Yesterday was cold, mostly sunny and still in Socorro.
This morning, Socorro has been sunny, still and cool.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly sunny day today, with a high temperature of 52 F. The winds will be from the east at 10-15 mph, becoming south in the afternoon. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 60% chance of precipitation and a low temperature of 32 F. Winds will be from the east at 10-15 mph, becoming north after midnight. Precipitation will start out as rain before 11 pm, shifting to snow as the temperatures drop. Less than 1/2″ of snow is expected.
The visible satellite imagery shows some light clouds over much of the state this morning.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows most of the clouds are thin, with warm, low tops, though there are some thicker clouds in the southeastern corner. Also, snow does not require very thick clouds.
The water vapor imagery shows some deeper moisture with the heavier cloud cover in the southeastern corner of the state.
The 12Z upper air sounding from Albuquerque shows nearly saturated conditions from 700 mb to 300 mb. However, with the temperatures so low, there was not much moisture present, even in the more “humid” layers. There was 0.30 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 a moderate thermal inversions near the surface. The 0-3 km average lapse rate was 5.4 C/km.
The hodograph shows 21 kts of low-level shear (mostly directional changes) and 72 knots of deep-layer shear (mostly speed changes).
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cool temperatures, spotty cloud cover (weighted more heavily on the eastern side of the state), low dew points and light, variable winds. There are no major frontal boundaries present over the state so far this morning.
The surface pressure chart shows that there is a moderate pressure gradient over the state today, as high pressure dominates the northern Great Plains and low pressure builds over Mexico. This gradient will slightly increase in intensity over the next six hours, according to the RAP.
The critical thickness contour plot shows several of the contours dipping south through Arizona and southern California this morning. I expect we will see this in New Mexico this evening, hence the chance of snow.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows that the trough will affect the area this evening, with strong southwesterly flow aloft. This trough is still tilted, narrow and quite strong.
The 500 mb NAM chart shows some Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) ahead of this trough by this evening into the Four Corners area.
The 700 mb NAM chart shows a few pockets of rapidly-rising air over the state today. For snow forecasting, we do not need to see very deep pockets of convection. These will do.
The 850 mb NAM chart shows some Warm Air Advection (WAA) into the eastern part of the state. The temperatures may increase, but often WAA can be used as a proxy for incoming moisture.
The Precipitation chart shows limited precipitation through 0Z. However, by tomorrow morning, the southern two thirds of the state is showing precipitation.
Today will begin to cloud up and bring with it some precipitation. Currently, it is too warm for snow, but that will change this evening. I don’t expect a giant temperature change, but it will drop below freezing enough for some snow flurries in the early morning hours.
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