6/12 Observations from ABQ CWA


Have knots abbreviated as “KTS” instead of “KN”

Change direction of movement from to lettered degrees instead of a numerical value

This product does help me become more aware, in realtime of the winds vertically.  However, not entirely sure how to adapt this into my forecasting routine yet.


Great to see the better sampling/readout of the data compared to what it was 2-3 years ago

The parcel count is a great way to help me gauge the validity of the data (confidence in how accurate it is)

Overlaying a NUCAPS forecast field with the parcel count allows me to sample what the field has and what the parcel count is so I can have more of less confidence in the data

No less than six hours for operational needs.  9 hours might be the perfect duration.  I usually don’t use hourly data much beyond 9 hours due to my lack of confidence in the reliability of the data.

Hourly data is very nice.  Half hour spacing is a bit too much data for that duration.
-Something to consider is could there be half hour spacing in the data for the first three hours?  However I don’t know if that would be enough of a benefit to use.

I would use the 700-500mb lapse rates, ML CAPE, temp and dew point, and parcel count most often.


Very easy to look at; very smooth data

Didn’t have much time to look at the data


Noticed on a well defined supercell the lightning probability is not over 80% despite lightning ongoing.  Does the program cap at 75-80%?
-Have GLM ligthning data displayed too

Otherwise this does help draw my eye to where lightning could occur in the near future.

Prob Severe

Didn’t have time to look at it much. Did notice the storm in eastern CWA had higher values for version 3 than for version 2

– Rainman

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HGX Convection impacting the Car and Truck Show in Burton, TX

Initial setup for the HGX vicinity showed several cells to the north and east of the DSS site, propagating southeastward. The strongest cell, pictured below, had a PSv3 of 73%, while PSv2 remained as 56%.

We issued a warning for a northern cell moving into the CWA into Madison county, based on a -70C cloud top brightness temp and PSv3 total prob over 70% (had been climbing from the 50s fairly steadily). But the cloud top shear noted by Octane was not strong (~20-25 kts), so the warning was very borderline. Just a couple scans later, it lost most of its texture on the vis imagery and lost its shear in the Octane direction product. Cloud tops warmed a bit as well.

00H NUCAPS-Forecast (NF) is showing moderate CAPE now (1st image below), which may help explain the messy sub-severe multicell clusters, but the forecast valid at 02z this evening shows a resurgence in the CWA (2nd image below).

Looking to our NW, one of the stronger cells is outside our CWA, but the Octane direction is showing good cloud top diffluence.

The PHS SCP forecast valid at 20z looks to be around 2-4 over our area, although this doesn’t match well with the SPC meso page SCP, which focuses high values W of our CWA.

The 21z PHS MUCAPE (15z run) looks like it has insane values of 6000-7000 J/kg near the coast and just offshore. This is much higher than the SPC meso page, showing 3000-4000 J/kg at most.

Looking at the optimal application of LightningCast, it seems that the point-based meteogram would work best for CI and in situ developing convection, versus storms propagating into the area. In our case here, at the DSS site, the point-based LC probs are low, suggesting little concern. But we can see from the GLM FED data that there are mature cells with lightning just to the NE that will probably move near the site in the next hour, which certainly poses a safety concern.

The NUCAPS sounding near Victoria (far SW CWA) showed a lot of CAPE and DCAPE, but a rather dry profile. This is confirmed by WV imagery over much of far S TX.

22z PHS Composite Reflectivity (above image) compared to 22z MRMS Composite Reflectivity (below image ) depicting PHS struggling on timing as the cluster of thunderstorms propagate from northwest to southeast.

Late in the event, this cell is showing slow strengthening on PS — currently both v3 and v2 have 40% total.

– Edgar and Harvey Specter

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Severe Storms over Central Texas.

Storms over northern Bexar and southern Comal have had hail up to golfball size reported. This is in good agreement with the MESH signature. Additionally, Prob hail for both v3 and v2 are up over 80%, so in good agreement with the algorithm.

Animation of storms with the latest OCTANE. Looks like storm top divergence can be inferred from 70 kt anvil level winds to the south and 30 knot winds to the northwest. Would equate to strong divergence aloft and indicative of a severe storm.

The 08Z Pass of NUCAPS shows a rather impressive PWAT/Moisture gradient this morning, which would likely lead to increased storm chances along the theta gradient over the Hill Country and stretching eastward into the I-35 Corridor. The gradient ranged from 1.25” over the Coastal Plains to .50” over the Edwards Plateau and western EWX CWA.

This ties in nicely with the MLCAPE available this morning.

Storms going up in a weaker shear environment with a rainbow color distribution all around the storm from the OCTANE direction window. Very interesting. You may actually be able to infer the type of storm/environmental conditions just based on OCTANE direction depending on the situation.

– Satellite Steve, StormofCentury , Bolt

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MAF Convection

Convection has been slow to initiate in W TX, but we’re finally seeing some vertical extension and greater texture in the CU field on the NE side of the mountains. LightningCast is now showing higher probabilities in this area, after several scans of sub-50% contours.

We are seeing good destabilization. The PHS MUCAPE compares quite well to the SPC mesoanalysis.

LightningCast probabilities continue to climb, and we’re finally seeing a few flashes on GLM imagery.

Our LightningCast meteograms are finally showing some higher probs in the next hour near our DSS site in Fort Stockton.

We’re now seeing more defined features in the Octane imagery, including cloud top divergence signals and cooler brightness temps, down to -63C. But our ProbSevere markers remain low.

Looking at the NUCAPS-Forecast initialization at 19z, the mid level lapse rates are lower in areas NE of the higher terrain, where convection has been a bit slower to strengthen, as compared to the storms to our SW over Mexico, where MLLRs are higher.

The new TPW imagery from NUCAPS shows well the delineation of the moist air to the E and drier air to the W.

The PHS SHiP pattern looks good, but its magnitudes appear way off, compared to the SPC meso page and how SHiP is calculated.

Hail probs are exceeding 80% now on ProbSevere, although our GLM lightning is rather low! Interesting how assumed large hail presence doesn’t necessarily equate to classic charge separation that would prompt high electrification.

21z 700-500mb comparison of SPC Meso (top) vs 21z NUCAPS-Forecast (bottom)
    – Some differences in lapse rates between the two, with NUCAPS about .5-1°C/km  lower than SPC Meso page. 

ProbSevere, Octane, and IR imagery supports warning issuances for Reeves and Pecos counties.

With the warning now out for Reeves and Jeff Davis counties, this storm continues to exhibit high hail probabilities on PSv3.

Up to 120 kts of ST divergence with the warned cell (at about 50 kft).

Interesting how ProbSevere identifies objects. There appears to be 3 separate updrafts in Pecos county, however PS is seeing one object.

– Edgar and StormofCentury

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Albuquerque HWT

Storms are exhibiting some decent shearing aloft over NW New Mexico when comparing to NE New Mexico. Something I might not have noticed had I not had this product as I don’t always have time to go into the SPC mesoanalysis and check various levels of shear values. The 0-8km shear values are in the 40-50 kt range, in agreement with the range of values noted on the speed shear values of OCTANE. See below.

PHS really doing a nice job of pointing out peak areas of MUCAPE and where storms will likely develop. Decent scale and resolution results in some good quality comparisons with various other products. This is over the southern ABQ CWA.

Forecast Layer Comp Refl 21Z

Forecast MUCAPE 21Z

Forecast MUCAPE 23Z – Also, noting a sharp gradient in MUCAPE values as convection strengthens over east-central New Mexico late this afternoon into the early evening hours. We will have to see how this plays out.

MUCAPE values seem a bit higher than they should be when compared with the MLCAPE values at the same times over New Mexico. I’m not exactly sure why the values are so high, but the forecast RAP values for the same time frame appear to be notably more displaced to the east and lower.

Example below from forecasted time 02Z.

The 6 hour forecast at 21z of PHS 0-6 km Bulk Shear (first image) is compared against the 21z SPC Mesoanalysis (second image). Overall, the PHS forecast did quite well over New Mexico. There is generally little to no shear across the state except for near the Four Corners in the northwest and far southeastern New Mexico. The values are reasonable in these areas as well, around 16 m/s for PHS which fits in with the over 30 knot SPC values.These differences can be noted in the convection occurring as well (seen in the SPC image). Mainly isolated cellular over central NM, but showing more organization in the areas of higher shear.

-Satellite Steve and Burton Guster


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Monitoring South FL Convection for the Miami Open

We’re closely monitoring for CI near the Miami Open Tennis Tournament (location noted by the Home marker). Thus far this afternoon, the deepest convection has been in the west, NE of Naples, where the Band 13 imagery shows high cloud tops with cool brightness temps (-66C), and Octane imagery shows a good divergent signal.

So far, LightningCast has focused on the convection in the western peninsula, with the maximum slowly translating inland and to the N along the inland-tracking sea breeze.

This is further confirmed by the lightning meteogram for the DSS site. Looks like they can keep playing tennis for a little bit longer!

Looking at the storm clusters back west, a NUCAPS sounding near that cell shows plenty of CAPE.

The NUCAPS-Forecast MUCAPE confirms the high CAPE invof the storms.

Let’s see what the forecast shows for our DSS event. By 02z this evening, it shows increasing CAPE invof the DSS event. They are not out of the woods yet!

However, ProbSvr3 and LightningCast continue to provide a general idea that the strongest cell remains north and west of the Miami Open, limiting any impacts during the event.

Looking at the PHS imagery, it shows continued moderate CAPE extending into SW FL invof the ongoing convection, with much lower CAPE near our DSS event.

And the projections for 00z this evening show CAPE lowering further.

20z PHS Composite Reflectivity compared to MRMS Composite Reflectivity persistently highlights a lot of noise. Understanding from a forecaster’s perspective, this can be mentally filtered out, but at the same time, remains to be a distraction from the overall product’s use.

The warned cell over Glades county weakened and merged with other convection, and accordingly, the LightningCast probs declined. But we’re seeing new vigorous convection to the WSW just north of Bonita Springs.

One interesting note. There are new cells developing in far SW FL with lightning noted on GLM, however the cirrus canopy there is too thick to allow LightningCast to detect this convection.

– Edgar and Harvey Specter

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NUCAPS Low Level Lapse Rates Compared to RAP in Convection

The 19Z NUCAPS sounding pass went over Florida as convection was ongoing across much of the state. The 850mb to 700mb lapse rate product picked up on some of the convective overturning in southern Florida where lapse rates were far less steep than other portions of the state (indicative of cooler low levels), as well as where low level lapse rates were a bit lower over the western coast. This lines up well with where the RAP was showing lower surface to 3 km lapse rates. Though these two levels are not completely analogous , they represent similar processes post-convection. However, the NUCAPS pass is also picking up on lower 850-700mb lapse rates over Georgia and South Carolina which doesn’t match with the lower lapse rate product from the RAP, but these areas were also not experiencing convection so the reason for this could be due to other factors.


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PHS and GLM Data for Tampa Florida this Afternoon and Evening

General Risk for Thunderstorms in Florida this Afternoon and Evening

The Tampa CWA is in a general risk for thunderstorms this afternoon and evening per the SPC.

The main potential impacts are frequent lightning, heavy rainfall, and gusty winds thanks to decent amounts of SBCAPE.  Localized flooding  also remains possible, especially in urban areas,  due to slow storm motion as PHS shows no 0-6 km Bulk Shear over Florida. This matches well with the latest SPC Mesoanalysis which also shows no 0-6 km Bulk Shear shear over the region.

NUCAPS showing SBCAPE values at 21Z. Values are highest across the central and southern portions of the Tampa CWA. Areas in green had values around 1600-1700 J/kg. Areas in teal show values ranging from 800-1400 J/kg. Areas in purple range from 200-300 J/kg.  PHS shows a similar trend to NUCAPs with higher areas of SBCAPE across the central and southern CWA with lower values across the northern half of the CWA. However, the color scale on the online version of PHS is difficult to interpret as the gradient ramps up from light red to dark red. So, you cannot really pinpoint specific values of SBCAPE. However, you are able to see areas of lower SBCAPE and areas of higher SBCAPE at a glance. 

ProbSevere version 3 increases our confidence that storms will remain generally sub-severe as ProbSevere values are below 10% across the Tampa CWA as of 1930Z.The Octane Speed Sandwich product further confirms that storms are remaining below severe limits as the strongest storms are noted over southeastern Florida this afternoon as of 1930Z. Not only do these products help us pinpoint areas of potential severe weather, but they also help us pinpoint areas of sub-severe weather.  GLM shows lightning activity increasing across the Tampa CWA early this afternoon, and activity is expected to gradually increase in coverage as more thunderstorms develop through the late afternoon and early evening hours.  Lightning Cast around 1930Z shows lightning probabilities increasing across the Tampa CWA over the next hour. Pink contours represent a 75% chance of lightning in the next hour. Green represents a 50% chance, teal a 20% chance, and dark blue a10% chance of lightning in the next hour. GLM showing lightning activity increasing across Florida from 1930Z through 2016Z across the Tampa CWA. Areas showing more oranges and yellows have shorter flashes and more lightning density. These areas help us know where stronger updrafts are located. The strongest updrafts at the time of this loop remain outside of the Tampa CWA.  -Dwight Schrute

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Differences in low level moisture between NUCAPS and guidance

The NUCAPS sounding pass showed greater MLCAPE than the RAP sounding shown as well as the RAP output on the SPC Mesoscale analysis. A difference may be how the RAP is mixing out low level moisture, as it has a lower mean mixing ratio (8.4 g/kg) than both the NUCAPS pass and the NAM forecast sounding at the same point (10.1 g/kg and 10.4 g/kg respectively). The NAM is known to have an undermixing bias but may be closer to reality in situations like this where the surface isn’t quite so hot and dry, giving more confidence to the NUCAPS instability.  Convection this afternoon is building into this area of instability, which makes the analysis important as it could play an impact on the magnitude of severe hazards.


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NUCAPS Forecast

NUCAPS Forecast SBCAPE from 21Z through 01Z shows that the best instability will be across the central and eastern half of the CWA, while gradually shifting east through time. Storms seemed to match this well as they strengthened as they pushed farther east into the CWA.

-Dwight Schrute

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