Magdalena Storm Chase: Day #1

Today marks the first day of the Magdalena Storm Chase!  We will depart Magdalena at 9 am and head northeast.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued a Marginal Risk along the dryline through eastern New Mexico and the Panhandles Region.  There is less than a 2% chance of tornadoes, nationwide.

Synoptically speaking, we do not have great dynamics.  The 250 mb NAM chart shows that there is a trough approaching, but it will not really affect us until later this week.

At the 500 mb level, the NAM shows that there are a few pockets of weak Positive Vorticity Advection (PVA), though there are some places that are merely artifacts on this plot.  We are too far ahead of the shortwave trough.

The NAM 700 mb level chart shows that there is also a few pockets of rapidly-rising air, most notably near Tucumcari, NM.

The NAM 850 mb level chart shows weak thermal advection everywhere.  I did notice a tiny pocket of Cold Air Advection (CAA) also near Tucumcari.  I wonder if this model can detect CAA as an outflow boundary from a forecasted thunderstorm.  This leads me to believe it might, as this is the area of rapidly-rising air as well.

The NAM dewpoint surface chart shows part of our problems today, but hope for the rest of the chase.  We are dry.  Even today’s chase will be 45 F dewpoints.  However, moisture return is expected overnight.  There is a weak dryline through eastern New Mexico and western Texas.

The HRRR simulated reflectivity chart shows clusters of storms forming along the dryline.  Surface winds are expected to blow along the boundary, leading to clusters and linear storms versus discrete supercells.


The HRRR supercell composite is not very promising, but it is also non-zero.  However, soon after 22 Z, it decreases in all areas.

The Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) is expected to climb to roughly 1000 J/kg.  Not a strong storm chasing day, but some storms will fire.

The surface observations show that the dewpoints are in the 40’s, and the temperatures are in the 50’s.

The 12Z sounding from Amarillo shows no existing CAPE this morning.  We also have a moderate capping inversion in place.

The hodograph shows one of our major problems today:  no strong shear.  We only have 8 kts of low-level shear and 12 kts of deep layer shear.  However, stronger shear will come with the approaching trough.

Overall, there will be some light chasing today as we head northeast.  I am targeting Tucumcari for chasing, but I bet we spend the night somewhere in Amarillo or perhaps as far north as Guymon, OK.

It’s not bad to have a light first day.  I think we will have more activity later this week, so perhaps we can get some of the bugs worked out today.

Thank you for reading my post.

The outlooks and the soundings are from:  Storm Prediction Center
The HRRR and NAM model images are from:  COD Meteorology — Numerical Model Data

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 Possible Chase Opportunity, Practicing Concepts, Predictions, Satellite Imagery, Severe Weather and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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