Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feb. 28 -

Today looks more promising for high winds with the NWS forecasts with winds of 21 and 26 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph. Below are the RUC winds at 21 UTC (2 pm) today from the 15UTC model run. Winds have already picked-up this morning with the winds at the Las Cruces airport at 9:55 am at 33 mph from the west with a gust of 40 mph.
The AQI forecast shows moderate air quality over our region.
Dust plumes are showing up in the satellite imagery. Best seen is the dust plume from White Sands. This morning's MODIS image from Terra (image from NASA Lance website) shows the dust plume west of Cd. Juarez and blowing toward the northeast. Sunland Park, Cd. Juarez, and El Paso were directly in this plume.
 PM10 at the Sunland Park City Yard station at 11am was 1746 µg/m3 and PM2.5 at 104 µg/m3 with 11 m/s winds from the WSW.  

At 1pm I can see windblown dust in Las Cruces looking west from my office. The sky is also turning a characteristic milky white during these storms.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Feb. 27 -

We are looking for a windy day along the border with the National Weather Service calling for areas of blowing dust with 21 to 24 mph winds and gusts to 33 mph in the afternoon. Below is the 20km RUC wind prediction at 4 pm today.  Based on this model the highest winds are located over Hidalgo and Grant counties. This could pose problems with driving through I-10 and roads north and south around Lordsburg.
The AQI forecast for the border region is showing good air quality today despite the wind forecast. Areas in Arizona will also suffer from this storm with winds predicted to blow dust through Maricopa and Pinal counties today. The AQI forecast reflects the effects from this storm.
I don't see any precipitation for southern NM in this storm or the rest of the week based on the 4-day QPF map.
As of 2 pm high winds have not materialized yet in Las Cruces but they are increasing. At the Las Cruces airport at 1:55pm winds were 17 mph from the southeast with gusts at 24 mph.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Feb. 23 -

The big story are the warm winds that are forecasted for today. For Las Cruces the NWS is predicting west winds between 26 and 29 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph.The wind forecasted from the RUC model show these winds across all of Luna, southern Grant, parts of Hidalgo, and most of Dona Ana counties. Winds in the plot are in miles per hour.
The AQI shows much of Dona Ana county under moderate air quality today but not for dust but for ozone.
Winds are continuing to increase over the course of the afternoon. At 2:15 the Las Cruces airport measured west winds of 33 mph gusting to 44 mph.  Looking at the NMDOT cameras along I-10 there is not that much wind blown dust west of Deming. The NMED Air Quality Bureau PM10 concentrations are steadily increasing past 100 µg/m3 across the region.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Feb. 20 -

We had a breezy morning but fairly calm afternoon along the border. Winds in Las Cruces peaked around 11 am with westerly winds at 24 mph gusting to 35 mph. Today's forecasted AQI was moderate based on a breezy wind prediction during the morning hours.

A small brush fire started in Anthony this afternoon and was caused by a person burning debris and spread past his area. Based on the news, the fire was out quickly and didn't burn much area.

I noticed a low wind high PM event unfolding at the Sunland Park City Yard tonight. Hourly PM2.5 reached 25 µg/m3 at 9 pm.
High winds brought another dust storm to parts of eastern NM and large areas of west Texas this afternoon. Afternoon satellite imagery showed a large swath of dust coming off of areas

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Feb. 19 -

An active weather pattern enters the area but I see little to no chance for precipitation along the border. Highest winds are forecasted for late Sunday night and mainly limited to areas in Chihuahua and the hills of southern Sierra county. Below is the 03Z RUC wind forecast for 06 Z tonight. There is a good chance for blowing dust in Cd. Juarez tonight with the westerly winds from this forecast.
Tomorrow looks breezy but not enough for a widespread dust day. The NWS looked to back-off from the high winds from last Friday for Monday. 

Below is this morning's observations at few NWS Cooperative weather stations.

                 Yesterday            Today
Station       High(F) Normal    Low(F)  Normal  Record Low Precip
NMSU            61      65       29      33       17 (1964) 0.00"
Antelope Wells  60      67       30      32       18 (2009) 0.00"

The AQI forecast for tomorrow is showing moderate air quality over west Texas, Dona Ana and parts of Luna county. The moderate AQI is attribute to ozone in NM and PM10 in Texas.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Feb. 17 -

Below is this morning's observations at few NWS Cooperative weather stations.

                 Yesterday            Today
Station       High(F) Normal    Low(F)  Normal  Record Low Precip
NMSU            63      64       32      33       14 (1966) 0.04"
Antelope Wells  61      66       37      32       24 (1993) 0.49"
Jornada         59      63       28      26        8 (1966) 0.06"

The AQI forecast indicated good air quality across the borderland today.
Looking at the forecast for the next few days, we might be seeing another high wind event on Monday. The NAM is showing a much stronger wind prediction than the GFS based on a quick look at the 00Z forecast products tonight. The plot below shows surface winds and temperature for Las Cruces from Friday night to early Tuesday morning from the 20km-NAM model run at 00z.
As of Friday night the NWS was predicting the possibility of blowing dust on Monday associated with the high winds. At this point we'll have to see what how strong the winds are going to be with the cold front on Monday. I will revisit this on Saturday with new model runs. I'm also curious as to why the GFS is showing not as much winds.

With the possibility of decent winds on Monday, I will hopefully be installing more BSNE samplers at the dust control demonstration plot. So far we have collected sand samples at one high wind event.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Feb. 16 -

Below is this morning's observations at the NMSU NWS Cooperative weather station.

                 Yesterday            Today
Station       High(F) Normal    Low(F)  Normal  Record Low Precip
NMSU            57      64       30      32       13 (1964) 0.00"
Antelope Wells  62      66       32      32       20 (2007) 0.00"
Jornada         57      62       22      25        4 (1964) 0.00"

So far we have recorded only 0.04 inches of precipitation this month at NMSU. The long term (1981-2010) average for February is 0.42 inches. The AQI forecast for today shows good air quality over the NM border region.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feb. 14 -

The focus is on the winds today. A windy day is in store for the border region today. Below is a prediction of winds at 21 UTC (2 pm MST) this afternoon from the 20km-RUC model. Wind speeds are in miles per hour.
The AQI forecast shows yellow and orange over the Paso del Norte, El Paso and southern Otero counties today due to windblown dust.
We have a BSNE sand collector out at the Las Cruces dust control demonstration plot today.
The winds were creating high PM concentrations across the border region based on a quick look at the NMED stations.  As of 4 pm, hourly PM10 at SPCY station were 532 µg/m3 and PM2.5 36 µg/m3 along with wind gusts of 16.5 m/s and hourly averaged winds of 8 m/s.
Hourly PM10 at the Deming station had measured 1300 µg/m3 with wind gusts at 24.8 m/s (55 mph) at 4pm
 The high winds are compounded by gusts from isolated showers this afternoon. The following images were observed around 5 pm today. The photo is looking west from the NMSU campus.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Feb. 13 -

Two breezy days are in store for the border region.Today's forecast is showing westerly winds with gusts to 31 mph in Las Cruces. Below is a surface wind prediction from the 20km RUC model at 2 pm MST.

The AQI forecast for today is showing green or good over the region.
Winds look to be stronger on Tuesday and I'm expecting some blowing dust on the most erodible areas but not widespread dust.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Feb. 6 -

Low wind event tonight at the SPCY station.

It's been a little while since I've reported to the blog.  The AQI forecast shows good air quality over the border region for Monday. You might keep in mind that the SPCY events are local phenomena and not that representative of the region and typically will not show up in the AQI forecast. Occasionally we do get stagnation events that are predicted by the models with a persistent subsidence inversion over the area.