Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 240541 AAB
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1041 PM MST Thu Feb 23 2017
06Z TAF CYCLE
Sfc high pressure sagging into nern NM and current mvfr cigs
associated with this colder airmass over ern CO and sw KS may reach
the area from KRTN to KCAO or KTCC by 24/10Z but short term models
not showing this to penetrate much farther south or west into NM and
any resulting low clouds may not persist for very long. Otherwise,
sct-bkn mid level clouds to linger over nw and north central NM thru
15Z or thereafter. Expect nw winds to strengthen again aft 24/15Z
especially over central and ern NM with gusts to around 35 to 40 kt.
.PREV DISCUSSION...337 PM MST Thu Feb 23 2017...
Strengthening winds aloft are mixing down to the surface with breezy
to windy conditions expected to persist until sunset. Although a
disturbance aloft is passing north of New Mexico, any showers have
been spotty and light, mostly over the northern mountains of the
state. Elsewhere dry conditions has persisted in the eastern tier of
New Mexico and in portions of the Rio Grande valley with critical
fire weather conditions plaguing the area. Mostly dry and windy
conditions are expected into Friday, but temperatures will be a bit
cooler. Winds will change direction on Saturday, turning more
southerly. This will allow temperatures to warm a few degrees before
another disturbance aloft arrives on Sunday, spreading some rain and
mountain snow to north central and northwestern New Mexico.
The stout winds aloft, deep surface low over SE CO/SW KS, and deep
mixing has led to strong to severe surface winds today. Strongest
speeds have been focused over the central mountain chain into the
eastern plains. Precipitation was light and confined to the northern
mountains this morning with little evidence of much going on now.
Otherwise dry conditions are prevailing elsewhere. Winds should
largely subside after sunset, although some gusts will persist over
the ridge tops and peaks, staying below hazardous thresholds.
A lag in cooling will spill into Friday with high temperatures
running below today`s readings. It will feel quite brisk in many
central to east central zones as the mid level jet will stay strong
with 700 mb winds of 30 to 40kt. Any showers will remain few and far
between over the northern high country with no appreciable
By Saturday, zonal flow aloft is projected to keep comparable speeds
while a lee side surface trough is rendered, kicking surface winds
around to more of a south southwesterly direction. This wind
component will aid a gentle warm up with Saturday afternoon
temperatures. Readings will still fall shy of normal in many zones.
The next upstream perturbation will be rounding the CA coast by late
Saturday, but forecast models have now introduced some variance on
the track, speed, and consequential elements with this new
The GFS solution is more progressive with a significantly faster
arrival of precipitation into NM while the European solution carries
the feature further off of the CA coast and delaying its arrival into
Sunday night in a much weaker state. This latter solution seems a bit
more reasonable given the recent storm track, but nonetheless the
pattern remains progressive beyond Sunday. In fact, the models almost
come back into phase with one another by Tuesday when another trough
axis crosses NM. Bouts of strong winds will accompany each
disturbance and the periods between while any precipitation will tend
to stay in the central to western zones, particularly the north
central to northwestern mountains.
An active fire weather pattern will continue into next week. Red
flag warnings remain in effect until 7pm today along and east of the
Middle Rio Grande Valley. A Fire Weather Watch remains in effect for
the east central plains Friday afternoon.
Strong winds and rapidly lowering dewpoints and humidities are the
rule this afternoon behind a Pacific cold front. Temperatures are
certainly cooler than yesterday, but still near to above normal
central and eastern areas. Winds will slowly decrease this evening.
Humidity recoveries will be fair to poor across much of the area,
though good to excellent recoveries are expected across the
northwest quarter of the state.
On Friday, strong west-northwest flow will persist on the backside
of the upper level trough. Winds will quickly ramp up again Friday
morning, though not as strong as today. Occasional gusts between 45
and 50 mph will be possible along and east of the central mountain
chain will be possible however. Humidities will remain low, with a
few hours of single digits possible across the east central plains.
Will keep Fire Weather Watch intact for now. Temperatures remain
below normal in this area, and Haines indices remain low. Thus,
will let the next shift take another look before deciding on
upgrading the watch to a warning. A weak front/wind shift will push
into the plains Friday night, but will do little to the sensible
Temperatures start to rebound on Saturday, and the dry airmass
remains in place. Again, minimum humidities will be below 15 percent
across much of the area. Surface winds veer back around to the
southwest Saturday aftn thanks to a developing surface low across NE
NM. Breezy to windy conditions are expected areawide. Two to 5 hours
of critical fire weather conditions are possible across zones 103
and 104, generally east of I-25. Haines values start to increase to
4 and 5 and temperatures will only be a degree or two below normal.
These zones may warrant a fire weather watch on subsequent shifts.
A trough will cross NM on Sunday, but models are in disagreement
with regards to its strength. The GFS shows the sharpest trough of
any model, though the NAM produces the most precipitation across the
north and northwest. Thus, expect some high elevation snow and low
elevation rain, but likely only spotty wetting precip, across these
areas. Elsewhere, winds will increase yet again. Westerly winds will
be strongest south of I-40. Humidities will increase, but may remain
below 15 percent across portions of the east central plains. Haines
values of 3 are currently projected.
Zonal flow will be the rule on Monday. A few showers will be
possible across the far north and west. Otherwise, breezy to windy
conditions will exist areawide once again. Sub-15 percent humidities
in the east central plains look to be on tap yet again. Another
trough, much larger and broader in scope than the trough on Sunday,
will approach the area on Tuesday. Wetting precip looks increasingly
likely across the northwest half of the state, while another round
of strong winds is on tap for the remainder of the area.
Ventilation will not be a concern through Tuesday given the strong
winds. Ventilation may decrease on Wednesday into the poor or fair
Fire Weather Watch from 10 AM MST Friday through Friday afternoon
for the following zones... NMZ108.