A fast moving upper level trough tracked over Northern New Mexico from late on October 15, 2013 to mid-day October 16, 2013. A back door cold front into the eastern plain resulted in upslope flow along the east slopes of the central high terrain and produced gap winds into the central valleys. Aloft, southwest flow ushered in subtropical moisture enhanced by Tropical Storm Octave as the upper level jet strengthened over New Mexico. A winter weather advisory for snow across the north central mountains was issued by the day shift. Precipitation, with some convection, developed steadily after 00Z on October 16. The RGB nighttime microphysics image below illustrates the wide range of weather across the Albuquerque CWA.
As temperatures cooled in the early evening (with a strong evaporative component) snow developed, favoring both the southwest and eastern slopes of north central New Mexico and south central Colorado, as shown in the area of thick, high clouds (dark red – highlighted by the white oval). In the eastern plains, the height of the cloud deck can be differentiated by the color – in northeast New Mexico (blue arrow) green agrees well with OVC018 reported at Clayton while in the east central plains (red arrow) oranges correspond with higher ceilings of 5000 to 7000 feet. To the south (yellow circle) an area of purple corresponds with heavy fog with rain and 200 foot ceiling at Guadalupe. Much of western New Mexico remains clear with a mid level cloud deck in the northwest corner of the state.
A reflectivity mosaic for the same time as the nighttime microphysics above illustrates some of the limitations of radar imagery for New Mexico including a lack of coverage with many locations only covered by a fairly high beam due to distance from the radar as well as beam blockage.
The winter weather advisory verified well, as shown in the RGB Snow Cloud imagery above from 20Z on October 16, 2013. Snow accumulations of 2 to 10 inches were reported across the Jemez, San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico.