Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 212329 AAA
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
429 PM MST Tue Feb 21 2017
00Z TAF CYCLE
Strengthening wly flow at mt top levels next 24 hrs with sfc lee
trough. Increasing amounts of cirrus and potentially some mid level
clouds from west to east ovr NM during this time. Expect lcl sfc wnd
gusts to around 35kt to persist along the east slopes central mt
chain and become more wdsprd ovr the ern plains aft 22/15Z. VFR.
.PREV DISCUSSION...330 PM MST Tue Feb 21 2017...
A ridge of high pressure aloft remains south of New Mexico, and this
has allowed temperatures to rise with just a few high clouds noted.
As a disturbance aloft moves inland off of the Pacific, winds aloft
will begin to strengthen into Wednesday and Thursday. Above normal
temperatures, dry conditions, and the stronger winds will lead to
critical fire weather conditions in eastern New Mexico Wednesday,
expanding into some central areas Thursday. Any precipitation will be
brief and light and generally confined to north central New Mexico
Wednesday and Thursday.
Above normal temperatures are in progress across the forecast area
and some record highs are being broken. Downsloping breezes assisted
this effort, although winds have been fairly light compared to days
past due to the proximity of the ridge aloft and the lighter speeds
aloft. Mild and above average temperatures will be the rule overnight
with increasing mid level winds also keeping some exposed and mid
slope areas mixed and consequently warmer tonight.
Winds aloft will rise to 30 to 60 kt through the 700 to 500 mb layer
on Wednesday as the Pacific trough moves inland. Deep mixing will
yield even warmer temperatures with near record or record highs
projected for most zones of the forecast area, and as the stronger
momentum aloft mixes down to the surface expect breezy to windy
conditions. A wind advisory might be warranted for the northeastern
quadrant of zones. Any precipitation should be fairly light, but
sufficient mid tropospheric saturation and steep lapse rates could
offer some brief, transient sprinkles, virga, or even thunder. Some
light accumulations would be possible in north central mountain
A significant Pacific front will pass across the forecast area
Thursday as the trough skims just north of NM. Winds will be even
stronger aloft with 700mb speeds eclipsing 50 kt in many areas. This
will necessitate wind advisories and perhaps even a high wind
warning for a zone or two. High temperatures will be tricky to
pinpoint due to the dynamic frontal cooling Thursday, but most
central to western zones should stay at or below normal.
Cooler temperatures will continue to filter into NM into Friday and
the stronger winds will persist, albeit with more of a west
northwesterly component. This will make it feel a bit brisk compared
to previous days. A stiff zonal wind component will persist on
Saturday before the next Pacific perturbation makes a run inland into
Sunday. This will spread increasing precipitation chances into north
central, northwestern, and west central NM Sunday into Monday.
Not a lot of changes made to the gridded forecast. Models have been
keeping a consistent message of gustier winds and lower humidity
favoring southern and eastern areas during the next several days. The
models had a hard time with the significant drying found to the lee
of the Sangre de Cristos today so tried to use a model dewpoint and
humidity blend that best showed drying across the south and east.
Updated Fire weather watch to a warning for Thursday and kept the
integrity of the warning for Wednesday.
Wednesday appears to be the most unstable day out of the next 7 with
record to near record high temps and unusually high mixing heights.
There will be some cloud cover which would mute some of the low
level instability but less so across the southeast half. Higher
cirrus across the northeast half but more filtered sunshine. Drier
lightning has been introduced for the NW half of the area...favoring
the mtns Wed afternoon to early evening.
Thursday appears to be the stronger wind day with a very strong mid
level jet bearing down on the area. A classic dry slot will also
develop following the cold frontal passage and lead to rock bottom
dewpoints and lower RH. Single digit humidity shows up across the
eastern plains both Wed/Thur. Mixing heights and haines values lower
on Thursday although mixing heights still appear to be high enough
to promote instability...especially with the ample sun.
Friday represents a post cold frontal scenario with below normal
temps pretty much areawide. Strong wind and low humidity will impact
a large portion of the plains with some single digit RH values
continuing. Unusually dry airmass expected on this day areawide and
continues into Saturday. Locally gusty winds will also continue on
Saturday creating local strong wind and low RH alignments across the
The stronger zonal wind scenario will continue on Sunday with some
moistening across the west...especially northwest where some showers
Models have fluctuated some on the early next week scenario but
either way you slice it...another strong jet max is expected to move
over the area. Another round of critical conditions will be possible
across the south and east on Monday.
Red Flag Warning from noon to 6 PM MST Wednesday for the following
Red Flag Warning from noon to 7 PM MST Thursday for the following