Weekend Storm ?

January 14, 2010 by

Hey all,

We will use this site until Liveweatherblogs.com is back up soon. So the chatter has been will we see a storm in the next few days and what will it bring ? This timeframe is the one where we would see some storms and we have them they just may not be in the form most of you like them.

The GFS model is a straight up rain solution for Sunday in Philly and points south. It has over 1″ of rain for the area most of Sunday and maybe into Monday. The air aloft and at the surface are not even close to a mix at this point.

The NAM is still out of range but at 1am Sunday the 540 line or magical snow line is already up near Binghamton NY to Southern New England. So on paper the BIG TWO models I like to use are a rainmaker for Philly, DC and Baltimore and maybe a mix to start in  NYC metro. 

The pattern is on somewhat of a break but this is to be expected after a long run of cold weather and small snow events the last few weeks.

GFS North Atlantic Oscillation Outlooks

The NAO is slowly heading upward and will become neutral by the 20th. This upward swing does open the door for cold and warm air to meet to form a storm. Kinda think of the real cold weather pulling out as the moisture comes in. The trick is have just enough cold air behind to let the moisture form as snow. So as a pattern is changing you can get a storm to form, it’s just a matter of enough cold air crossing the region.

Socorro is rocking with more quakes !

September 1, 2009 by

We do sit on the Rio Grande rift so earthquakes in Central NM are fairly common.  Recent activity has been heard and felt by the Socorro residents ever since the 3.2 quake on August 19th.  The rift is seperating and this means we are seeing the earth below the Rio Grande going in two different directions. When the two plates rub against each other your get a tremor or earthquake.

Seismicity within the Socorro region has been very active in recent days. A felt earthquake of magnitude (ML) 2.3 occurred on August 19, 2009 approximately 3 km NE of Socorro near Escondida. Small events continued to occur during this time with activity beginning near the Lemitar area on August 24, 2009. These events have been numerous and fairly shallow depth of 5.5-6 km. The largest event was ML=2.5 on August 29, 2009 at 18:31:01 MDT (August 30, 2009 at 01:31:01 UTC) and was felt by many residents of Lemitar and Socorro. We have preliminary locations on the largest 53 events (ML range of 0.5 to 2.5); however, many smaller events have also occurred since August 19, 2009. The locations of 53 of the largest earthquakes are very similar, suggesting that this is an earthquake swarm. Earthquake swarms are usually caused in response to tectonic or hydrological pressure changes in the crust. Minor felt earthquakes in this region are not uncommon, and have been documented by Dr. Allan Sanford in the past (Figure below, blue squares). However, this is the longest-lasting earthquake activity in this area in the last several years.

How to make a human hair hygrometer

July 30, 2009 by

So kids summer is almost over but lets have some fun. As a kid I made plenty of weather instruments from things around the house so you can to. Below is a cool weather instrument..hint you may want to get a piece of hair from your mom or sister.


  • Empty milk carton
  • Large sewing needle
  • Broom straw, 2″ long
  • Scotch or masking tape
  • Penny
  • 9″ human hair, wiped clean of oil
  • 4 thumbtacks
  • Paper clip
  • Dishpan


Cut the carton so as to make a small horizontal slit near the top; insert the paper clip. (Fig.1) Cut a vertical slit near the bottom. Then cut horizontal slits perpendicular to this cut at its end points – like an H on its side. (Fig.1)
Pry out the flaps thus made and bend them to an upright position. Insert the needle through these flaps. (Fig.2)
Tie the hair to the paper clip, wind it around the needle, tape the penny to the other end of the hair, and let the penny hang over the end of the box, which should be lying on its side.
Put a card with a scale on the side of the carton under the straw which has been pushed through the eye of the needle. (Fig.3)
Place the hygrometer on a wet towel in a dishpan and cover with a damp cloth. After 15 minutes remove it from the cloth and set the straw at numeral 10 on the scale. Watch to see whether the straw moves.
Since humid air causes the hair to stretch and dry air causes it to shrink, the straw should move toward the dry end of the scale as the hair dries.

Lightning Wild Facts

July 24, 2009 by

New Mexico remains one of the highest states in the nation as far as lightning activity.  Expect more storms this summer some with amazing displays of lightning. Here are some cool facts on LIGHTNING in New Mexico.

BOLT TEMPS: 36,000 degrees or 3 times hotter than the sun.

SPEED: 200,000 mph. Faster than the speed og light.

BOLT SIZE: about the size of a broomstick.


Some lightning strikes exhibit particular characteristics; scientists and the general public have given names to these various types of lightning. The lightning that is most-commonly observed is streak lightning. This is nothing more than the return stroke, the visible part of the lightning stroke. The majority of strokes occur inside a cloud so we do not see most of the individual return strokes during a thunderstorm.

 Cloud-to-ground lightning

This is the best known and second most common type of lightning. Of all the different types of lightning, it poses the greatest threat to life and property since it strikes the ground. Cloud-to-ground lightning is a lightning discharge between a cumulonimbus cloud and the ground. It is initiated by a leader stroke moving down from the cloud.

Bead lightning

Bead lightning is a type of cloud-to-ground lightning which appears to break up into a string of short, bright sections, which last longer than the usual discharge channel. It is relatively rare. Several theories have been proposed to explain it; one is that the observer sees portions of the lightning channel end on, and that these portions appear especially bright. Another is that, in bead lightning, the width of the lightning channel varies; as the lightning channel cools and fades, the wider sections cool more slowly and remain visible longer, appearing as a string of beads.

Ribbon lightning

Ribbon lightning occurs in thunderstorms with high cross winds and multiple return strokes. The wind will blow each successive return stroke slightly to one side of the previous return stroke, causing a ribbon effect.

 Staccato lightning

Staccato lightning is a cloud to ground lightning strike which is a short-duration stroke that appears as a single very bright flash and often has considerable branching.

Fork lightning

Fork lightning is a name, not in formal usage, for cloud-to-ground lightning that exhibits branching.

 Ground-to-cloud lightning

Ground-to-cloud lightning is a lightning discharge between the ground and a cumulonimbus cloud initiated by an upward-moving leader stroke. It is much rarer than cloud-to-ground lightning.

 Cloud-to-cloud lightning

Lightning discharges may occur between areas of cloud without contacting the ground. When it occurs between two separate clouds it is known as inter-cloud lightning and when it occurs between areas of differing electric potential within a single cloud, it is known as intra-cloud lightning. Intra-cloud lightning is the most frequently occurring type.

These are most common between the upper anvil portion and lower reaches of a given thunderstorm. This lightning can sometimes be observed at great distances at night as so-called “heat lightning“. In such instances, the observer may see only a flash of light without hearing any thunder. The “heat” portion of the term is a folk association between locally experienced warmth and the distant lightning flashes.

Another terminology used for cloud-cloud or cloud-cloud-ground lightning is “Anvil Crawler”, due to the habit of the charge typically originating from beneath or within the anvil and scrambling through the upper cloud layers of a thunderstorm, normally generating multiple branch strokes which are dramatic to witness. These are usually seen as a thunderstorm passes over the observer or begins to decay. The most vivid crawler behavior occurs in well developed thunderstorms that feature extensive rear anvil shearing.

Sheet lightning

Sheet lightning is an informally applied name to cloud-to-cloud lightning that exhibits a diffuse brightening of the surface of a cloud caused by the actual discharge path being hidden.

Heat lightning

Heat lightning occurs too far away for the thunder to be heard. This occurs because the lightning occurs very far away and the sound waves dissipate before they reach the observer.

 Dry lightning

Dry lightning is a term in the United States for lightning that occurs with no precipitation at the surface. This type of lightning is the most common natural cause of wildfires. Pyrocumulus clouds produce lightning for the same reason that it is produced by cumulonimbus clouds. When the higher levels of the atmosphere are cooler, and the surface is warmed to extreme temperatures due to a wildfire, volcano, etc, convection will occur, and the convection produces lightning. Therefore, fire can beget dry lightning through the development of more dry thunderstorms which cause more fires.

 Rocket lightning

It is a form of cloud discharge, generally horizontal and at cloud base, with a luminous channel appearing to advance through the air with visually resolvable speed, often intermittently. Positive lightning

Anvil-to-ground (Bolt from the blue) lightning strike

See also: High voltage#Lightning

Positive lightning, also known colloquially as “bolts from the blue“, makes up less than 5% of all lightning. It occurs when the leader forms at the positively charged cloud tops, with the consequence that a negatively charged streamer issues from the ground. The overall effect is a discharge of positive charges to the ground. Research carried out after the discovery of positive lightning in the 1970s showed that positive lightning bolts are typically six to ten times more powerful than negative bolts, last around ten times longer, and can strike tens of kilometres/miles from the clouds.The voltage difference for positive lightning must be considerably higher, due to the tens of thousands of additional metres/feet the strike must travel. During a positive lightning strike, huge quantities of ELF and VLF radio waves are generated.

As a result of their greater power, positive lightning strikes are considerably more dangerous. At the present time, aircraft are not designed to withstand such strikes, since their existence was unknown at the time standards were set, and the dangers unappreciated until the destruction of a glider in 1999.

One type of positive lightning is anvil-to-ground, since it emanates from the anvil top of a cumulonimbus cloud where the ice crystals are positively charged. The leader stroke of lightning issues forth in a nearly horizontal direction until it veers toward the ground. These usually occur kilometers/miles from (and often ahead of) the main storm and will sometimes strike without warning on a sunny day. An anvil-to-ground lightning bolt is a sign of an approaching storm, and if one occurs in a largely clear sky, it is known colloquially as a “Bolt from the blue.

Positive lightning is also now believed to have been responsible for the 1963 in-flight explosion and subsequent crash of Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707. Due to the dangers of lightning, aircraft operating in U.S. airspace have been required to have lightning discharge wicks to reduce the damage by a lightning strike, but these measures may be insufficient for positive lightning.

Positive lightning has also been shown to trigger the occurrence of upper atmosphere lightning. It tends to occur more frequently in winter storms, as with thundersnow, and at the end of a thunderstorm.

An average bolt of positive lightning carries a current of up to 300 kA (kiloamperes) (about ten times as much current as a bolt of negative lightning), transfers a charge of up to 300 coulombs, has a potential difference up to 1 gigavolt (one billion volts), and lasts for hundreds of milliseconds, with a discharge energy of up to 300 GJ (gigajoules) (a billion joules).[citation needed]

Ball lightning

A photo purportedly depicting natural ball lightning, taken in 1987 by a student in Nagano, Japan.

Main article: Ball lightning

Ball lightning may be an atmospheric electrical phenomenon, the physical nature of which is still controversial. The term refers to reports of luminous, usually spherical objects which vary from pea-sized to several meters in diameter.[43] It is sometimes associated with thunderstorms, but unlike lightning flashes, which last only a fraction of a second, ball lightning reportedly lasts many seconds. Ball lightning has been described by eyewitnesses but rarely recorded by meteorologists.  Scientific data on natural ball lightning is scarce owing to its infrequency and unpredictability. The presumption of its existence is based on reported public sightings, and has therefore produced somewhat inconsistent findings.

Laboratory experiments have produced effects that are visually similar to reports of ball lightning, but it is presently unknown whether these are actually related to any naturally occurring phenomenon. Ball lightning apparently is created when lightning strikes silicon in soil, and has been created in a lab in this manner.Given inconsistencies and the lack of reliable data, the true nature of ball lightning is still unknown.Until recently, ball lightning was often regarded as a fantasy or a hoax. Reports of the phenomenon were dismissed for lack of physical evidence, and were often regarded the same way as UFO sightings.

One theory that may account for this wider spectrum of observational evidence is the idea of combustion inside the low-velocity region of axisymmetric (spherical) vortex breakdown of a natural vortex (e.g., the ‘Hill’s spherical vortex’). Natural ball lightning appears infrequently and unpredictably, and is therefore rarely (if ever truly) photographed. However, several purported photos and videos exist. Perhaps the most famous story of ball lightning unfolded when 18th-century physicist Georg Wilhelm Richmann installed a lightning rod in his home and was struck in the head – and killed – by a “pale blue ball of fire.”

 Upper-atmospheric lightning

Representation of upper-atmospheric lightning and electrical-discharge phenomena

Main article: Upper-atmospheric lightning

Reports by scientists of strange lightning phenomena about storms date back to at least 1886. However, it is only in recent years that fuller investigations have been made. This has sometimes been called megalightning.

Monsoon Season Watch

June 11, 2009 by

The National Weather Service has defined the Monsoon season in New Mexico as June 15 to September 30th.  It’s something new, kinda like the hurricane season dates from June 1 to November 30th.

New Mexico starts the monsoon season down south first and migrates north every few days.  June 15th as the starting date here is a more detailed look at start dates:

June 27-July 2 Carlsbad, Clovis, Hobbs, Roswell, T or C, Alamogordo

July 3-July 8 Socorro, Belen, Santa Rosa, Tucumcari, Grants, Glenwood

July 9-14 ABQ, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Gallup

July 15 Farmington, Shiprock, Raton, Clayton

Here are a few things to look out for with the upcoming Monsoon season:

–Fire Weather

–Dry Lightning Storms

–Cloud to Ground Deadly Lightning

–Flash Flooding

–Downbursts of wind

–Dust storms

–Heat Stress

Here are is breakdown of the watches and warnings:

Watches (Severe Thunderstorm, Flash Flood, Tornado for example) mean that widespread severe weather or flash flooding is possible. A watch means that severe weather or flash flooding has not occurred yet, but weather conditions are becoming highly volatile. Pay close attention to the weather, and tune into KOAT, radio, or NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts regularly. Also check out breaking info right here on www.koat.com

Warnings (Severe Thunderstorm, Flash Flood, Tornado, Dust Storm, Excessive Heat) mean that life-threatening weather is about to occur, or has been reported. Take action immediately.

Areal Flood Advisories mean heavy rains will cause minor flooding of washes, streams, and typical flood-prone areas. Flooding in this situation is usually not serious. If the flooding does become life threatening, then the flood advisory is upgraded to a Flood Warning.

Warnings are not issued for lightning, mainly because thunderstorms, no matter how weak, can produce deadly cloud-to-ground lightning. Any time thunderstorms are in the area, lightning is a serious threat. This is supported by the fact lightning is the number one killer in New Mexico, with 84 deaths since 1959.


Hottest Decade Ever !

May 14, 2009 by

The debate over Global Warming is still out there and depending on the data you pour over it’s happening real soon, or maybe this is a warm cycle we typically see every few hundreds of years.

Part of the problem with weather records is the lack of real long term numbers. The temperatures for ABQ only go back to 1893. That is a millisecond in time compared to how long the earth has been around.  Let’s put all that lack of data aside just look at the numbers we have right now.

So far this decade has been the warmest one we have seen since we started keeping records back in 1893. This month will most likely go down as the warmest May ever in ABQ.  It’s followed by 1996, 2000. 2006. The 5 warmest Mays have occurred in the last 13 years.

2009 71.6 ?

1996 71.5

2000 70.4

2006 70.0

1984 69.9

1956 69.6

2004 68.6

Dry Line Storms

May 8, 2009 by

We get them every year and it’s a constant battle between the moist warm air pulled in from the Gulf of Mexico and the hot dry air sliding across the plains of Eastern New Mexico.

The difference between the two air masses is amazing.  You can literally drive through two different worlds in a matter of a few short miles.  It can be very humid and warm in Tucumcari and dry and hot just 5 miles west of there.  The humidity can be 60% in one place and just 3 miles away at 16%.  The temperatures are no different. It can be 80 in one place and 3 miles away 100 degrees. 

The dry line typically run north and south and slides back and forth depending on what weather pattern is in control.  High pressure over Texas can push a muggy, warm day as far west as Santa Rosa to Roswell.  This is where the dry line would set-up if this happened.  This is more likely during the monsoon season of July and August.

Get a hot dry air mass with gusty winds over 40mph and it can push the dry line eastward toward Amarillo and Lubbock.  This typically occurs during May and June.

The dry line becomes the focal point for afternoon thunderstorms and even an isolated tornado. Hail is quite common in these storms so hearing reports of baseball size hail in not all that uncommon. Dry line storms typically flare out in a few hours but can cause flash flooding on the parched land of New Mexico and Texas

90 degree days…off to a hot start !

May 4, 2009 by

If you take a look at the five-day forecast the first 90 degree day of the year comes later this week.  Last year this did not occur until May 19.  Typically in ABQ, we get our first 90 degree day on June 11 and it stays hot after that.


Albuquerque gets about 63 days a year of 90 degrees or higher, but last year was somewhat cooler with 52 days of 90+ and we never hit 100 all summer long.


We are predicting 65 days with 90 degrees 0r more.  This is just above the average of 63 days. We expect a very hot June and early July. The moonsoon season is expected to come a little early and  that will offset a very hot June, but bringing a  cooler July and August.


I do think mid to late June we’ll see a few days at over 100 in ABQ and even hotter in Southern New Mexico. Here is a look at the last few summers:

100 degree days

2009: we are predicting 3 days

2008: none

2007: one day

2006: none

2005: none

2004: none

2003: EIGHT DAYS !!

Batter Up for Wind !

April 23, 2009 by

As we head into the next few days, the wind will become a factor for the first time in about a week. It has been a rare run in April to go more than 2-3 days without a Wind Advisory.  We had an area of high pressure over the region and it just sat for days, allowing for the air to sink into the region and not only bring sunshine but keep New Mexico void of any gusty winds.

As this HIGH pressure or H on the map slides to Texas expect the wind to  increase.  We are also watching an area of LOW pressure to the west and that too will add to the wind flow across New Mexico.

The LOW in The Great Basin in Utah will flow counter clockwise. This will bring a Southwest wind to the region. The High into Texas will also bring a Southwest flow to the area.  Take the combo of the two and its like two spinning wheels on a batting cage. The baseball gets squeezed through and heads into New Mexico like a fastball or winds at 50mph + . We’ll have to watch this weekend if we get a change up or the fastball, I’m going with the fastball for now.

Running and the inversion

April 21, 2009 by

The weather is getting warmer and runners young and old are hitting the pavement more and more. Did you know where you run and when you run can increase the risk of asthma and lung disease ?

The best advice from out KOAT Medical Reporter Dr. Ramo is ” Stay away from highways during your walk/job time.”  These areas are loaded with dangerous emissions from cars.  Also limit your time during the afternoon when ground ozone layers are the highest, esp. in the summer.  Albuquerque is unique to many cities due to its location in a valley. This means air can often get trapped for days and bring poor air quality and high ground ozone to the Rio Grande Central Valley.


Once we get into May inversions can become more common. An inversion occurs in the Albuquerque Area due to three factors: Low Humidity, Clear Skies and being located in a Valley. A temperature inversion is when a layer of warmer air forms between two layers of cool air, preventing the lower layer of cooler air from mixing from the air above it. An inversion traps ground level ozone and other pollutants beneath it, forming haze and smog over ABQ. So before you go out for a run, check my Air Quality forecast every morning at 5:07 and 6:07 or right here on the web site.