GOES Low Cloud and Fog Products Improve Short-Term Prediction

A back door cold front surged southwest across the eastern plains of New Mexico late on March 4, 2011.  Despite very limited surface moisture across the area, weak upslope flow along the east slopes of the Sandia and Manzano Mountains aided the development of VLIFR low clouds and freezing fog over the surrounding highlands and Estancia Valley March 5, 2011.  The GOES low cloud base and combined fog imagery improved short-term awareness of dense freezing fog within this area and allowed forecasters to provide detailed information within NOWCASTs regarding placement of hazardous freezing fog.  Note the mention of specific areas affected by the fog.  Surrounding webcams from the nmroads.com webpage provided further assurance of freezing fog. This area of fog came very close to the Santa Fe TAF site around sunrise but the TAF was not amended.  Low clouds and fog were not reported at Santa Fe.  Click to open the images for improved resolution.

Low cloud base loop left. Combined fog loop right. Note development of dense fog over the central highlands.

NMDOT cams. Left Vaughn. Center Santa Fe. Right Clines Corners.

NOWCAST issued at 7 am. This was an update to previous NOWs issued starting at 2 am.

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