New Mexico Weather: 1/14/17

Yesterday was cool, still and mostly cloudy.  I launched the 0Z weather balloon yesterday afternoon, and it went almost straight up until it reached the upper-level winds.

Currently, it is overcast, cold and breezy.  The sky is almost completely covered with stratus clouds.  Here is a photo from my back door in Rio Rancho:

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Socorro) a mostly cloudy day, with 20% chance of isolated showers and a high temperature of 53 F.  The winds will be from the southeast at 5 mph.  This evening will be cloudy, with a 80% chance of rain and a low temperature of 37 F.  The winds will be from the east at 10 mph.  The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook, concerning heavy precipitation and significant snow at the higher elevations (above 8000 ft).  The NWS Watches and Warnings Graphic shows Winter Storm Warnings on the mountains:

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has also issued a Marginal Risk for severe weather over the southern part of the state today.  There is less than a 2% chance of tornadoes, however.


Satellite imagery is unavailable at this time.

The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows a dry layer near the surface, but then a damp column above 500 mb.  Overall, there was 0.37 inches of precipitable water present in the column.  There was no Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH) present.  There was a moderate thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 4.3 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 10 kts of low-level shear (mostly directional changes) and 54 kts of deep-layer shear (mostly speed changes) this morning.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cold temperatures, moderate humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions), light winds, and cloudy skies in the northeast.   The Doppler RADAR overlay shows that there are some building storms in the southern half of the state.

The surface pressure chart shows a moderate pressure gradient across the state as pressure drops over Arizona this afternoon.  The RAP shows that this gradient will decrease slightly over the next six hours, however.

The critical thicknesses chart shows that many of the critical thickness contours are far to our north.  Do notice that a few contours appear on the bottom of the screen associated with the deep low pressure system.  The low pressure drops the thickness of each layer of the atmosphere.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows southerly flow over the state today as a new trough approaches the state from the west.  You can see the closed low pressure system has moved southeast over northwestern Mexico.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows no significant 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 over the Boot-heel region of the state today.  This is why there is a Marginal Risk for severe weather in this area, as there is relatively strong convection.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows that the back door cold front stalled, and that, while there is a strong thermal gradient, the winds are not blowing against the gradient.  This is why we will have rain in Rio Rancho today instead of snow.

The Precipitation chart shows that most of the state can expect some precipitation by 0Z.

Rio Rancho may see some rain this evening.  I think everyone was expecting better snow potentials, but with the cold front weakening and not moving as far west, I don’t think it is going to happen outside of the higher elevations.  The NAM looked like it had this right yesterday.

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
The surface observation and upper level charts are from Unisys Weather.
The satellite data is from NASA – MSFC


About highplainschasing

This blog is about my tales in storm chasing. My name is Seth Price and I am an instrumentation instructor at New Mexico Tech. My amateur radio call sign is N3MRA.
This entry was posted in Local WX, Photography, Practicing Concepts, Predictions, Satellite Imagery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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