Yesterday was cool, breezy and overcast. Our return trip from Oklahoma City, OK, to Rio Rancho, NM, was breezy enough to make driving a struggle on parts of I-40.
This morning, Rio Rancho has been cool, breezy and overcast. I need to fix my weather station, as it has defaulted to 140 F, which we know isn’t true. Here is a photo from my back door:
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a mostly cloudy day, with a high temperature of 55 F. The winds will be from the west at 15-20 mph. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 60% chance of precipitation, and a low temperature of 26 F. Winds will be from the southwest at 10-15 mph. The precipitation will likely start out as rain, switching to snow after 11 pm. The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory and a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the snowfall amounts possible. Most of the impact will be north and west of the Albuquerque Metro area, including Santa Fe, but it does mention that Albuquerque could see up to 2 inches of snow by this weekend. The NWS Watches and Warnings graphic shows that if we had delayed our return for one day, travel home would have been intense along I-40.
The visible satellite imagery shows the cloudy skies over the northern part of the state.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that there are a few thicker clouds in patches over the state this morning.
The water vapor satellite imagery shows deep moisture to our north that is expected to sag south over the next day or so. This moisture over Colorado and Utah will be our snow tomorrow.
The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows a damp sounding under 400 mb, with 0.48 inches of precipitable water present. There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH). There was no thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.8 C/km.
The hodograph shows 27 kts of low-level shear (mostly directional changes) and 101 kts of deep-layer shear (mostly speed changes).
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cool temperatures, relatively high humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions), light winds, and mostly cloudy skies.
The surface pressure chart shows a deepening low pressure system over south central Colorado. This low pressure system is actually expanding southwest, creating a moderate pressure gradient across the state today. The RAP shows this trend will continue for at least the next six hours.
The Critical Thickness Contours chart shows that most of these are to our north at this time. However, as a back door cold front approaches from the northeast, these will drop farther south and increase our chances of snow.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows strong northwesterly to zonal flow over the state today as we are at the bottom of a broad trough.
The 500 mb NAM chart shows no major vorticity advection over the state today. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.
The 700 mb NAM chart shows some rapidly-rising air along the NM/CO border just south of the expanding low pressure system.
The 850 mb NAM chart shows some slight Cold Air Advection (CAA) in the form of a back door cold front approaching from the northeast. Notice the wind direction vectors pointing across the thermal gradient from cold to warm.
The Precipitation chart shows that the precipitation is possible in the northern part of the state. It will creep farther south after 0Z.
Rio Rancho will remain overcast, cool and breezy in anticipation of some light snow early tomorrow morning.
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