Virga over the south end of Carlsbad, New Mexico this morning. These dark streaks working downward from the clouds are know as virga, or trails and shafts of precipitation falling from the clouds, but evaporating before reaching the ground. A few sprinkles, spits of snow, sleet, and graupel often accompany this phenomena. When associated with thunderstorms, these virga streaks can also be accompanied by very strong wind gusts and localized areas of blowing dust. Wind gusts associated with virga during high based, dry thunderstorms, can and often do exceed 60 mph.
A very cold mid-upper level closed low was located over southeastern New Mexico this morning. The very cold, and unstable temperatures aloft, are helping to produce the scattered areas of virga across the local area. Temperatures at the 500 millibar level, or at about 18,000' mean sea level (MSL), are as low as -31C/-24F at the core of this low.
Local residents have reported pockets of light snow, graupel, sleet, and light rain showers associated with this cold late winter storm over the past couple of days.
"After viewing and plotting the damage, the NWS Midland damage survey team found sufficent reason to believe that the damage that occurred in the Gardendale area was the result of a short-lived, tornado."
The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!
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