New Mexico Weather: 8/26/16

Yesterday was another great day in Socorro. The heat has died back a little bit, though it was relatively humid.

In Socorro this morning, the weather was mild, still and partly cloudy. There are L1 cumulus clouds covering maybe 75% of the sky (6/8 in observation-speak).

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Rio Rancho) a partly sunny day today, with a 30% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms and a high temperature of 81 F. The winds will be from the north at 5-10 mph, shifting to the west by the afternoon. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 30% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, particularly before 7 pm, and a low temperature of 58 F. The winds will be from the west at 5-10 mph, becoming calm and variable after midnight. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the showers and thunderstorms that will develop this afternoon. Storms are not expected to reach severe limits, and Skywarn Spotter Activation is not anticipated at this time.

The visible satellite imagery shows that most of the state has some cloud cover this morning, with more cumuloform type clouds over the eastern I-40 corridor, and less vertically-developed clouds everywhere else.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that most of these clouds are thin (even the cumulus), and have low, warm tops.

The water vapor satellite imagery shows that the boundary in deep moisture has moved to the TX/NM border, and that there is plenty of moisture return behind the boundary.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows another humid day, with low dewpoint depressions and 0.85 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning. There was 706 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -111 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH) this morning. There was only a slight thermal inversion near the surface and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.7 C/km.

The deep-layer shear was 22 kts, and the low-level shear was 3 kts. The shear aloft was due largely to speed changes, and the shear at low-levels was due largely to directional changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show mild temperatures, still winds, and variable cloudiness across the state this morning. The dewpoints rise from west to east, crossing a dryline somewhere in the eastern third of the state. The Doppler Radar overlay shows that there are a few areas of morning convection near this boundary as well.

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 mostly zonal flow over the state today, as the trough broadens and continues east.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows some Negative Vorticity Advection (NVA) just south and east of the Albuquerque Metro area, as a small vorticity minima treks southeast. This NVA could limit convection in this area.

The 700 mb NAM chart shows rapidly-rising air just west of Albuquerque by 0Z this evening.

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

The Precipitation chart shows that much of the state has a chance of rain today, with one spot of heavier rain near Tucumcari.

Overall, I expect that some areas in the state will experience rain this afternoon, particularly in the northern half of the state (north of I-40) where there is some rising air and where flow aloft is a little stronger. There may be some showers and thunderstorms along the dryline as well. I don’t know what impact the NVA will have, but it may be very little in comparison to the impact of the diurnal heating and the dryline.

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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