New Mexico Weather: 7/30/16

I didn’t do too bad with my predictions yesterday. We had a severe storm pass just to our east as it weakened. It was flagged for hail, and we had pea-sized hail at my house. Union county had several severe thunderstorms throughout the day as well.

In Rio Rancho this morning, the weather has been mild, sunny and still. The backyard weather station says the temperature is 84.4 F, the relative humidity is 36%, the relative pressure is 30.29 in Hg and steady, and the winds are 0.7 mph from the west northwest. There are no thick clouds in the sky, though the sky is quite hazy, and there are very thin, but widespread cirrus clouds.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 92 F and a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms. The winds will be from the south at 5-15 mph. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a low temperature of 67 F, and a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds will be from the south at 5-15 mph, but then shift to the northeast. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook today concerning the storms this afternoon and evening. Slow storm motion and heavy rainfall will be possible, leading to flash flooding, small hail and wind gusts exceeding 50 mph. Skywarn Spotters are encouraged to report severe weather to the NWS.

The visible satellite imagery and the enhanced infrared satellite imagery show no thick clouds. These images have been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is still plenty of moisture aloft, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the state.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a relatively humid sounding, with a high surface dewpoint and nearly saturated air above 550 mb. There was 0.91 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning. There was 478 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -424 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH) this morning. There was a slight thermal inversion near the surface and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 5.7 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 1 kt, and the low-level shear was 16 kts. Shear at all levels was due largely to directional changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show still winds, clear skies, mild temperatures statewide. There is a dryline that runs through the eastern third of the state.

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

However, the RAP shows to separate thermal lows developing over the western part of the state, which will increase the pressure gradients nearby.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows slight zonal flow, if any flow at all, just like we’ve seen for several weeks.

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

The 700 mb NAM chart shows rapidly-rising air along the I-40 corridor, particularly in the western part of the state, tapering off soon after the Albuquerque Metro area.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows weak Cold Air Advection (CAA) again today, moving in from the southeast.

The Precipitation chart shows that most of the state could receive a trace amount of rain today, though this figure will go up locally, depending on where the storms form.

Overall, I expect plenty of showers and thunderstorms today, though most of them will be less organized and less severe than yesterday. The deep-layer shear is virtually non-existent, so clusters of short-lived cells will be the dominant mode of storms this afternoon. However, the low flow in the steering winds region of the atmosphere will mean that storms that form will move slowly and could dump heavy rain in certain areas, which would not be captured accurately by the NAM precipitation model.

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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