Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 201441 AAB
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
741 AM MST Mon Feb 20 2017
Went ahead and updated fire weather highlights to include a watch for
Wed/Thu. Despite the lower Haines values...atmosphere will be
unstable due to the warmer than normal temps...unusually high mixing
heights and plenty of daytime sunshine...especially on Thursday.
Winds on Thursday will be ripping and the fine grass fuels are
dormant and dry...especially across the eastern plains where recent
moisture was negligible.
.PREV DISCUSSION...439 AM MST Mon Feb 20 2017...
12Z TAF CYCLE
VFR conditions expected at all terminals through the next 24 hours,
except for MVFR CIGS/VSBYS at KGUP, and maybe at KFMN, through 15Z
this morning. Gusts of 20 to 25 kt this afternoon at KLVS, KCQC, KTCC
.PREV DISCUSSION...328 AM MST Mon Feb 20 2017...
A ridge of high pressure will build over New Mexico from the west
today allowing high temperatures to rebound around 5 to 10 degrees
above Sunday`s readings. The warming trend will continue through
Wednesday most places with record high temperatures likely Tuesday
and possibly Wednesday across east central and northeast areas. A
spring-like pattern will develop during the latter half of the week
as an upper level trough passes north of the state steering the jet
stream overhead. Surface winds will become gusty, especially Thursday
when wind gusts in the 40 to 55 mph range will be common and there
will be fire weather concerns across the east. A deeper upper level
trough will cross New Mexico from the west this weekend with a chance
for showers and more wind.
It will be a cloudy start this morning in many locations west of the
central mountain chain due to some moisture trapped in the low
levels in the wake of an exiting upper level trough. Patchy fog is
also expected mainly where new snow is on the ground. With the warmer
temperatures this low level moisture should evaporate as morning
The upper level trough during the latter half of the week will bring
a chance for showers to the northern mountains and northwest areas
Wednesday night and Thursday. There could be some precipitation
accumulation near the Colorado border, but the main concern will be
winds and fire weather Thursday afternoon. A Pacific cold front will
also cross on Thursday, dropping high temperatures around 7 to 17
degrees below Wednesdays warm readings.
The cooling trend will continue through Friday most places as the
upper trough gradually shifts east. In it`s wake zonal flow aloft
will develop, keeping winds gusty and allowing temperatures to
rebound. Windy conditions should redevelop Sunday across southern and
eastern areas as the next upper level trough steers the jet stream
back overhead. Western and northern areas have the best chance for
rain showers and mountain snow showers, and these will most likely
occur Sunday into Sunday night.
An extended period of critical fire weather concerns primarily
across the eastern plains from Wednesday through the weekend. Most
widespread critical day should be Thursday when winds are the
Pacific trough is exiting the state early this morning. Spotty light
rain and snow are lingering over the north but should be gone before
sunrise. Morning low clouds over the west will lift and dissipate by
afternoon, leaving NM with a good deal of sunshine and milder
temperatures for the start of the week. Gusty winds this morning
over the east slopes of the central mountain chain to the TX border
will actually diminish throughout the day. Minimum RH values will
lower quite a bit today compared to Sunday, up to 25 to 30 percent
lower in a few spots. Vent rates will be poor in the western and
northern high terrain, while good to excellent elsewhere.
Tonight will be mostly clear with mainly light winds. RH recoveries
will be good to excellent.
A ridge of high pressure will build over NM Tuesday then shift east
and flatten some on Wednesday. Tuesday should be the least windiest
day of the week, with a lee side trough getting started Tuesday but
it will be stronger on Wednesday. Temperatures will warm noticeably
both days and be well above normal, while humidities tumble with
minimum values in the teens Tuesday and around 10 Wednesday on the
eastern plains. Western and central areas will see mostly 20s and
30s, with 40s in the northern mountains. With the increased winds on
Wednesday, a dry airmass and high Haines indices in the northeast,
spotty critical fire weather conditions will be possible in the
northeast highlands and plains for a couple of hours in the
afternoon. Vent rates will improve in the west Tuesday and be mostly
fair to very good, except for patchy poor rates across the northern
mountains. Mostly excellent rates Wednesday.
A short wave trough will zip across NM Thursday, with the strong
flow aloft joining a deepening 990ish mb surface low in southwest
KS. This will result in strong/high/potentially damaging winds
across much of eastern NM, from the central mountain peaks to the TX
border. Low humidities will combine with the winds to produce
critical fire weather conditions in the northeast and east central
plains as well as the southern portion of the middle Rio Grande
Valley...zones 104, 108 and southern 106. While temperatures will be
cooler Thursday, they will still be 10 to 15 degrees above normal on
the plains. The Haines Index is forecast to be only low to moderate,
but the other fire weather parameters will still warrant high fire
growth potential. Models continue to show this event and confidence
is high. A fire weather watch will likely be issued this afternoon
or Tuesday morning. Ventilation will be excellent Thursday. West and
central areas will be noticeably cooler Thursday with rain and high
elevation snow showers over the north.
With a strong Pacific front having crossed NM Thursday, we will
continue to cool Friday, with highs below normal except near normal
in the east. Even though temperatures drop sharply, minimum RH
values will still be low Friday as dewpoints crater to between 0 and
10 Friday afternoon. Winds will be breezy to windy across the east
central plains. These parameters will produce spotty critical fire
weather conditions in much of zone 108. Vent rates will remain
mostly excellent Friday.
The next short wave trough will cross NM this weekend. Models have
different timing on the trough passage but generally looks to be on
Sunday. Lowland rain showers and higher elevation snow showers will
favor the west and north. Highs Saturday will increase, then drop
again Sunday. Winds will continue to reach breezy to windy levels
across the east. Critical fire weather conditions may occur for a
couple of hours Saturday, centered around where zones 103, 104, 107
and 108 all meet. The far southeast corner of zone 108 may still see
brief critical conditions Sunday afternoon.
A ridge of high pressure will build toward NM early next week to
finally bring an end to the critical fire weather concerns.
Fire Weather Watch Wednesday afternoon for the following zones...
Fire Weather Watch from Thursday afternoon through Thursday evening
for the following zones... NMZ104-106-108.