Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 232331 AAA
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
531 PM MDT Sun Apr 23 2017
00Z TAF CYCLE
VFR conditions will prevail across northern and central New Mexico
over the next 24 hours. Just some high cirrus clouds are expected.
Breezy to windy early this evening with winds gradually subsiding
through the night. But winds will increase quickly on Monday with
strong west winds gusting to 35 kt or higher at all TAF sites by
.PREV DISCUSSION...330 PM MDT Sun Apr 23 2017...
...STRONG WINDS WITH FIRE WEATHER CONCERNS MONDAY AND TUESDAY...
A broad upper level trough crossing the northern and central Rockies
will steer the jet stream over New Mexico inducing breezy to windy
conditions Monday, and even stronger winds Tuesday. Widespread fire
weather concerns are expected both days as wind gusts reach the 40 to
50 mph range. After a day of above normal temperatures Monday, highs
will fall to near and below normal Tuesday with a cold front crossing
from the northwest. The storm system will trigger showers and
thunderstorms across northern areas Tuesday, then rain and mountain
snow showers from the Sangre de Cristos eastward Tuesday night.
Another upper level trough will carve into the central Rockies
through mid week, followed by an upper level trough that will
approach New Mexico toward the end of the week. This will keep wind
and precipitation in the forecast for some areas.
Although most of the precipitation is forecast to favor northern
areas Tuesday, recent model runs indicate spottier showers and storms
will also be possible as far south as the south central and southwest
Winds will let up some on Wednesday while shifting out of the
northwest and remaining breezy as the upper level trough shifts east
of the Rockies. Models depict the upper trough deepening over the
Texas Panhandle as the system ejects. This will help drop a gusty
back door cold front southward through the eastern plains.
A negatively tilted trough is progged to carve into the central
Rockies ahead of the aforementioned low pressure system during the
mid to latter half of the week. Precipitation looks to favor
northern areas Thursday before spreading farther south Friday and
Saturday. Freezing temperatures are expected across much of the
north and west Friday night and especially Saturday night of the
coming weekend. This will probably allow for some lower elevation
snowfall, with a healthy accumulation possible in the mountains.
Another round of strong winds will also be possible Thursday, and
across southern areas Friday.
...CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER TO CONTINUE THROUGH EARLY THIS EVENING OVER
NORTHWESTERN NEW MEXICO...
...A MORE SIGNIFICANT AND WIDESPREAD CRITICAL EVENT WILL UNFOLD
Atmospheric mixing is commencing this afternoon with breezy to windy
conditions taking shape. As the forecast models indicated, the
western third of NM has observed some drying and lowering of
dewpoints with critical RH already being observed in some locations.
Winds are also exceeding critical thresholds at Gallup, and the wind
speeds should continue to increase through the late afternoon,
expanding the critical threat.
Into tonight, winds aloft will begin to veer more westerly rather
than southwesterly, and speeds will increase as a short wave trough
passes over the CO Rockies. This will induce some gusts over peaks
and ridge tops overnight, especially along the Sangre de Cristos. No
precipitation is anticipated with the trough passage tonight, due to
dry conditions and inept upper forcing. Mild overnight temperatures
and only fair RH recoveries are forecast tonight.
Into Monday, the aforementioned short wave trough will speed east
into the plains, but the westerlies aloft will remain rather stout
while a lee side surface cyclone deepens. Winds will consequently
remain strong and gusty over the higher peaks and ridges with the
stronger speeds gradually expanding into most remaining lower
elevation areas by late afternoon. Drier dewpoints will surge in
from the west as a dry slot aloft mixes toward the surface, and
humidity will plummet to less than 10 percent over all zones except
the northern mountains. Thus, widespread critical fire weather is
expected Monday. The higher elevations above 8000-9000 feet, mostly
in the northern zones where snowpack resides, will be the only
Winds will be slow to diminish Monday night, especially over the
higher terrain. This coupled with the warmer than average overnight
temperatures will keep RH from recovering much. Into Tuesday, the
next upstream disturbance aloft will be working into northern NM and
CO. This trough will bring another belt of enhanced mid level flow
into NM, eventually shoving into the southern parts of the state by
late Tuesday afternoon. Still, windy conditions will impact much of
the forecast area, but especially along and south of I-40. While the
winds Tuesday will be of high concern, the good news is that
temperatures will observe a few degrees of cooling and a slug of mid
level moisture will accompany, ultimately keeping RH a bit higher
and mostly above critical thresholds. Haines indices will also be
lowering down to around 3, much lower than today and Monday.
Therefore, at this time confidence is not high enough for any Fire
Weather Watch for Tuesday, but this will warrant close attention
over upcoming shifts. It should also be noted that some
precipitation will develop Tuesday and Tuesday night with a focus
toward the NM-CO border.
A drier, cooler pattern will then prevail on Wednesday as the trough
shifts farther east of NM and northwest flow aloft is left behind.
Breezy to windy conditions will persist with the western and central
zones observing the strongest speeds Wednesday afternoon. While some
marginally critical RH could be observed south of I-40 Wednesday,
the cooler temperatures might be a limiter for widespread critical
conditions, although temperature lapse rates would steepen with
Haines indices rising back to 5 and 6.
Unfortunately the pattern will remain windy into Thursday as zonal
flow aloft strengthens again in response to the next longer wave
feature taking shape. Forecast models have not been terribly
consistent over the past several runs and have often had differing
solutions with one another regarding the track and timing of the
next few perturbations for late this week into the weekend. There is
however, better consensus currently for the Thursday to early next
week time frame with projections of a vast closed low pressure
system crossing NM with increasing precipitation chances.
Red Flag Warning from 10 AM to 9 PM MDT Monday for the following
Wind Advisory from 1 PM to 9 PM MDT Monday for the following
Red Flag Warning until 8 PM MDT this evening for the following