Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 241141

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
541 AM MDT Sat Jun 24 2017

TSRA hazards to include the potential for isolated severe hail and
damaging wind gusts will ramp up for areas between the Continental
Divide and east slopes of the central mountain chain between 20Z and
01Z. This will include KSAF and the Rio Grande Valley/ABQ area terminals
where VCTS placeholders have been maintained given uncertainty on
coverage. Latest Rapid Refresh model suggests large convective
cluster organizing east of the RGV and south of I-40 after 01Z with
possible impacts at KROW after sunset. Meanwhile, solid low level
upslope conditions in place along/east of the central mountain chain
yielding widespread MVFR cigs to include KLVS, KTCC and KROW.
Gradually rising cigs by mid or late morning but VFR low cloudiness
will be slow to erode until later in the afternoon. Moist low level
e-sely flow will contribute to widespread low clouds again tonight
with MVFR/IFR conditions expanding across the east late in period. KJ


.PREV DISCUSSION...337 AM MDT Sat Jun 24 2017...
A cold front has invaded New Mexico. Most of the state is expected
to observe cooler temperatures, although areas in far western and
northwestern New Mexico will still observe warm to hot temperatures
this afternoon. Moisture has also accompanied the arrival of the
front, and this will set the stage for isolated to scattered showers,
primarily between the Continental Divide and the central mountain
chain of New Mexico with storms being most numerous near the west
central to southwestern mountains and highlands. A few storms could
turn strong to perhaps severe with heavy downpours, hail, and gusty
winds. Another round of storms will develop on Sunday with storms
expected to be more numerous and again strong to severe in some
locales. Thunderstorms will be possible again on Monday, initiating
between the Continental Divide and the central mountain chain with
some scattered storms eventually rolling into the plains of eastern
New Mexico in the evening. Less storm coverage is expected Tuesday.


Cold front has advanced west of the Continental Divide, through
Farmington, Grants, and Quemado, but not yet through Gallup. As
expected, dewpoints have surged upward with the frontal passage while
temperatures cooled and gusty winds accelerated through gaps/canyons
within the central mountain chain. Low clouds have developed along
the east faces of the central mountain chain in the moist, upslope
flow with some broken to overcast skies also extending into the east
central to northeastern plains of NM, but cloud bases are notably
higher there. The cloud cover in the eastern half of the forecast
area should gradually diminish into the late morning and early
afternoon, but the stable temperature lapse rates aloft over the
plains should keep thunder at bay through the afternoon. Therefore,
the focus for convective initiation will be over the west central to
southwestern highlands this afternoon.

As westerly surface flow in AZ tries to nudge back into far western
and northwestern NM this afternoon, an axis of surface convergence
should set up just west of the divide with upslope aiding on the east
faces of the surrounding mountains. Healthy dewpoints in the 50`s
will be juxtaposed over the divide with steep lapse rates and CAPE
exceeding 1500 J/kg near the upslope and surface convergence areas.
In addition, the northwesterly flow aloft will yield excellent
directional shear, and hence some strong to perhaps severe cells are
expected to take shape through the afternoon and early evening.
Storms should propagate east southeastward into the middle to lower
Rio Grande valley with secondary areas of storms possible over the
Jemez and potentially even the central mountain chain late in the
afternoon toward the evening. The northwestern plateau and far
western zones will see temperatures rise above average by a few ticks
while the eastern plains stay 10 to 20 degrees below climatology for
late June.

Tonight`s forecast is a tricky one, particularly for the eastern
zones. Most forecast models all paint substantial QPF over the
eastern plains, particularly the northeastern plains...all models,
except the NAM which paints a much more stable picture. The NAM is
certainly an outlier, but some credence could be given to its
solution if cloudy conditions persist and keep temperature lapse
rates more stable with a pronounced warm air inversion revealed on
forecast soundings. Still, the other model members could also pan
out with east southeasterly upslope feeding inflow to storms that
propagate east southeastward off of the central mountain chain. Have
left scattered POPs in the plains overnight tonight, but this
remains a low confidence aspect of the forecast.

Into Sunday, a more active convection day is forecast with the high
terrain of the Continental Divide again being a likely first candidate
for initiation and the central mountain chain coming in second.
Surface winds would veer slightly, but this still should enable a
surface convergence area to set up over the divide with a hint of
upslope still present over the east faces of the central mountain
chain. Again strong to possibly severe cells would be possible with
storms expected to fill into the plains toward early evening and the

Monday`s crop of storms appears to be healthy, but not quite as
widespread or numerous as on Sunday. Still, with storms again
initiating between the divide and the central mountain chain, there
will be potential for a few strong cells. Scattered storms would also
be possible in the plains, just likely initiating later than their
high terrain counterparts.

Tuesday, the coverage begins to decrease some, but the drier air
should really entrain into the forecast area on Wednesday, shutting
down storm chances for most zones. Temperatures would rebound in the
drier air mass with all areas reaching within a few degrees of
seasonal averages by mid week.



A vast majority of the area east of the Divide will see humidities
trend significantly higher as compared to Friday. However, areas
near Farmington to Gallup to Zuni can expect several hours of single
digit RH where west-northwest winds could gust 15-25 mph vicinity of
the higher terrain.  This moistening courtesy of a backdoor front
that will reach the Continental Divide near or shortly after
daybreak. Easterly push may ooze a little farther west toward the
NM/AZ line in locally favored corridors (e.g. Fence Lake, Zuni,
Gallup), before stalling and gradually mixing back eastward this
afternoon beneath a modest northwest flow aloft.

As the day progresses, sharpening west-east moisture and thermal
gradients amidst strong turning of wind with height will create a
very favorable environment for strong/severe storms east of the
Divide toward the Rio Grande Valley 2-9pm. Areas along/south of I-40
and west of the RGV as well as the Jemez Mountains to near Santa Fe
look to become the most unstable although isolated strong/severe
storms cannot be ruled out anywhere from the Divide to the east
slopes of the central mountain chain. Meanwhile, below average
temperatures, mostly in the 70s, and considerable low clouds across
the eastern plains will greatly limit thunderstorm potential and
result in poor vent rates.

Sunday and Monday promises to be more active across the area. Ample
moisture to remain in place while boundary layer warming promotes
better storm chances central mountain chain eastward. Scattered to
numerous showers and thunderstorms are expected east of the Divide
to the RGV where several strong/severe storms appear likely. The
Four Corners will remain the driest and least active.

Increasing influence from mid-level westerlies as the day progresses
Tuesday, especially the northwest third or so.  Sufficient moisture
to support isolated to scattered storms central and east but overall
coverage trending downward as compared to Monday.  Even drier
areawide Wednesday-Thursday with minRH values in the single digits
to lower teens for all but the far east. Deeply mixed boundary layer
during this mid-week drying episode to support moderately strong
westerly winds for the higher terrain as well as much of the
northeast owing to lee side troughing.  Next backdoor cold front
forecast to push south and west Thursday night into Friday with
perhaps a stronger one for next weekend. Neither of these fronts
will be nearly as strong as the current one, with impacts mainly
central mountain chain east. kj




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