Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 152342 AAA

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
442 PM MST Fri Dec 15 2017


Clear skies across New Mexico will gradually give way to high clouds
in the western parts of the state by Saturday morning, but VFR
conditions will prevail. Light breezes are currently prevailing, but
stiff northerly drainage winds will develop at KSAF prior to dawn
Saturday, persisting through noon. Breezy to windy conditions will
then expand over portions of the east central to northeastern plains
of New Mexico into Saturday afternoon.



.PREV DISCUSSION...250 PM MST Fri Dec 15 2017...
Another cold night is in store for central and western New Mexico
under clear skies and light winds. Thick high clouds will approach
from the west Saturday. A low pressure system approaching from the
Pacific northwest will attempt to move across New Mexico Sunday. The
chances for rain and snow will be greatest across the southern half
of New Mexico Sunday and Sunday night. The highest snowfall amounts
are most likely over the high terrain of Lincoln and Catron counties
where 2 to 5 inches are possible. Temperatures will rebound above
normal Monday through Thursday before a potential return to cold
weather arrives next Friday.


The latest model guidance continues to struggle with how jet energy
currently over the Gulf of Alaska evolves over the southwest CONUS
Sunday. This forecast package leaned heavily on modest agreement
between the GFS/ECMWF ensembles and operational runs, with support
from the 15Z SREF. As a result, have trended the focus for rain and
snow mainly south of the I-40 corridor Sunday and Sunday night. WPC
QPF and snowfall amounts also trended lower for this period, which
advertises amounts in the 2-5" range in the high terrain of Catron
and Lincoln counties. It is important to note that confidence remains
low and just about anyone still has some potential to see light rain
and/or snow Sunday. Will issue an SPS to highlight this next system
since it may bring the most widespread snowfall yet this season.

Northwest flow behind this system Monday will transition slowly to
zonal flow through Thursday. This will allow a surface lee trough to
deepen across eastern NM with temps warming above normal. Overnight
temps will still remain cold over central and western NM with strong

Extended ensemble guidance is still hinting that a return to cold
weather may arrive by next Friday with highly amplified flow over
the western CONUS. This flow pattern will attempt to carve out a
deep upper low over the southwest U.S. with a rather impressive
precipitation shield noted over NM next weekend.



Lee side trough across eastern NM will keep southwest breezes going
overnight. Elsewhere tonight, light winds will prevail with high
clouds increasing from the northwest. Lee side trough/sfc low
strengthens Saturday and southwest winds increase across the eastern
plains as a result. Short-lived marginal critical conditions develop
near I-40 from Santa Rosa to Tucumcari Saturday afternoon.

All eyes then turn to a high amplitude upper level trough dropping
southward through the western Great Basin Saturday night and Sunday.
Models continue to struggle with just how far south this feature
will end up. Latest runs suggesting the trough bottoms out near
Yuma, AZ around 06Z Sunday. Best shot at wetting rain and mountain
snow is south of I-40 Sunday/Sunday night and possibly into Monday.

Drier and warmer weather returns Tuesday and Wednesday. Models agree
that a deep upper low will follow a similar path late next week.
This system is forecast to be a slow mover and has the potential to
become a major winter storm late next week into next weekend.





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