Yesterday was cool, mostly cloudy and windy in Rio Rancho. The wind did not die down until the evening. The skies cleared in the evening as well to partly cloudy conditions. We received no snowfall in Rio Rancho.
This morning, Socorro was cold, mostly cloudy and still. There was a layer of frost on the cars. The sky had mostly mid- and upper-level clouds, with a few stray lenticulars.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly cloudy today, with a high temperature of 53 F. The winds will be from the west at 15-20 mph.. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 20% chance of snow (!) and a low temperature of 30 F. Winds will be from the west at 15-20 mph. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the potential for snow this evening, as well as later this week.
The visible satellite imagery shows that there are some light clouds visible from almost everywhere in the state this morning. There are bands of clouds running northeast to southwest in a mountain-wave pattern.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that the bands of clouds are of moderate thickness.
The water vapor imagery shows that there is some moisture over the state today. This, combined with the sounding below show that there is some moisture for snow between the 700 mb and 500 mb level.
The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows that the dewpoint depressions were low below 450 mb. However, with the temperatures so low, there was not much moisture present. There was 0.24 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 thermal inversion near the surface. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 7.6 C/km.
The hodograph shows that there was 18 kts of low-level shear and 58 kts of deep-layer shear. Low-level shear is due largely to directional changes and deep-layer shear is due largely to speed changes.
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cool temperatures, clear skies, low dew points and breezy west winds.
The surface pressure map shows that there is a mid-latitude cyclone continuing to move northeast over the northern Great Plains. It has created a strong pressure gradient over the state this morning, giving us strong winds. The RAP shows that the low will continue to deepen, and our gradient will remain for at least the next six hours. The gradient and the winds are not as strong as yesterday, but still gusty.
Because there is the threat of snow this evening, I also checked the Critical Thicknesses Chart. Several of the critical thickness contours dip into the northeastern corner of the state this morning. I expect that these will dip a little farther south as the trough continues east.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows strong zonal flow, as the trough elongates and pushes through our area. Notice the strong jetstreak through the middle of the state today.
The 500 mb NAM chart shows some Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) just behind the jetstreak moving into the northern part of the state from Arizona.
The 700 mb NAM chart shows rapidly-rising air and rapidly-falling air on opposite sides of the central mountain chain. This is an indication of the strong winds this morning, and the fact that they will persist all day.
The 850 mb NAM chart shows Cold Air Advection (CAA) moving in from the west. Notice how the 850 mb winds cross the thermal gradient from cold to warm.
The Precipitation chart shows that some precipitation is expected, particularly in the northern tier of counties. Based on their proximity to the critical thickness contours, the precipitation will be snow, most likely.
Today will continue to be windy and cool. This evening will be cold and there will may be some light snow in the Albuquerque Metro area. It’s going to be an interesting night again tonight.
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