New Mexico Weather: 7/17/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was hot, mostly cloudy, and still. In the morning, there were more M3 altocumulus, but they mixed out quickly, turning my morning run from cool and shady to hot and sunny.

The backyard weather station says the temperatures is 96.3 F, the relative humidity is 16%, the relative pressure is 30.28 in Hg and rising, and the winds are 5.4 mph from the northeast. There are L8 cumulus and stratocumulus to my south.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a sunny and hot day today with a high temperature of 97 F and west winds of 5-10 mph. This evening will be partly cloudy, with a 20% chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms, and a low temperature of 70 F. Southwest winds of 5-10 mph will shift to the north after midnight. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the potential for a few strong storms this afternoon. The strongest storms will produce gusty winds and small hail.

The visible satellite imagery shows a few high clouds, particularly over the southwestern corner of the state.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that none of the clouds are very thick. This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that we’ve had plenty of moisture return over the last 24 hours. Notice the moisture axis extending from the Pacific into Kansas through New Mexico.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a more humid sounding than yesterday, at least aloft. Dewpoint depressions are moderate with a relative humidity peak above 550 mb, and 0.81 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no strong thermal inversion this morning. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 7.3 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 14 kt, and the low-level shear was 23 kts. Shear at all levels was a mix of speed and directional changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show the high temperatures, low dewpoints, sunny skies and light winds throughout the state this morning.

The surface pressure map shows no strong pressure gradients over the state at this time.

The RAP shows that a tongue of low pressure will extend down the Rocky Mountains into New Mexico. This will tighten up the pressure gradient slightly over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows very weak zonal flow over the state today.

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

The 700 mb NAM chart shows rapidly-rising air in Central New Mexico, just east of the Albuquerque Metro area by 0Z this evening.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows a repeat of the last few days- weak Cold Air Advection (CAA) into the eastern part of the state. The gradient is not strong and the winds approach at a shallow angle, so cooling will be limited.

The precipitation chart shows some rain falling over New Mexico, moving in from the southwest along the moisture axis.

Overall, I expect that there may be a few showers this afternoon. This morning’s sounding showed an inverted v type configuration, so if storms do fire, expect gusty winds.

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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