New Mexico Weather: 7/16/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was warm, still and sunny with quite a bit of haze. Early this morning, the Sandias were totally obscured by haze. By this afternoon, a few L1 cumulus clouds have developed, and the temperature has risen significantly. The backyard weather station says the temperature is 100.6 F, the relative humidity is 26%, the relative pressure is 30.20 in Hg and falling slightly, and the winds are 6.0 mph from the north.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a sunny and hot day today, with a high temperature of 98 F and winds of 10-15 mph from the west. Tonight will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 69 F and west winds 5-15 mph becoming north winds after midnight. The NWS has also issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the potential for showers and thunderstorms, particularly in the southwestern and south central parts of the state where there is some moisture return. These storms will have gusty winds and small hail.

The visible satellite imagery shows a few cumulus clouds on the west side of the Rio Grande Rift, as well as a few patches of clouds on the central mountain chain.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows no thick clouds over the state so far today. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows some moisture return, entering the state from the southwest, though the moisture trails all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, swirling around a center of circulation in southeastern New Mexico.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a relatively dry sounding, except for high relative humidity near 500 mb. There was 0.61 inches of precipitable water and no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) in the column this morning. There was no strong thermal inversion, though the temperature was highly variable in the boundary layer. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.5 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 28 kts, and the low-level shear was 10 kts. Shear at all levels was a mix of speed and directional changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show high temperatures, low dewpoints, clear skies and variable winds over the state this afternoon.

The surface pressure map shows no strong pressure gradients over the state, though there is a lee-side low pressure system developing over southeastern Colorado this afternoon. The RAP shows no strong gradients developing today, though the low pressure system will intensify over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows zonal flow over the state this afternoon, with the jet to our north. There is a minor jetstreak that will clip the northwestern part of the state, but other than that, expect zonal flow at the 300 mb level.

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 a pocket of rapidly-rising air over the northwestern part of the state.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows some weak Cold Air Advection (CAA) into the eastern part of the state. The CAA is not even as strong as it was yesterday, as the 850 mb winds have shifted more from the south, crossing the gradient at an even shallower angle.

Overall, I expect a few showers and thunderstorms in the southeastern corner as moisture returns to this area. Even though there is rising air in the northwest, there is not much moisture in this region. I expect some dust-devils and high lapse rates, but not many showers. The CAA is not as strong, and the air being advected into the eastern part of the state is not as humid, so I don’t expect as many storms in the east as there were yesterday.

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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