Widespread Rains - Severe Thunderstorms - Heavy Mountain Snows Coming.
SPC Day 2 (Monday) Severe Weather Outlook.
Severe Weather Threat Monday Afternoon Into Tuesday Morning.
A few to widely scattered elevated thunderstorms are possible across Eastern and Southeastern New Mexico and parts of West Texas Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning. Current forecasts from the Storm Prediction Center (as of 10 AM MDT Sunday morning) indicate that these elevated potentially severe thunderstorms may produce marginally severe hail (possibly up to an inch in diameter or the size of quarters). There could possibly be some instances of slightly larger hail but Monday afternoons and Monday's nights severe weather threat appears at this time to be less significant and widespread as Tuesday's threat.
Severe Weather Threat Tuesday Into Tuesday Evening.
First Severe Weather Outbreak Of The Year Tuesday?
Our first area-wide severe weather outbreak looks possible Tuesday into Tuesday evening. A powerful negatively tilted upper level trough of low pressure continues to be forecast by the models to drop into the central Baja, California peninsula by sunrise Tuesday morning. This potent storm is then forecast to lift northeastward during the day Tuesday and by sunrise Wednesday morning it should be located near Clovis, New Mexico if current forecast model trends are correct.
At the surface a Pacific cold front will approach the area from the west Tuesday night. A sharp dryline will sharpen up along the eastern slopes of the Sacramento, Capitan, and Guadalupe mountains and northward across Eastern New Mexico Tuesday. Low level southeasterly upslope flow combined with abundant mid-level moisture will be in place as the storm approaches from the southwest Tuesday.
Widespread rain showers with a few embedded elevated thunderstorms are forecast to be ongoing over the local area Tuesday morning. The dynamics and instability associated with this approaching potent storm will be impressive for March. This includes strong shear and moderate instability and steep mid-level lapse rates. The stage will be set for an outbreak of severe thunderstorms across the entire area Tuesday into Tuesday evening. A squall line of severe thunderstorms may form along and east of the advancing Pacific cold front as it approaches from the west and catches up with or overtakes the dryline near the New Mexico/Texas state line Tuesday afternoon and evening.
I am concerned that given the strength, forecast path, and negatively tilted nature of the approaching upper level storm that we may experience some rather nasty supercell thunderstorms Tuesday into Tuesday evening.
This mornings NAM and GFS are forecasting surface based cape values of around 1,000 to 1,500 j/kg Tuesday afternoon. Mid-level lapse rates of 7ºC to 9ºC are forecast. Bulk wind shear (surface to 500 millibars) of 60 to 85 knots are forecast. Storm relative helicity (SRH) values (0-1 km AGL) of 200 to 300 are forecast in eastern Lea County. This severe weather parameters are likely to change with new forecast model runs tonight into Tuesday morning so keep checking the model data for the latest updates.
Marginally severe thunderstorms may produce some large hail, damaging thunderstorm wind gusts in excess of 60 mph, frequent deadly cloud to ground lightning and locally heavy rains starting Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning.
A more substantial and widespread severe weather threat exists on Tuesday with the threat of large hail, damaging thunderstorm wind gusts in excess of 60 mph, frequent deadly cloud to ground lightning and locally heavy rains. Isolated tornadoes may be possible as well.
There always has to be a fly in the ointment to mess things up right? This is so true when trying to figure out severe weather episodes. Should we be able to break out of the clouds and get some clearing skies which would allow the atmosphere to become more unstable due to additional surface warming from the sun our chances for severe weather would increase. If we stay socked in with clouds and rain the chances for severe weather could end up being lower. In fact its also possible that the main event could be the squall line that develops late Tuesday afternoon and evening. The main threat at this time for severe weather would be damaging thunderstorm wind gusts and to a lesser extent large hail.
We Are Due For Another Area-wide Severe Weather Outbreak.
Historically a significant severe weather outbreak occurs in the local area on average about every ten years. Interestingly enough the last widespread major severe weather event occurred on March 23, 2007. See my blog posts concerning this event here. Videos of some of the tornadoes that day and others locally can be viewed here. During these outbreaks eastern and southeastern New Mexico experiences strong tornadoes of EF2 strength or stronger. See this link for more information and safety rules during tornadoes.
The last documented EF2 tornado in New Mexico occurred on May 23rd, 2010 in Union County in northeastern New Mexico. The tornado touched down at 7:12 PM four miles south-southwest of Sedan. It stayed on the ground for 8.82 miles and was 440 yards wide. The tornado caused $325,000 in damages.
One of the worst tornado outbreaks if not the worst occurred in the Clovis area in Curry County on March 23rd, 2007 at 7:06 PM. This EF2 tornado developed in Roosevelt County then traveled north-northwest into Curry County for 3.5 miles then tracked north-northeast for 4.6 miles into southern and east central sections of Clovis. Winds were estimated at 125 with this tornado. Its average width was 200 yards and swelled out to 350 yards wide. it was on the ground for 8.02 miles. Some 500 homes and businesses suffered damages. Two fatalities were noted with 33 injuries.
Last May 23rd at 1:25 PM a large wedge tornado was chased by several well known and reputable storm chasers near Picacho in Lincoln County. This large tornado was rated and EFU (unknown strength) since access to its potential damage path in a very remote area was not possible. This wedge tornado was estimated to be 400 yards wide with a path on the ground of 2.22 miles. Videos and my blog of this event can be seen here.
We are due folks! Tuesday's outbreak has the potential to be that type of an outbreak. There will be changes in our local forecast and severe weather outlooks as we get closer to Tuesdays severe weather outbreak. So stay updated on this potential and be prepared to seek shelter in the event that severe thunderstorms and severe weather impact your area Monday into Tuesday evening.
Now is the time to prepare for this possibility. You can stay up to date by checking my weather web page often via this link. My weather web page is free and please feel free to share this link with your friends, family, and loved ones.
Moderate To Heavy Rain And heavy Snow Is Coming.
Our chances for meaningful rainfall go up tonight into Tuesday night. In fact the latest National Weather Service forecasts for the Clovis, Roswell, Artesia, Carlsbad, Hobbs, Ruidoso, and Cloudcroft areas are very optimistic as far as rain chances go. Generally speaking the local area has a 10% to 20% chance for rain today into tonight. Showers increasingly become more likely Monday into Tuesday.
Our chances for measurable rainfall go up to 40% 70% Monday and 70% to near 100% Monday night into Tuesday evening. They drop off to around 20% to 30% on Wednesday. Widespread wetting rains still look likely over all of the area with storm totals ranging from .75" to as high as 1.50". Locally heavier totals are possible.
Valid Today Into 6 AM MDT Wednesday Morning.
Valid Today Into 6 AM MDT Wednesday Morning.
The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction - And Sometimes It Hurts!