New Mexico Weather: 2/17/17

Yesterday was mild, still and mostly sunny in Socorro.  A few clouds showed up in the evening.

This morning, the weather along my commute from Rio Rancho to Socorro has been cold, still and partly cloudy.  Here is a photo of the sunrise over Belen this morning:

In Rio Rancho, my backyard weather station says the temperature is 34 F, the relative humidity is 69% (dewpoint 24 F), the relative pressure is 1011.8 mb and falling, and the winds are 2 mph from the south-southeast.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Socorro) a partly sunny day with a high temperature of 64 F. The winds will be from the northwest at 5-10 mph.  This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a low temperature of 38 F.  The winds will be from the west at 5 mph, becoming south after midnight.  The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning gusty winds through the central highlands later today.  Given the high winds and the low humidity, fire weather is a concern this afternoon.

The visible satellite imagery is unavailable at this time.

The infrared satellite imagery shows that there is a line of thicker clouds extending through the western half of the state this morning.

The water vapor imagery shows that there is dry air over the eastern part of the state this morning.  There is deeper moisture on the western side of the central mountain chain.  The dry air over the east is expected to creep farther west, and this plus gusty winds make for dangerous fire weather conditions.

The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows a dry sounding, especially in the mid-levels.  Overall, there was 0.18 inches of precipitable water present in the column.  There was no of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH) present.  There was a small but deep thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 2.9 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 21 kts of low-level shear (a mix of directional and speed changes) and 2 kts of deep-layer shear (mostly due to speed changes) this morning.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show cold temperatures, high humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions), light winds, and clear skies over most of the state. There are no major frontal boundaries present over the state at this time.

The surface pressure chart shows a strong pressure gradient near the Colorado border as a lee-side low develops over eastern Colorado.   The RAP shows that the gradient will remain moderate over at least the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows weak, zonal flow over the state today as the closed, upper-level low continues east, out of our area.

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 some no rapidly-rising air over the state today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows no significant thermal advection over the state today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

The Precipitation chart shows that precipitation is unlikely today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

The NWS is showing a weak back door cold front pushing into the state from the northeast.  It is not yet showing up on the surface observations or the 850 mb NAM chart, but either way, the dry and breezy conditions expected in the eastern part of the state ramp up the chances of wildfires.  If this weak front is stronger than expected, it will really dry things 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
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 Fire Weather, Local WX, Photography, Practicing Concepts, Predictions, Satellite Imagery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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