New Mexico Weather: 8/4/17

Yesterday, the weather was warm, sunny, humid and still.  I moved some lab equipment in the morning, and spent a few hours outdoors.  There was no rain anywhere in Socorro or along my commute home.

This morning has been mild, still, and partly cloudy.

National Weather Service (NWS) in Albuquerque forecasts (for Socorro) a partly sunny day, with a high temperature of 92 F.  The winds will be from the southeast at 5-10 mph.  This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 40% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, and a low temperature of 67 F. Winds will be from the south at 5-10 mph, becoming west after midnight.

The NWS in Albuquerque forecasts (for Magdalena) a partly sunny day, with a 30% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, and a high temperature of 84 F. The winds will be from the south at 5-10 mph, becoming southeast in the afternoon. This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 30% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms, and a low temperature of 60 F. Winds will be from the south at 5-10 mph, becoming west after midnight.

The NWS in Albuquerque forecasts (for Rio Rancho) partly sunny day, with a 20% chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms, and a high temperature of 90 F. The winds will be light and variable, but then from the southwest at 5-10 mph in the afternoon.  This evening will be mostly cloudy, with a 60% chance of showers and thunderstorms, and a low temperature of 66 F. Winds will be from the southwest at 5-10 mph, becoming northeast after midnight.

The NWS has also issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook concerning the heavy rains that will be possible everywhere in the state, though the highlands in the north and west will have the best chances of precipitation.  Flash flooding will be possible with the showers and thunderstorms that form today, given the humid air and damp soil.

The visible satellite imagery is unavailable at this time.

The infrared satellite imagery shows a some thicker clouds in the southern part of the state.

The water vapor imagery shows nearly-uniform moisture over the state today.  You can see the long trek of moisture from the Pacific off the coast of northern California, through the southwest, then spiraling into a mid-latitude cyclone centered over Wisconsin.

The 12Z sounding from Albuquerque shows a really humid atmosphere.    There was 1.01 inches of precipitable water present in the column this morning.  There was 276 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and -143 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH) present.  There was no thermal inversion near the surface, and the 0-3 km average lapse rate was 6.6 C/km.

The hodograph shows that there was 18 kts of low-level shear (mostly due to directional changes) and 20 kts of deep-layer shear (mostly due to speed changes).

The surface observations (from the SPC Mesoscale Analysis Map) show mild temperatures and high humidity (based on the surface dewpoint depressions).  The skies are clear in most locations, and the winds are light.  There is slight evidence of a cold front, based on the surface temperatures and a few stations are showing a wind direction shift (now from the northeast) behind the frontal boundary.

The surface pressure chart shows that there is a high pressure system over the NM/CO border this morning, with no strong pressure gradients over the state, so far this morning.  The RAP shows that none are expected to develop in the next six hours.

Synoptically speaking, the 300 mb NAM chart (from Unisys) shows northwesterly to zonal flow over the state today, as air aloft is deflected around a trough to our east.

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

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

The 850 mb NAM chart shows the back door cold front from yesterday and early this morning will have weakened by this afternoon.

The Precipitation chart shows that rain is possible again, particularly ahead of the front, and into the northwestern corner of the state.

It looks like the cold front didn’t reach far enough south or west to produce any significant precipitation in the Rio Grande River Valley yesterday, and our chances are about the same today.  There is plenty of moisture available, and the western part of the state has a much stronger chance of rain today.  Even so, an afternoon and evening shower here in Rio Rancho is likely.

Thank you for reading my post.

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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