New Mexico Weather: 7/25/16

Remember how I said that I didn’t expect much rain yesterday? Yeah, we did get one small storm here in Rio Rancho that dropped 0.08 inches of rain in my yard, according to my backyard weather station. It clouded up and was totally overcast as well.

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather is partly cloudy and humid. The backyard weather station shows that the temperature is 66.0 F, the relative humidity is 70%, the relative pressure is 30.35 in Hg and steady, and the winds are still. Cloud cover is a little hard to determine, though I would go with M9 Altocumulus. I can’t quite tell if the clouds are mid-level or high level.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today, with a high temperature of 94 F, and a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds will be 5-10 mph from the northeast, shifting south by this afternoon. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds will be 5-10 mph from the southeast, shifting to the northeast by midnight. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the storms this afternoon. The primary threat will be rainfall rates that exceed 1 inch per hour, though gusty winds and small hail are possible.

The visible satellite imagery is unavailable at this time.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that none of the clouds over the state are very thick. All have low, warm tops.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows a similar story to yesterday, with the axis of deep moisture running southwest to northeast through the state.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a humid sounding, with moderate to low dewpoint depressions throughout the column, and 1.02 inches of precipitable water present. There was 136 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -303 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH). There was only a tiny thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.6 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 14 kts, and the low-level shear was 10 kts. Shear was due largely to directional changes, as the speed at all levels was low.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show warm temperatures, high surface dewpoints, still winds and clear skies over the state today. There are no major boundaries present over the state thus far this morning.

The surface pressure map shows a moderate pressure gradient from the 1020 mb high pressure system near Las Vegas, NM, to the 1010 mb slightly low pressure area south of Las Cruces, NM. The winds near this gradient are barely elevated. The RAP shows that this gradient will disappear completely over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows very little flow aloft. The whole southern half of the country is locked in a slow, zonal flow regime.

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 rapidly-rising air over central New Mexico today.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows some weak Cold Air Advection (CAA) near the Texas and New Mexico border this afternoon.

The precipitation chart shows widespread rainfall over the state today. The heaviest precipitation will be near the Arizona and New Mexico border.

Overall, I expect scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the area today, based on the rising air at the 700 mb level and the moisture at most levels on the sounding. Given the low shear, I do not expect organized storms, but the high precipitable water indicates that there is a possibility of heavy rainfall.

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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