New Mexico Weather: 8/19/16

Yesterday, it rained for quite some time in Magdalena, which was very fitting, as I was attending the funeral of a student there.

In Socorro this morning, the weather is sunny, quickly warming up and still.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today, with a high temperature of 87 F and a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Winds will be from the north at 5-10 mph, shifting to the southwest by the evening. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a low temperature of 62 F and a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds will be from the northwest at 5-10 mph, shifting to the east by midnight. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the potential for storms in the northern and western parts of the state today. Heavy rains will be the primary threat. The statement also mentions a strong backdoor cold front as a driving force for additional storms.

The visible satellite imagery shows mostly clear skies, with a few clouds popping up along the mountain chains.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that all of the clouds are thin, with low, warm tops. This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is still plenty of deep moisture present across the state this morning, with a strong boundary running through Texas, as it has for several days.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a damp sounding today, with several areas of high relative humidity and 0.91 inches of precipitable water present in the column. There was 717 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -119 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH) present today. There was also a slight thermal inversion near the surface. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.1 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 17 kts, and the low-level shear was 6 kts. However, this data is incomplete, as quite a few data points are missing.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show mild temperatures, moderate dew points, clear skies and light winds. There is a dryline running through the eastern third of the state, as the dewpoint climbs 10 degrees from Albuquerque to Tucumcari.

The surface pressure map shows no strong pressure gradients over the state so far this morning. The RAP shows that none are expected to develop in the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows flow from the southwest as a trough digs through the north-central plains. In our case, the trough is quite broad as compared to farther north, but we do have some flow aloft.

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 along the I-40 corridor, and some south of Tucumcari.

The 850 mb NAM chart does not show strong thermal advection by 0Z. However, notice the tongue of colder air extending through Kansas; this is likely the beginning of a backdoor cold front that will pass into and affect New Mexico over the next few days.

The Precipitation chart shows that the northern and western parts of the state may see some rainfall by this evening.

Overall, I expect some showers and thunderstorms today, given the ample moisture, rising air at 700 mb, the approaching backdoor cold front and the existing CAPE already this morning. This CAPE has a slight capping inversion, but I fully anticipate the cap breaking early and numerous, non-severe storms forming soon afterwards.

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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