New Mexico Weather: 7/19/16

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather was overcast, still and warm. The overcast skies quickly mixed out soon after sunrise. By 7:00 am, there were only a few scattered altocumulus clouds remaining.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today, with a high temperature of 92 F and a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds will be 5-10 mph from the east, and shifting south late in the day. This evening will be mostly cloudy with a low temperature of 68 F and a 30% chance of shower and thunderstorms. Winds will be from the south at 5-10 mph. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the storm potential this evening. The primary threats will be gusty downburst winds, brief but heavy downpours and small hail.

The visible satellite imagery shows a few clouds over the western part of the state, as well as a few mid-level cumulus clouds over the middle of the state.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that only a few of these clouds even register on the false-coloration. Overall,t the clouds are thin, with warm, low tops.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that New Mexico sits in an axis of moisture that runs form the Pacific into the upper Midwest.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a humid day, with 1.03 inches of precipitable water, a surface dewpoint of 56 F, and moderate to low dewpoint depressions throughout the column. There was 702 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -248 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH). There was only a tiny thermal inversion near the surface (likely mixed out by now) and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.9 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 17 kts, and the low-level shear was 3 kts. Shear at all levels is due to a mix of speed and directional changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show the warm temperatures, still winds, clear skies, and moderately-high dewpoints.

The surface pressure map shows no sharp pressure gradients over the state today, and the RAP shows that none are expected to develop in the next six hours. The pressure will drop to form a broad, thermal low over most of the eastern half of the state.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows very little flow aloft. What little flow is present is zonal.

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 some rising air over the central part of the state today. It is not as strong as yesterday’s, but still worth noting.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows slightly stronger Cold Air Advection (CAA) occurring over the eastern part of the state today. The gradient is not very strong, but the winds approach at a deeper angle to the gradient.

The precipitation chart shows the possibility of rain throughout much of the state today.

Overall, I expect a few storms today. The CAPE is high and the moisture is much deeper than it has been over the last few days. A few days ago, we had high CAPE, but the moisture was too low for many storms to form- once daytime heating and mixing started, the moisture all but disappeared. Today, there is more moisture across a much thicker section of the atmosphere. Given the low shear, storms will be poorly organized and will likely not rotate.

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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