Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 302347
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
547 PM MDT Thu Mar 30 2017
00Z TAF CYCLE
VFR conditions expected to persist at all TAF sites through the next
24 hours. Primary aviation concerns will be strong and gusty winds.
Winds aloft will spike up overnight across southwestern and south
central New Mexico, then spread into eastern portions of the state
into the daytime Friday. Gust potential early Friday morning through
the day will increase to 40 kt and perhaps 50 kt, especially near
KSRR. Showers will develop over northwest and north central New
Mexico Friday, with occasional MVFR conditions and northern mountain
obscurations possible. 40
.PREV DISCUSSION...331 PM MDT Thu Mar 30 2017...
An upper level low pressure system and Pacific cold front will bring
showers, thunderstorms and mountain snow showers to much of northern
and central New Mexico as it crosses from the west Friday through
Saturday night. Accumulating precip will favor locations near the
Colorado border, and especially the northern mountains where a few to
several inches of snow accumulation will be possible. Strong
southwest winds will also develop, starting in the southern mountains
tonight and spreading northeastward across much of the eastern
plains on Friday. A transient ridge of high pressure will bring drier
weather and rebounding temperatures Sunday. Another storm system
will then pass mainly north of New Mexico bringing a return of breezy
to windy conditions late Monday and especially Tuesday. Temperatures
will also plummet with a cold front early Tuesday.
Rain and snow showers should begin as early as tonight across far
northwest areas as the upper level low pressure system starts
shifting toward the Four Corners from the Great Basin. the upper low
will steer the nose of a strong polar jet streak over southwest and
south central NM tonight, where winds will strengthen as night
progresses. Gusts to 50 mph will be common, except near 60 mph in
the south central mountains toward sunrise. Will upgrade the ongoing
High Wind Watch to a High Wind Warning there with this forecast
package. Will also hoist a wind advisory for the southwest mountains
starting tonight, and for much of the eastern plains on Friday.
The upper low is forecast to weaken and fill as it meanders slowly
toward central NM Friday night and Saturday. This will favor northern
areas for precipitation. Most of the snow in the northern mountains
should fall Friday night through Saturday night. Amounts could peak
around 10 inches across the highest terrain. There could also be a
few strong to severe thunderstorms across the northeast plains
Friday. When the low moves overhead Saturday, the strong winds aloft
will shift south and east of NM, allowing surface winds to weaken as
well. GFS and ECMWF are at odds on whether the system will exit to
the northeast or southeast Saturday night.
...CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER EXPECTED ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE MIDDLE RIO
GRANDE VALLEY AND EAST CENTRAL PLAINS OF NEW MEXICO FRIDAY...
Some mid to high clouds have been streaming into NM today,
accompanying a weak ridge of high pressure. Temperatures have spiked
up a few to several degrees, and breezy to windy conditions have
taken shape amidst the deep and efficient boundary layer mixing. The
highest winds are currently over the western highlands, and some
localized critical fire weather conditions are in progress now.
These will subside around sunset as surface/20ft wind speeds
decrease some and humidity rebounds, albeit modest humidity
recoveries are expected through Friday morning in most central zones.
Overnight, a low pressure system will track southeast toward the
Four Corners with a stout jet rounding the feature and feeding
stronger winds aloft into NM. As such, ridge top winds will increase
in the west central highlands after midnight, but the stronger and
more widespread gusty winds will take shape Friday, as the pattern
quickly becomes more unsettled. A pronounced dry slot aloft is still
expected to move near and ahead of the jet overnight and into the
early morning, however forecast models are insistent that the mid
level moisture will gradually work east southeastward into NM
through the afternoon, moderating humidity in some northern zones.
Nonetheless, very deep mixing heights are progged for Friday, and
even though temperatures will be cooling some from west to east, the
efficient and deep boundary layer mixing will yield strong winds and
low humidity, primarily focused over the middle Rio Grande valley
and the east central plains of NM, continuing to expand south of our
forecast area. Humidity appears a bit to high to upgrade the watch
for the northeastern plains, but FWZ 106 and 108 will be upgraded,
even with the dire consideration of recent rainfall in the eastern
plains. Land Info Systems satellite analysis of soil moisture
already shows a hasty drying of soils in the 0-10cm sub-surface
layer in east central NM, and feel that 1 hour fuels are going to be
close to curing again by mid day Friday. Not to be forgotten,
precipitation will begin to spread into northwest and north central
NM Friday with high elevation snow.
Precipitation will expand a bit more into western, central, and
remaining northern zones of NM into Saturday and early Sunday as the
upper low sluggishly propagates across central NM, a track a bit
farther south than previously forecast. This will keep high
temperatures below normal through the weekend while winds shift in
direction. The highest winds speeds through the weekend period will
be concentrated over northeastern to east central New Mexico where a
cold front will plunge in, but the cooler temperatures and higher
humidity should preclude any critical conditions through the
weekend. Precipitation will favor the western and northern zones,
but will be primarily focused along and near the CO-NM border where
a few to several inches of high elevation snow can be expected.
Breezy to windy conditions return into Monday and Tuesday of next
week as the pattern remains perturbed and active. Forecast models
continue to resolve the next low on a track north of the CO-NM
border, giving NM more wind than precipitation. This will keep
potential for critical fire weather in the forecast, especially on
Monday, possibly being aided by cooler temperatures on Tuesday.
Red Flag Warning from noon to 7 PM MDT Friday for the following
Wind Advisory from noon to 7 PM MDT Friday for the following
Wind Advisory from midnight tonight to 7 PM MDT Friday for the
following zones... NMZ508.
Wind Advisory until 8 PM MDT this evening for the following zones...
High Wind Warning from midnight tonight to 7 PM MDT Friday for the
following zones... NMZ526-540.