New Mexico Weather: 2/6/17

Yesterday was a pleasant day.  It was warm, sunny, breezy and precipitation-free all day.  I opened the windows yesterday to let in some fresh air.  By the evening, some clouds had rolled into the area.

Currently, it is mostly cloudy, still and cool in Rio Rancho.  The backyard weather station says the temperature is 41 F, the relative humidity is 46%, the relative pressure is 1015.9 mb and falling, and the winds are 2 mph from the south-southeast.   Here is a photo from the Alvarado Transportation Center in Downtown Albuquerque showing the mostly cloudy skies:

A little while later, I snapped a photo of the “mackerel sky” over Belen, NM:

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Socorro) a partly sunny day, with a high temperature of 67 F. The winds will be from the south at 5-10 mph, becoming west at 10-15 mph in the afternoon.  This evening will become mostly clear, with a low temperature of 35 F.  The winds will be from the west at 5-10 mph.  The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for strong and gusty winds and critical fire weather, particularly along the east side of the central mountain chain and into the eastern plains.  The NWS Watches and Warnings graphic is shown below:

The visible satellite imagery is unavailable at this time.

The enhanced infrared satellite imagery shows that the clouds from the mountain tops are not very thick, and have low, warm tops.

The water vapor imagery shows dry air over the Rio Grande River Valley, with more moisture on either side.

The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows a dry atmosphere again this morning, with moderate dewpoint depressions below 600 mb, but near saturated conditions above.  Overall, there was 0.32 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 small thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 5.4 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 28 kts of low-level shear (due mostly to directional changes) and 54 kts of deep-layer shear (due mostly to speed changes) this morning.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cool temperatures, low humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions), light winds, and partly cloudy skies over most of the state.   There are no major frontal boundaries over the state so far this morning.

The surface pressure chart shows that the pressure is lower than yesterday, and there is a strong pressure gradient across the northern part of the state.  The RAP is showing that the lower pressure and strong pressure gradient are both expected to persist for at least the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows light zonal flow aloft.  A compact, upper level low pressure pocket is forming  over Colorado today, and it will deflect the jetstream slightly.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows no strong 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 weak Cold Air Advection (CAA) over the northern part of the state as winds blow across a moderate thermal gradient from cold to warm, due to the small upper-level disturbance.

The Precipitation chart shows no significant precipitation over the state today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

Today will be breezy, warm, and begin to clear out and become sunny.  Already, there are fewer clouds in the sky, and sinking air at the 700 mb level will cause a few more to mix out.

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 College of DuPage – SATRAD

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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.
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