New Mexico Weather: 1/21/17

Yesterday was cold, breezy and cloudy.  It began to snow off and on around lunchtime, and by the time I arrived at my house in Rio Rancho, we had a half an inch on the ground.

Currently, it is partly cloudy, still and cold.  Early this morning, the snow turned to rain, and all of the snow is gone this morning.  The backyard weather station says the temperature if 41.8 F, the relative humidity is 66%, the relative pressure is 29.58 in Hg and rising, and the winds are 3.8 mph from the southwest.  Here is a photo looking out my back door at the lingering clouds:

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Socorro) a partly sunny day, with a 50% chance of rain or snow, and a high temperature of 43 F.  The winds will be from the southwest at 15-20 mph, becoming west at 25-30 mph, gusting as high as 40 mph.  Less than one inch of snow is possible.  This evening will be partly cloudy and windy, with a low temperature of 24 F.  The winds will be from the northwest at 25-30 mph, gusting as high as 40 mph, but decreasing to 15-20 mph after midnight.   The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook and Wind Advisory through this evening  They have also issued several Winter Weather products for the northern and western parts of the state today, as shown in the NWS Watches and Warnings map:

The visible satellite shows some well-defined cumulus clouds (likely L1) popping up.  Otherwise, there are less-defined cumulus and stratus clouds over most of the state.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that these clouds are not very thick, with low, warm tops.

The water vapor imagery is unavailable at this time.

The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows a damp atmosphere up to 300 mb.   Overall, there was 0.38 inches of precipitable water present in the column.  There was 2 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -26 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH) present.  There was no thermal inversion, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.4 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 15 kts of low-level shear (mostly speed changes) and 50 kts of deep-layer shear (mostly speed changes) this morning.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cool temperatures, high humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions), light winds, and cloudy skies over most of the state this morning.  There are no major frontal boundaries over the state so far this morning.  The Doppler RADAR overlay shows that there are patches of precipitation scattered over the state.

The surface pressure chart shows a strong pressure gradient over the state today, as low pressure near the Panhandles Region moves northeast.  The RAP shows that this gradient will likely strengthen over the next six hours.

The Critical Thickness chart  shows that the critical thickness contours are over the western part of the state.  More than likely, any precipitation that falls in this region will be snow.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows northwesterly flow as we begin to exit the trough.  There is a strong, long jetstreak that is passing through the middle of the state at this time.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows some moderate Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA) as strong vorticity associated with the jetstreak creeps east through the southern part of the state.

The 700 mb NAM chart shows rapidly-sinking air over the southern part of the state.  This is likely due to the strong winds that are blowing over much of the state today.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows some moderate Cold Air Advection (CAA) moving in behind the trough from Arizona.  This will increase the chances of snow into this evening.

The Precipitation chart shows that there is a chance of precipitation over most of the state by 0Z.

I started this post early this morning and then finished it in the afternoon.  I don’t have much to say in terms of a prediction except to say that the winds have increased significantly throughout the morning and into the afternoon.  Based on the RAP, I expect this trend to continue.  I can see patches of falling precipitation around, but none is falling at my house in Rio Rancho.  However, there is some falling on the mountains to my east.  Here is a photo to my east, taken this afternoon:

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 College of DuPage – SATRAD

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, Radar Imagery, Satellite Imagery, Winter Weather and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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