New Mexico Weather: 6/20/17

Yesterday was a hot day.  We had to defrost one of our window air conditioners, so it was quite miserable in the house, reaching 92.8 F indoors while we waited.  There were a few isolated thunderstorms, though none at my house.  Here was a developing cell to my north:

Also, it was so hot, this rabbit dug a little hole under one of my cars and flattened out to try to stay cool:

This morning has been still, clear and warm.  There were some contrails over Albuquerque, indicating some moisture aloft.

National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Socorro) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 100 F. The winds will be from the south at 5-15 mph.  This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a low temperature of 71 F. Winds will be from the south at 5-15 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque forecasts (for Magdalena) a mostly sunny day, with a 30% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, and a high temperature of 93 F. The winds will be from the south at 10 mph.  This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 30% chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms, and a low temperature of 71 F. Winds will be from the southwest at 10-15 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque forecasts (for Rio Rancho) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 102 F. The winds will be from the east at 5-10 mph, becoming southwest in the afternoon.  This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 70 F. Winds will be from the southwest at 5-10 mph, becoming southeast after midnight.

The NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the widespread heatwave that will occur over New Mexico over the next few days.  Today, there is a Heat Advisory in place over the western part of the state, including Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.  The NWS Watches and Warnings graphic is shown below:

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued a Marginal Risk for severe weather over northeastern New Mexico.  The primary threats will be gusty winds and large hail, as the tornado threat is less than 2%.

The SPC also points out that isolated dry thunderstorms are possible today, especially over the western part of the state, leading to an increased fire risk.

The visible satellite imagery is unavailable at this time.

The infrared satellite imagery shows a few higher, cooler-topped clouds that are remnants of yesterday’s isolated storms.

The water vapor imagery shows that there is some deep moisture over the state, particularly in the west and south.

The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows a moderately damp, warm atmosphere.  There was 0.80 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning.  There was 950 J/kg Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -388 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH) present.  There was no thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 7.0 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 5 kts of low-level shear (mostly due to directional changes) and 10 kts of deep-layer shear ( due to a mix of speed and directional changes).

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show warm temperatures, and moderately-high humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions).  The skies are clear, and the winds are still.  There are no major frontal boundaries clearly defined over the state this morning.

The surface pressure chart shows that we are under slightly lower pressure, but with no strong pressure gradients present.  The RAP shows that a thermal low over Arizona will persist for at least the next six hours, but the pressure gradient will not increase significantly.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows very little flow aloft as we are centered under a large upper-level high pressure system.

The 500 mb NAM chart shows that there is no strong vorticity advection over the state today.  This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

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

The 850 mb NAM chart shows really high temperatures over most of the state today.  There is some weak Cold Air Advection (CAA) moving in from the east, but it will provide no relief to the Albuquerque area.

The Precipitation chart shows that there is a few pockets of rain possible this afternoon, particularly in the southern half of the state.

Today will remain sunny, hot and clear for much of the state, clouding up in the evening.   I am not looking forward to the heat that we will experience over the next few days.  The sounding is richer than I imagined it would be earlier this morning.  I think the chances of isolate thunderstorms will be perhaps a little higher this afternoon.  We have ample moisture, some CAPE, and moderate lapse rates already this morning.  With the low shear, the severe threat over the Albuquerque area will be limited.

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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