Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 231807 AAC

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1207 PM MDT Thu Mar 23 2017

An upper level low pressure system will reach the Four Corners this
afternoon, pass eastward along the CO/NM border tonight, then deepen
remarkably in the lee of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains early Friday.
A Pacific cold front will also cross from the west today, before a
strong back door cold front plunges southward through the eastern
plains on Friday morning. Scattered to numerous rain and mountain
snow showers along and west of the central mountain chain today will
spread eastward along the CO/NM border tonight with mountain
obscurations, then favor the northern mountains eastward on Friday.
There will also be isolated thunderstorms today along and west of the
central mountain chain. Wind gusts from 35 to 55 kt are expected in
many places today and Friday, except for gusts to 60 kt possible over
northeast areas behind the cold front on Friday. Blowing dust will
probably create areas of MVFR and IFR conditions across the eastern
plains this afternoon and Friday. Further, a few inches of snow is
expected in the northern mountains tonight into Friday, except for
several inches near the CO border.



.PREV DISCUSSION...1109 AM MDT Thu Mar 23 2017...
Raised temperatures across central and eastern zones for this
afternoon. Strong cold front a little slower than anticipated.
Could be damaging wind gusts in the stronger showers and isolated
thunderstorms developing just ahead of the cold front this
afternoon. CHJ


.PREV DISCUSSION...327 AM MDT Thu Mar 23 2017...
Big weather changes such as windier, cooler, and possible wetter
condtions will follow as a series of incoming storm systems
impact New Mexico. The first storm system will impact the state
today through Friday with strong winds central and east followed by
precipitation favoring northern and western areas. The northern
mountains will be favored for snow showers tonight. The second storm
will clip the northern tier producing some snow showers across the
northern mountains Saturday night into Sunday. The third more
potent, long living system will impact the state Tuesday through
Thursday of next week.


The first incoming storm system will deepen this morning as it dives
across the Great Basin, crossing NM this aftn before exiting
tonight. Strong to damaging winds will develop this aftn across
central and eastern areas where several wind and fire weather
highlights have been issued through Friday (see fire weather
discussion below).

Meanwhile, precipitation will develop north and
west today as the storm bears down on the state...with snow showers
favoring the higher terrain/mountainous areas north and
west....moreso the northern mtns tonight into early Fri. Some
isolated thunderstorms could develop this aftn along and west of the
centrl mtn chain and the extreme far SE Plains. As the system passes
across the state before exiting tonight, look for temps to plummet at
least 20-30 degrees today and Friday.

Sat will see a brief break in unsettled weather as an upper level
ridge builds over the area allowing temps to rebound 10-20 degrees.
The second storm system will clip the northern half of the state Sat
night into Sunday...with some precipitation favoring northern areas
followed by breezes central and east. The third more potent storm
system looks to be long lasting with widespread impacts across the
state Tues through Thursday. It is possible that this system could
produce widespread rain/snow showers along and north of the I-40
corridor. By the time the system exits out, another one will follow
giving NM another persistent round of unsettled weather through the
end of the week.


Weather conditions will deteriorate today as an upper level trough
races toward New Mexico. A cold front will approach from the west
with showers and thunderstorms taking shape in central, north
central, and west central portions of NM this afternoon. However,
ahead of the frontal boundary, warm and well above average
temperatures will prevail in the eastern plains of NM with a
pronounced dry slot aloft moving overhead. In addition, a belt of
very strong winds aloft will work into this area and mix down to the
surface. This will exacerbate the warm, dry and critical to severe
nature of this event. There is some uncertainty on the extent of how
dry the atmosphere will get over the eastern plains, especially
since very high surface dewpoints are currently in place. Yet, with
gusts of 60 to 65 mph and the above normal temperatures and
sufficient fuel loading, a Red Flag warning seems prudent for
eastern NM zones today.

The cold front will sweep into eastern NM tonight into Friday,
finally dropping temperatures back below normal, and ultimately
raising humidity. Temperatures will turn cold enough for some of the
lingering showers to also change over to snow before they exit,
mainly in the northern mountains and toward the Raton Pass. While
humidity will raise and temperatures will be cooler in eastern NM on
Friday, the winds behind the cold front will be brutal with gusts of
60 and perhaps 70 mph possible along the eastern tier of NM into
west TX. Winds will also stay strong farther west to the central
zones of NM, albeit not nearly as severe as in the eastern plains.
The temperatures cool some in the Rio Grande valley, but conditions
will remain quite dry in addition to the strong winds, and thus a
Fire Weather Watch will be hoisted for FWZ106 with this forecast

A welcome, albeit brief, respite from the strong winds will arrive
on Saturday as a short wave ridge aloft traverses NM. Temperatures
will rebound back above normal by 5 to 10 degrees across the
forecast area, and good to excellent smoke ventilation is expected
amidst the rising mixing heights.

The next Pacific disturbance will be a fast-moving system, crossing
NM Saturday night with winds aloft spiking again and another shot of
cooler temperatures and precipitation. The drop in temperatures and
the attendant precipitation will not be as substantial as
today/tonight`s system. Winds and humidity could briefly kiss
critical thresholds in some east central zones Sunday afternoon.

The repetitive cycle will continue into next week as another short
wave ridge builds in early Monday, only to be followed by another
disturbance during the middle of next week. This trough would have
better potential to dig slightly farther south and be a bit
deeper/stronger, potentially yielding more precipitation.


High Wind Warning until 9 PM MDT this evening for the following
zones... NMZ521-523-526>529-531>540.

Red Flag Warning until 7 PM MDT this evening for the following
zones... NMZ103-104-108.

Wind Advisory until 9 PM MDT this evening for the following zones...

High Wind Watch from Friday morning through Friday evening for the
following zones... NMZ527-530-531-534-535.

Fire Weather Watch from Friday afternoon through Friday evening for
the following zones... NMZ106.


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