New Mexico Weather: 11/17/16

Yesterday ended up partly cloudy and cool.

This morning has been cool, but not nearly as cold as I had expected it to be.  It has been really windy, however.  Driving up the hill to Magdalena was actually a challenge, and my car was almost struck by a No Passing sign that blew across the road.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a sunny and windy day today, with a high temperature of 70 F.  The winds will be from the northwest at 25-30 mph, gusting to 40 mph.  This evening will be clear, with a low temperature of 30 F.  Winds will be from the north at 10-15 mph.  The NWS has issued a variety of products concerning the cold and the wind that is expected in the next few days.  Currently, wind advisories and Red Flag Warnings are issued for much of the state.

The visible satellite imagery shows that the skies are mostly clear today, with a few light clouds over the Four Corners area.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that the clouds are not very thick.  They have low, warm tops.  This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor imagery shows that the moisture has been scoured from the area by the cold front.  Notice the mid-latitude cyclone to the north, and how the moisture has spiraled into this system.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque was quite dry.  There was only 0.40 inches of precipitable water in the column this morning.  There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH) present this morning.  There was no significant thermal inversion near the surface.  The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.8C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 24 kts of low-level shear and 60 kts of deep-layer shear. Shear at all levels was due to speed  changes.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show mild temperatures, clear skies, low humidity (as shown by low dewpoints), strong winds.

The surface pressure map shows that a low pressure system has developed over eastern Colorado, and will begin to move northeast with the trough.  This low pressure has left a strong pressure gradient over most of the state today.  This strong gradient is bringing gusty winds to the state.  The RAP shows that this low pressure will continue to deepen over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows zonal flow over the state today as the trough passes to our north.  This trough will continue to be the focus of our weather threat for several days.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows no strong vorticity advection over the state today.  There is some strong vorticity that has already advected into the north-central part of the state.

The 700 mb NAM chart shows rapidly-rising air, followed by rapidly-sinking air.  This pattern is over the northern part of the central mountain chain.  When I see this, I know that there will be strong winds forcing up the mountain on one side, then down the mountain on the other side.  Notice how much stronger the sinking air is on the leeward side- this is especially dry and windy.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows continued Cold Air Advection (CAA) over the state today as the cold front passes through the area this afternoon and evening.

The Precipitation chart shows that there is a tiny chance of precipitation in the northwestern corner of the state.

Overall, today will continue to be windy and clear, becoming cold tonight.  This will be the first day of freezing for many areas.  As far as precipitation, I am going to say that the chances are quite limited due to the dry atmosphere.  Also, the critical thickness contours remain farther north, so the chances of snow are extremely limited.

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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