New Mexico Weather: 3/12/17

Yesterday was warm, partly sunny and still.  It was an absolutely beautiful day.  I spent some time outside, and was able to enjoy the nice weather.  It did get breezy in the evening.  There were a few reports of large hail (hen egg-sized) falling over Lea county associated with yesterday’s storms.

This morning has been mild, still and mostly sunny.  There are no clouds over Rio Rancho this morning:

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Socorro) a sunny day, with a high temperature of 75 F. The winds will be from the east at 10 mph, becoming west in the afternoon.  This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 42 F.  The winds will be from the northeast at 10-20 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque forecasts (for Magdalena) a sunny day, with a high temperature of 69 F. The winds will be from the northwest at 5-15 mph.  This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 39 F.  The winds will be from the northwest at 10-15 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque forecasts (for Rio Rancho) a sunny day, with a high temperature of 72 F. The winds will be from the southeast at 5-10 mph, becoming northwest at 10-15 mph this afternoon.  This evening will be mostly clear, with a low temperature of 40 F.  The winds will be from the northwest at 15-20 mph, becoming northeast at 5-10 mph after midnight.

The NWS in Albuquerque has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook gusty winds and the wildfire potential.  The humidity is lower today than it was yesterday in this area, leading to an increased risk of wildfires.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) also picked up on this threat, issuing a Critical Fire Weather Risk for northeastern New Mexico.

The visible satellite imagery shows cloud cover over the eastern half of the state this morning.

The infrared satellite imagery shows that all of these clouds are thin, with low, warm tops.  This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor imagery shows that the deep moisture has moved north, and we are in a band of relatively dry air.  This will increase the threat of wildfires today, as compared to yesterday.

The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows a dry atmosphere under 400 mb.  There was 0.27 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning.  There was no of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and no Convective Inhibition (CINH) present.  There was a slight thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 4.4 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 15 kts of low-level shear (mostly due to directional changes) and 39 kts of deep-layer shear (due to a mix of speed and directional changes) this morning.

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show mild temperatures, moderate humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions), still winds, and clear skies over the western half of the state this morning. There are some clouds lingering over the east, but they are expected to mix out and move out by this afternoon.

The surface pressure chart shows slightly lower pressure over the Nebraska Panhandle and higher pressure over the Four Corners area, leading to a moderate pressure gradient through the northeastern corner of the state.  The RAP shows that this gradient will become steeper over the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows northwesterly flow as a new trough attempts to dig south through the Rockies and western Great Plains.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows no significant thermal advection over the state today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

The 700 mb NAM chart shows no major pockets of rapidly-rising air over the state today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

The 850 mb NAM chart shows some weak Warm Air Advection (WAA) backfilling behind yesterday’s back door cold front.  The winds are not strong, but they blow against the thermal gradient from warm to cool, and by 00Z, they have pushed the thermal gradient into the Great Plains.

The Precipitation chart shows there is very little chance of precipitation over the state today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

Today is shaping up to be pleasant day, in terms of temperature, though it may become breezy this afternoon and evening.  There is a significant risk of fire weather this afternoon across the northeastern part of the state as breezy and dry air moves over the area.

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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