, wind gusts to 50 mph and small stream flooding are possible with these storms. Skywarn Spotters are encouraged to report severe weather to the NWS.

The visible satellite imagery shows a developing cumulus field spreading from the southeastern corner of the state.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that none of the cumulus clouds are very thick yet today, as they have low, warm tops.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that the low pressure system over Canada is still pulling Pacific moisture through New Mexico, though the boundary is farther north today. New Mexico has uniform moisture at this level, minus the few larger cumulus clouds.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows another humid day. There is less precipitable water than previous days (0.75 inches), but the column is better mixed, leading to a higher surface dewpoint and less of an “inverted-v” type sounding. There was 25 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -455 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH) this morning; the high CINH prevented morning convection. There was no strong thermal inversion near the surface, though the temperature profile is highly variable in the first 150 mb above the surface. The 0-3 km lapse rate was 5.9 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 11 kts, and the low-level shear was 12 kts. Today’s shear is an interesting story; below 350 mb, the winds blow from roughly one direction, and then above 350 mb, the winds abruptly switch direction. It is more clear on the sounding than the hodograph.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show low temperatures and clear skies throughout the state. There are no major boundaries present on this chart.

The surface pressure map shows no strong pressure gradients over the state today. There is slightly higher pressure over the state, with 1020 mb isobars present in several areas. The RAP shows no strong pressure gradients developing over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows limited zonal flow over the state this evening, with the polar jet far to our north, and the sub-tropical jet far to our south.

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 no rapidly-rising air over the state today. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows some Cold Air Advection (CAA) over the state today, moving in from the east. The thermal gradient is not strong, but the winds blow perpendicularly to it.

Overall, I expect a relatively stable day today. I expect there to be some pockets of convection, and I do expect the sky to cloud up, given the moisture and some rising air, but the 700 mb NAM chart is showing very little synoptic-scale lift. The CAA in the east may force a few cells to fire, but these will be near the NM/TX border, not near the Albuquerque Metro area.

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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