Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 171745

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1045 AM MST Sat Feb 17 2018

Areas of low clouds and fog has finally dispersed. As the flow aloft
transitions to swly this afternoon, a lee side sfc trough will
develop over northeast NM and result in increasing south winds for
KLVS, where gusts to 25kt will occasionally occur. Mostly clear sky
and light winds west of the central mt chain will lead to the
potential for patchy fog or low clouds again Sunday morning. Favored
areas for fog or LIFR cigs Sunday morning include KGUP, KABQ, and
KSAF. Elsewhere, strong west winds aloft will move over northern NM
tonight and continue into Sunday, likely resulting in strong west
winds from the Sangre de Cristo crest ewd to the northeast highlands
including KRTN.


.PREV DISCUSSION...250 AM MST Sat Feb 17 2018...
Today will be much warmer thanks to plenty of sunshine, with
temperatures rising above normal most areas. The warming trend will
continue into Sunday, with strong downslope winds across the
northeast quarter helping temperatures to rise well above normal.
Monday will be a very windy day ahead of an approaching cold front.
Precipitation chances will be on the uptrend Sunday night through
Monday in advance of the cold front, focusing over the western and
northern high terrain. In particular, the northwest mountains may
receive significant snowfall Sunday night through Tuesday. Much
colder conditions will follow Tuesday into Wednesday, with below
normal temperatures forecast. Look for a warm up toward the end of
next week, especially across the eastern plains thanks to breezy
downslope winds.


Clearing will continue east across the state as cirrus moves off
into Texas, with much drier air moving in behind it. However,
moisture trapped in the lower boundary layer where recent
precipitation has saturated soils will present a near-ideal setup for
low stratus/fog. Visibility has already dropped down to near one
quarter mile in fog at the Belen and Ruidoso AWOSs, with more
development/reductions anticipated over the the next several hours.
Will be monitoring closely for a potential dense fog advisory.
Otherwise, a warming trend will begin today with abundant sunshine
helping temperatures to rise above normal most areas. The warming
will continue Sunday, especially across the east central and
northeast plains where strong downslope winds will help temperatures
to rise well above normal. A wind advisory will likely be required
for portions of northeast/east-central New Mexico on Sunday. A Fire
Weather Watch is in place for Sunday across the northeast (see Fire
Weather discussion below for details).

Widespread strong winds are forecast to develop Monday in advance of
a potent cold front, forecast to push through Tuesday. Wind
Advisories and perhaps a few High Wind Warnings will likely be
required on Monday. Precipitation chances will ramp up Sunday night
into Monday as Pacific moisture interacts with a very cold northern
stream trough dropping out of the Pacific NW toward New Mexico and
the southern Rockies. Precipitation will favor the western and
northern high terrain, with significant snowfall possible in and near
the northwest mountains near Chama. A Winter Storm Watch will be
issued shortly, with potential for over one foot of snow over the
Tusas Mountains between Sunday night and Tuesday morning. A strong
baroclinic zone will transition east across western New Mexico Monday
night into Tuesday morning and may bring a round of snow to the
Albuquerque and Santa Fe Metro areas early Tuesday morning. Much
colder air will invade behind the cold front Tuesday, with below
normal temperatures forecast going into Wednesday. 700mb temperatures
are forecast to drop to between -11 and -12C on Tuesday over KABQ.

Look for a warm up late next week, with breezy downslope conditions
bringing temperatures back above normal across the eastern plains.
Some significant differences show up in the 00Z medium range model
solutions by late next week, so forecast confidence is relatively low
beyond Wednesday.



Dry westerly flow will eventually scour out the low level moisture
currently in place across much of the forecast area late this
morning as a lee surface trough develops over northeast NM. Lee
trough/low strengthens Sunday, resulting in strong southwest winds
and the likelihood of critical fire weather conditons for the
northeast plains Sunday afternoon. Issued a fire weather watch as a
result of the strong wind, relative humidity forecasts near 15% and
an unstable airmass. Relatively moist southwest flow aloft is
expected west of the central mountain chain with a few rain and high
elevation snow showers expected across the northwest half of the

Winds increase further Monday with widespread strong southwest winds
expected across much of NM. Relative humidity levels, however, are
forecast to remain above 20%. ECWMF remains  the most consistent
model from run to run and is favored. The associated strong cold
front is forecast to push to the AZ/NM border around sunset Monday.
Much colder air will push into the state Monday night and Tuesday,
along with areas of snow across the northwest half. Heavy snow is a
possibility for the western an northern mountains Sunday night
through Tuesday. Dry and cold conditions remain on track for
Wednesday with another system possible for Thursday. Active weather
pattern continues through next weekend.



Fire Weather Watch Sunday afternoon for the following zones...

Winter Storm Watch from Sunday evening through late Monday night
for the following zones... NMZ510.


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