Yesterday, there was a prolific storm east of Socorro. I went for a late night walk, and there was quite a bit of lightning- almost continuous lightning. Once again, I had no camera.
In Socorro this morning, the weather was cool, mostly cloudy and still.
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued a Marginal Risk for severe weather over the eastern plains of New Mexico. There is less than a 2% chance of tornadoes in this Marginal Risk area.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today, with a high temperature of 85 F, and winds from the south at 10-15 mph. This evening will be partly cloudyy, with a 30% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, a low temperature of 59 F and a southwest wind of 5-15 mph. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for strong to severe storms this evening, where large hail and strong wind gusts are the primary threat.
The visible satellite imagery shows that much of the state is under some light cloud cover this morning.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that none of the clouds are very thick. All have low, warm tops, except for one small patch in the east central part of the state, and one small storm exiting into the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles.
The water vapor imagery shows moisture bunched up ahead of the trough, which means a relatively humid air mass is moving across New Mexico today.
The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows a humid sounding, particularly between 600 mb and 500 mb. Below this there was a slight “inverted v” pattern. There was 0.83 inches of precipitable water present in the column. There was also 1199 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -96 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH). There was no strong thermal inversion and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 7.5 C/km. All of this led to a Supercell Parameter of 1.3.
The deep-layer shear was 57 kts, and the low-level shear was 16 kts. Deep-layer shear was due largely to speed changes and low-level shear was influenced strongly by directional changes. Shear is large enough to support rotating storms.
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show partly cloudy skies, moderate dewpoints (and thus moderate to high humidity) and light winds. There are high dewpoints in the southeastern corner of the state and, based on the wind shift through the middle of the state, there is probably a stalled frontal boundary running west to east.
The surface pressure map shows high pressure over the eastern part of the state. There are no strong pressure gradients over the state this morning. The RAP shows that the gradient is not expected to tighten over the next six hours.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that a closed, upper-level low will move over northern Utah this evening, leaving us with zonal flow, but increasing wind speeds aloft. There is a thin, weak jetstreak that is on the southern and eastern sides of the closed low.
The 500 mb NAM chart shows slight Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) over the northwestern and central parts of the state by 0Z.
The 700 mb NAM chart shows a large pocket of positive Upward-Vertical Velocities (UVV) near the Four Corners region. This is in response to the PVA that was shown on the 500 mb NAM chart.
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 most of the state could see rain today, with the heaviest rain being east of the central mountain chain, associated with the strong to severe thunderstorms that may develop in this region.
Overall, I expect widespread storm coverage through this evening, with the upslope flow towards the central mountain chain, along the stalled frontal boundary and the positive UVVs over the Four Corners area. Given the CAPE and shear, storms could quickly become severe.
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 TwisterData.com.
The surface observation and upper level charts are from Unisys Weather.
The satellite data is from NASA – MSFC