New Mexico Weather: 8/12/16

Yesterday evening in Socorro, there was rain to the south, but it did not reach Socorro. This is a good thing, as my car window is stuck down, and I was just as happy to not have my car rained in.

In Socorro this morning, the weather is sunny, still and becoming warm.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a sunny day today, with a high of 91 F, and a north wind of 10-15 mph. This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 63 F and a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds will be from the east at 10-15 mph. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning strong to severe storms for the eastern Plains of New Mexico as a back door cold front makes its way west and into the Rio Grande River Valley. Strong, gusty winds and hail will be the primary threats.

The visible satellite imagery and the enhanced infrared satellite imagery show very few clouds over the state this morning. These images have been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is dry air in the 700 mb to 400 mb range for much of the state. As this trough progresses east, it will scour some of the moisture from the area, as we see with this image.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a slightly less-humid sounding, with larger dewpoint depressions and 0.67 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and only a weak thermal inversion near the surface. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 7.1 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 17 kts, and the low-level shear was 15 kts. The deep-layer shear was due to speed changes, but the low-level shear was due to directional changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show mild temperatures, moderate surface dewpoints, clear skies and light winds over much of the state. Towards the eastern border, the winds are stronger and the dewpoints higher.

The surface pressure map shows no strong gradients over the state this morning, though there is a moderate gradient over the eastern border with Texas.

The RAP shows that over the next six hours, a moderate gradient will develop over the northern part of the state as well, as the back door cold front makes its approach.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows the trough lingering over the state, though a weak jetstreak will pass through by 0Z.

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 several areas of rapidly-rising air over the state by this afternoon.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows the back door cold front moving in from the northeast. This shows up as Cold Air Advection (CAA), or winds blowing across the thermal gradient from cold air to warm air.

The Precipitation chart shows that there is a chance of rain for the eastern half of the state, with the I-25 corridor as the dividing line.

Overall, I expect that there will be some storms, particularly along the cold front. The 700 mb NAM chart shows rising air, and there is still plenty of surface moisture thus far. Quite a bit of moisture has been pushed east by the trough’s approach, and the surface moisture will mix deeper into the column. Based on this, I expect fewer storms over the central and western parts of the state. The storms that form, however, will stand a greater chance of producing virga bombs and gusty winds, as I expect the local profiles to take on an inverted-v type sounding, as the moisture begins to mix away from the surface.

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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