Yesterday was cool, breezy and overcast. Overnight, we got around an inch of snow here in Rio Rancho. I received messages this morning that Albuquerque Public Schools are closed today.
Currently, it is sunny, cold and breezy. The snow has tapered off. Here is a photo from my front door:
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts a sunny day, with a high temperature of 36 F. The winds will be from the northwest at 10-15 mph. This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 15 F, and winds will be from the north at 5-10 mph. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the snow and most of the northern part of the state is still under Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Warnings. Interestingly enough, there is also an Avalanche Warning, which I have never seen before. The NWS Watches and Warnings Graphic is shown below:
The visible satellite imagery shows… well, it’s hard to say. Some of what looks like cloud cover is actually snow.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that all clouds in the state have low, warm tops. A good part of what we can see in the visible satellite imagery is actually snow.
The water vapor satellite imagery shows that the moisture has surged south, leaving dry air in the northern half of the state this morning.
The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows a cold, humid sounding until 500 mb. There was 0.34 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning. There was 1 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH). There was a large, deep thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 2.8 C/km.
The hodograph shows 32 kts of low-level shear (mostly directional changes) and 120 kts of deep-layer shear (mostly speed changes).
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cold temperatures, relatively high humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions), light winds, and mostly clear skies. The remnants of the cold front (and dryline) are shown as the wind shift and temperature jump as you travel south on I-25 in the very southern counties.
The surface pressure chart shows high pressure to the north, and slightly lower pressure in the south. This creates a moderate pressure gradient across the state today, leading to our windy conditions. However, the RAP shows that the gradient will decrease over the next six hours, which is why the NWS is forecasting lower winds this evening.
The Critical Thickness Contours chart shows that most of these critical thickness contours are south of the Albuquerque Metro area. I’m not expecting any more precipitation today, but I included this chart to compare with yesterday’s chart. Notice how these contours have dropped south; we had snow. Today, they are south, but there is no falling precipitation in the Albuquerque Metro area.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows strong northwesterly to zonal flow over the state today as we are exiting the west side 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 no rapidly-rising air over the state today. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.
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. It is not nearly as strong as yesterday’s, as the wind direction vectors are not as long.
The Precipitation chart shows that there was still precipitation this morning, and more can be expected in some areas. In spite of this chart, the precipitation will finish from north to south by this evening.
Rio Rancho will remain cold and clear today and tonight. I don’t think any more snow will fall here today.
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