It’s another day and another supercell and tornado risk centered over…New Mexico.
Who knew the Land of Enchantment was also the land of storm chasing?
Today is going to be an interesting day across the Southern High Plains, with supercells and tornadoes possible. Large hail and damaging winds will be present as well. Generally, it’s going to be a very busy day of severe weather.
This morning is characterized by shower and storm activity over parts of Central New Mexico. This may delay heating a bit and thus, storm formation this afternoon.
At the surface we have upper-50s to mid-60s dewpoints firmly in place across eastern New Mexico.
A good amount of jet stream energy will be passing over New Mexico during the afternoon hours, bringing enhanced wind shear over a moist and unstable airmass. This, as always, is the recipe for severe weather.
Speaking of dews, the HREF is pointing towards mid-upper 50s for eastern New Mexico by afternoon. These are sufficient levels for supercells AND tornadoes, especially given high temperatures only in the 75-85F range or so.
Generally speaking, most CAMs have a solution that looks like this with a broken band of storms across New Mexico and into the Panhandles. Many of these storms will rotate, with tornadoes possible starting in the mid-late afternoon hours.
In fact, the spinny storms index is pretty fired up about Eastern/Central New Mexico late this afternoon.
Forecast soundings are pretty universal in plenty of wind shear for supercells and tornadoes. With a moist atmosphere leading to moderate CAPE values.
The Bottom Line
Today has the look of yet another very busy day of severe weather in New Mexico. The 500mb winds crossing over the region will be 40-50kts in some areas, and dewpoints in the mid-upper 50s are more than adequate for this region.
What I’m watching for is storm evolution. The storm modes tomorrow will be a big determining factor in how severe the day ends up being. If storms can stay supercellular into the evening timeframe, I think a tornado or two is absolutely on the table. In fact, any dominant supercell with clean inflow will pose a tornado risk as the day wears on today.
The most likely outcome are supercells early, with a transition to linear modes by or just after sunset. This means there is a window for tornado activity, especially from 4-8 p.m. today. Large hail is also likely to occur given the soundings for today and damaging winds will become more of a threat as storms grow into a line into the night.