Yesterday was cool, slightly breezy and mostly sunny. There were some awesome lenticular clouds over the Sandia Mountains, including this one which also features a Kelvin-Helmholtz wave:
Zoomed in view. I wished I’d brought my real camera instead of just a cell phone!
Currently, it is cloudy, cool and still. This was true on my entire commute from Rio Rancho to Socorro. Here is a photo of the sky in the South Valley as I fueled up:
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Socorro) a partly sunny day, with a high temperature of 63 F. The winds will be from the south at 5-15 mph. This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 36 F, and winds will be from the southwest at 10-15 mph. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning gusty winds over the most of the mountains, including the central mountain chain. There is also a Winter Storm Warning for the north-central mountains. The NWS Watches and Warnings graphic is shown below.
The visible satellite imagery shows cloud cover over the northern half of the state this morning.
The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that most of these clouds are not only clouds (as opposed to snow) but relatively thick clouds this morning.
The water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is ample moisture drifting the state from the west.
The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows a nearly-saturated layer at around 500 mb. There was 0.39 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning. There was no 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 2.9 C/km.
The hodograph shows 31 kts of low-level shear (mostly directional changes) and 46 kts of deep-layer shear (mostly speed changes).
The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cold temperatures, moderate humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions), light winds, and mostly clear skies. There are no major frontal boundaries present on this chart so far this morning.
The surface pressure chart shows New Mexico under high pressure, while lee-side low pressure develops east of the Rocky Mountains. This sets up a strong pressure gradient, particularly in the northern part of the state today. The RAP shows that the gradient will weaken slightly throughout the next six hours.
Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows northwesterly flow ahead of a new trough and strong jetstreak that will enter the state overnight.
The 500 mb NAM chart shows some moderate Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) working its way into the northern part of the state. This will work to amplify the winter weather in this area.
The 700 mb NAM chart shows an unreadable mess. The winds are so strong up and over the mountains, that it looks like extremely fast rising and then falling air. Notice this pattern in Colorado.
The 850 mb NAM chart shows no significant thermal advection over the state today. However, there is a very strong thermal gradient from north to south.
The Precipitation chart shows a possibility of snowfall over the very north-central part of the state, in the mountains. The rest of the state is expected to remain precipitation-free.
Socorro will likely remain quite cloudy and yet precipitation-free 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