Lots Of Radar Echoes...But Its Just Virga Not Rain.

According to the 12:45 PM MST Regional Radar snapshot posted above, there should be lots of rain hitting the ground across southeastern New Mexico. This is not the case since these radar echoes are of virga. You can see this in the photo that I took early this afternoon, looking south from C-Hill in Carlsbad, NM, at the virga falliing from the mid-level deck of altostratus.

Regional surface  observations at 1 PM MST indicate that a thick deck of mid and high level clouds (altocumulus, altostratus, and cirrostratus) cover the area, with bases generally layered from 12,000' to 20,000' above the ground. You can see how extensive this cloud deck is via the visibile satellite image (posted above). Virga is quite common in the Desert Southwest.

This Mornings 12Z/5 AM MST GFS 500 MB Analysis.

This mornings GFS 500 MB analysis shows a ridge of high pressure currently located over the Desert Southwest. A cutoff upper-level low was centered roughly half way between the Baja Peninsula and Hawaii. This ridge of high pressure will help keep our local weather tranquil and boring this week. The ridge is forecast to break down by mid-week as our next winter storm digs southeastward out of the Gulf of Alaska, and into the Desert Southwest by the end of the week.

 GFS 500 MB At 5 AM MST Friday February 8, 2013.

ECMWF 500 MB At 5 AM MST Friday February 8, 2013. 

Both runs this morning of the GFS model, and the European (ECMWF) model were fairly close in their forecast locations, and strength of this next inbound winter storm, depicted above by around sunrise next Friday. Of course this storm is still about a week out from impacting our local weather, so there isn't much point in trying to get too specific with the details just yet. But get ready because winter is coming back.

(GFS Verses ECMWF).

GFS Forecast For Albuquerque, NM.

ECMWF Forecast For Albuquerque, NM.

 GFS Forecast For Roswell, NM.

ECMWF Forecast For Roswell, NM.

GFS Forecast For Carlsbad, NM.

ECMWF Forecast For Carlsbad, NM.

 GFS Forecast For Ruidoso, NM.

ECMWF Forecast For Ruidoso, NM.

Don't get caught up too much in the details of these specific model forecasts (posted above). This far out in time its hard to pinpoint just where this storm is headed, which of course has a direct bearing on our forecasts. If the storm stays north of the southern border of the state, then southeastern New Mexico will have less of a chance of getting any precipitation out of it. But this would be good news for the rest of the state. No matter what track it takes, colder weather and stormier will return by late next week. But not before we see yet another week of above normal temps, so enjoy them while they last.
The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!

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