Windy Conditions Across the Land of Enchantment! Photo Credit: (NWS, tropicaltidbits, Nations Online Project)
A typical setup for strong westerly winds will develop across much of New Mexico (otherwise known as the Land of Enchantment) particularly for this Sunday. Strong westerly flow aloft is currently anchored over much of the Desert Southwest into portions of the central Rocky Mountains. This typically generates a lee side surface cyclone. Depending on how deep the surface cyclone is, breezy conditions can develop. Sunday will be particularly susceptible to windy conditions as an upper level trough swings through the Desert Southwest region and into northern NM. This shortwave will intensify the surface low pressure and increase the winds above the surface. During the daytime hours, when surface heating begins and the boundary layer becomes well mixed, these stronger winds from aloft will mix down to the surface resulting in the aforementioned windy conditions on Sunday.
Image above: 500mb heights from the GFS model. Circled in black is the trough that will enhance windy condition on Sunday.
There are locations in southern New Mexico that are more susceptible to stronger winds in this type of setup. These include mountain ranges and more specifically on the eastern slopes of these mountain ranges.
Image: Map showing terrain features across New Mexico. Notice the Black Range and Sacramento Mountains labeled. These are typical high wind locations in southern NM, in addition to locations around the San Andres Mountains as well.
The Black Range and Sacramento Mountains in southern NM average about 8-9K feet in elevation with some peaks reaching around 10K ft. With a strong westerly wind, the mountains are higher in elevation and therefore will have higher winds. The east slopes of these mountains are susceptible to down-slope winds further enhancing these wind speeds. As a result, the NWS in Santa Teresa/El Paso and Albuquerque have issued a high-end wind advisory for these mountain ranges, the east slopes, and surrounding terrain. In addition, there is a lower end (meaning lower wind values) wind advisory for the rest of southern NM.
To learn more about impactful wind events across North America, click here!
©2019 Meteorologist Joe DeLizio