New Mexico Weather: 6/21/17

Yesterday was another hot day.  I commuted to Socorro and caught a few developing thunderstorms to our west, though none of them reached Socorro.

This morning has been still, sunny, hazy and hot.  Here is a view of the backyard, which I have still not tended to since my travels.  I’m not going to do so today, either, with temperatures as high as they are forecasted to be.

National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Socorro) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 104 F. The winds will be from the south at 5 mph.  This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 71 F. Winds will be from the southwest at 5-10 mph.

The NWS in Albuquerque forecasts (for Magdalena) a mostly sunny day, with isolated, dry thunderstorms, and a high temperature of 97 F. The winds will be from the east at 5-10 mph, becoming south in the afternoon.  This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a low temperature of 68 F. Winds will be from the south at 5-10 mph, becoming west after midnight.

The NWS in Albuquerque forecasts (for Rio Rancho) a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature of 104 F. The winds will be from the southwest at 5-10 mph, becoming northwest in the afternoon.  This evening will be partly cloudy, with a low temperature of 70 F. Winds will be from the north at 5-10 mph, becoming east 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, Socorro, Magdalena 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 shows a few cumulus clouds building on the tops of the mountain ranges.

The infrared satellite imagery shows no thick clouds at this time.  This image has been excluded from today’s post.

The water vapor imagery shows that there is some moisture aloft, but notice the absence of disturbances in our area.  We are under only light upper-level winds.  Also notice Tropical Storm Cindy as it makes landfall in Louisiana and Texas.

The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows an inverted-v type sounding, meaning dry microbursts (virga bombs) are possible with any storms that form today.  There was 0.79 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning.  There was 30 J/kg Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -714 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH) present.  There was no thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.4 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 18 kts of low-level shear (mostly due to directional changes) and 15 kts of deep-layer shear (due to a mix of speed and directional changes).

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show hot temperatures, and moderately-low 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 will develop over the state (dropping to 998 mb) over the next six hours.  No strong pressure gradients are expected to develop.

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 a few pockets of rapidly-rising air by 18 Z in the northwestern corner of the state.

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.   Today’s chances of precipitation will be lower, given the lower CAPE and moisture.  However, I think the big threat may be dry lightning strikes and gusty winds.  Any storms that form will be capable of producing dry microbursts and dry lightning, both of which are bad news for dry land susceptible to fires.

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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