October 20-22, 2010: Widespread Showers and Thunderstorms

A storm formed off the southern California coast and strengthened on the 18th and 19th, before turning inland and reaching New Mexico late on the 21st into the 22nd. The 2 frame water vapor loop below shows the storm's progress from the 20th to early on the 22nd.

 

The radar images below illustrate the extent of precipitation at various times from the afternoon of the 20th to the early morning of the 22nd. The image from 552pm on october 21st shows the storm that produced two tornadoes north northwest of Roswell. Click here for a video of one of the tornadoes.

The table below lists some two day precipitation totals from around the state.

LOCATION RAINFALL TOTALS (inches - 2 days)
   
 Albuquerque Area 0.17 (Sunport) - 1.43 (Central & Four Hills)
Portales 1SW 1.43
4WSW Mills Canyon 1.39
Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge 1.35
Roswell Airport 0.99
 2SSE La Cueva 0.97
Las Vegas  0.95
Cannon AFB 0.76
5E Lower Colonias 0.74
1WNW Gascon 0.69
Capulin 0.68
7 NW Zuni Pueblo 0.65

 

 October 25, 2010: Widespread Strong Winds

A powerful upper level jet stream translated across the central Rockies Monday October 25th.  Meanwhile a strong surface pressure gradient set up across New Mexico as a deep low pressure system developed across western Kansas.  The combination of strong upper level winds and deep surface pressure over the state allowed for widespread strong winds to develop across New Mexico by late Monday morning.  Wind gusts over 70 mph were reported across many locations along the east slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains Monday afternoon. The graphic below illustrates a model forecast of the upper level winds early on the 25th.  Note the large swath of 140 knot winds stretching from the Pacific northwest southeast into the northwest corner of New Mexico. 

The westerly component to these winds is ideal for allowing air to accelerate rapidly downward along the north to south oriented mountain ranges of New Mexico.  As  these winds travel downward along the east slope of a mountain range they are compressed and warmed. These type of winds are called katabatic winds, or more commonly, downslope winds.  They go by different names across the world but folks across the United States are probably most familiar with the Chinook winds that affect the east slopes of the northern Rockies.  The image below is the 1km MODIS visible channel courtesy  of NASA SPoRT valid at 240 PM MDT.  Note the area of clear skies along the east slopes of the central mountain chain from Raton south to Las Vegas and Clines Corners while the remainder of the area to the west is experiencing mostly cloudy skies.  Peak westerly wind gusts within this clear area were greater than 70 mph. 

 
 
The table below outlines peak wind speeds over northern and central New Mexico October 25, 2010.
 
Location Peak Wind Gust (mph)
Vaughn 91
Sandia Peak Tram 75
Clines Corners 74
Raton 70
Las Vegas 69
Stanley 64
Los Alamos 58
Tucumcari 58
Fort Stanton 58

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