New Mexico Weather: 8/17/16

There was some rain in Magdalena yesterday afternoon. A brief thunderstorm passed over the area, causing us to not send students across the field to the agriculture building.

In Socorro this morning, the weather is mild, still and clear.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Rio Rancho) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 89 F and a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Winds will be northeast at 5-10 mph, shifting to the south by the afternoon. This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 61 F and a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds will be south at 5-10 mph, shifting to the northeast after midnight. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the storms that may form in the northwestern corner of the state. The primary threat will be gusty winds, though small hail and heavy rain are possible.

The visible satellite imagery is not available at this time.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows no thick clouds over the state today. This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows a cold front associated with the weakening trough still dipping through Texas. However, there has been quite a bit of moisture return into New Mexico behind the frontal boundary.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows that there is plenty of moisture return, as relative humidity is high just above the surface, and there is 0.81 inches of precipitable water present in the column. There was 16 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE), and -374 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH). There was no strong thermal inversion, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 7.3 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 22 kts, and the low-level shear was 12 kts. Shear aloft was due to speed changes, and shear at the low-levels was due primarily to directional changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show still winds, clear skies, and cool temperatures this morning across the state. The humidity is relatively high, based on the low surface dewpoint depressions. There are no major boundaries present in the state so far this morning.

The surface pressure map shows a 1022 mb high pressure system over the NM/CO border. There is a slight pressure gradient across the northwestern corner of the state, leading to slightly higher wind speeds. The RAP shows that this gradient and this high pressure system will dissipate over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows almost no flow aloft. The trough has broadened and weakened, and New Mexico sits behind what is left of the leading edge.

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 just north and west of the Albuquerque Metro area by 0Z.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows no significant thermal advection over the state today. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

The Precipitation chart shows that some rain is expected, particularly in the northwest quadrant of the state.

Overall, I expect some rain in the northwestern part of the state, based on the NAM. The rising air at 700 mb and the ample moisture are my biggest clues. Also, given the slight inverted-v shape of the sounding, gusty winds will be possible. This shape is not very strong, so I don’t expect many massive virga bombs.

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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