Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 141757 AAA

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1057 AM MST Thu Dec 14 2017

Upper level trough axis moving through NM this afternoon and evening. Brief
MVFR cigs/vsbys in sct -shsn northern and western mts with occasional
higher terrain obscurations thru 23Z. Best potential for gusty east
winds to around 35kt into the upper and middle RGV below canyons
before 21Z as the upper trof axis moves sewd over w-central NM and
a stronger sfc pressure gradient coincide. Winds and light snow to
rapidly diminish aft 22Z. Light wind with clearing sky expected
areawide overnight. Enhanced nly drainage wind expected at KSAF
around sunrise Friday.



.PREV DISCUSSION...245 AM MST Thu Dec 14 2017...
An upper level low will move across northern NM today, bringing light
snow and rain showers to the northern tier of the state. A strong
backdoor cold front will cross NM today, and high temperatures will
fall below normal across much of the area, except in far western NM.
Cool surface high pressure will build across the region Friday and
Saturday with temperatures returning to above normal Saturday. Low
pressure from the Pacific Northwest will move southward toward the
Southwest late Saturday through Sunday, and there will be a chance
for precipitation and a high chance of below normal temperatures
Saturday night through Monday morning. Weak high pressure will be the
predominant weather feature Monday afternoon through Wednesday.
Temperatures Monday will moderate to slightly below normal and then
will be well above normal Tuesday and Wednesday.


A strong backdoor cold front has already pushed into the eastern
plains early this morning and will continue to progress west
southwestward across the state today. This will result in an abrupt
end to the milder weather. High temperatures today will be 5 to 10
degrees below normal for much of northern and central NM with the
exception of far western NM, where highs will be near to slightly
above normal. A weak upper level trough will move rapidly across
northern NM today. This system will bring limited moisture to the
region with light rain and snow showers likely over the northern
tier of the state. The Sangre de Cristos and the Raton Mesa will see
1 to 2 inches of snowfall through early this evening. In the lower
elevations snow showers will likely mix with or change to rain this
afternoon, and snow accumulations will generally be less than an
inch. As the trough moves rapidly eastward tonight and Friday,
surface high pressure will build across NM from the northwest. Friday
will be dry but cool across the region with flow aloft from the
north northwest. Highs Friday will range from a few degrees below
normal across south central NM to a few degrees above normal in
northern NM. A lee surface low will develop over northeast
NM/southeast CO on Saturday. This will increase west southwest to
southwest winds during the afternoon hours east of the central
mountains. These downsloping winds will bring warmer temperatures to
the eastern plains. Highs Saturday will be 5 to 10 degrees above
normal west of the central mountains and 8 to 15 above normal to the

Model solutions for Sunday into Monday vary widely in the latest
model runs. There is agreement that a storm system will drop
southward from the Pacific Northwest toward the Southwest during this
time period. The GFS and NAM bring the trough axis well to the west
of NM and indicate some phasing with an upper low south of AZ, while
the ECMWF, which has shown more run-to-run consistency over the past
60 hours, brings the trough axis much farther east as it crosses the
4-Corners region and moves across northern NM. The ECMWF solution
would bring light precipitation to northern NM Saturday night
through Sunday evening, while the GFS and NAM solutions would favor
southern NM with some light precipitation making it as far north as
central NM. For now, low to medium probabilities for precipitation
are included for northern NM Saturday night and low probabilities
for south central and central NM on Sunday and Sunday night. The GFS
and NAM position of the trough farther south and west would bring
more moisture northward from the subtropics.

Models are in fairly good agreement for the period Monday through
Wednesday in showing a weak upper level ridge over the Southwest.
This would bring a period of dry weather and moderating temperatures.
Highs Monday are expected to be near to slightly above normal, and
highs Tuesday and Wednesday will likely be well above normal. The GFS
and ECMWF are developing a larger scale trough across the western
U.S. late next week with colder temperatures and increasing chances
that the jet stream will direct storm systems farther south. This
pattern change would be climatologically favored for late December,
but, given the anomalously warm weather across the Southwest this
past November through mid December, the trough may not be as strong
as models project.



The short term forecast is relatively high confidence, as some
meager precipitation is possible north central and northeast today
and this evening in conjunction with a cold front and upper trough
passage. The best potential for a gusty east to northeast wind into
the Rio Grande Valley, in particular from Santa Fe to the
Albuquerque metro area, looks to be during this morning as the upper
trough axis to our northwest and the greatest surface pressure rises
along the central mountain chain coincide. Otherwise expect about 5
to 25 degrees of cooling today with humidities trending upward. Vent
rates today mainly good over much of the east but fair to poor north
central and west. Drier and warmer Friday with highs mostly above
average and generally poor vent rates.

Forecast confidence diminishes this weekend as the GFS ensemble
forecast looks like a plate of spaghetti. It does suggest there will
be an upper trough axis passing from northwest to southeast over NM
but confidence for placement and amount of precipitation is low. The
operational version paints widespread precipitation mainly south of
Interstate 40. The 00Z ECMWF indicates meager precipitation this
weekend would be focused over the northern mountains. Localized and
short lived critical fire weather conditions could develop over the
east central plains Saturday prior to another cold frontal passage
Sunday, which drops temperatures a few degrees below average over
most of the forecast area. Vent rates Saturday and Sunday a mixed
bag but there are large areas of poor rates forecast both days.

Early to mid next week may be drier and warmer again under somewhat
zonal flow with temperatures reaching 5 to 15 degrees above average
by Wednesday. Winds may increase especially central and east by mid
week as a system passes to our north. There`s again greater
deviation in regards to precipitation amounts and location during
the later part of next week, with virtually no agreement between the
GFS ensemble members. The ECMWF is favoring dry weather until a
substantial winter storm system at 240 hrs/Dec 23 approaches NM from
the west. The GFS is faster and weaker with this system but cold air
is in place over the east. Overall, the message is a period of
unsettled weather looks to be headed our way but with lots of
uncertainty in the details.





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