Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 222155 AAA

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
355 PM MDT Wed Mar 22 2017

Updated fire weather planning forecast and RFW product to upgrade to
a Red Flag Warning for portions of the east on Thursday. SPC has
extreme wording and confidence is quite high for a strong wind/low RH
and unstable atmosphere alignment in terms of weather. Greenup is
still not strong enough to mitigate potential fire behavior impacts
if an ignition were to occur thus lots of dead/copious grass/fine
fuels exist in the weather alignment area.



.PREV DISCUSSION...318 PM MDT Wed Mar 22 2017...
Big weather changes on the way with strong winds, cooler temperatures
and precipitation returning to northern and central NM starting
Thursday. Three storms will impact us through the next week. The
first storm will bring the dramatic changes as it arrives Thursday
and departs on Friday, complete with widespread precipitation across
the west and north, with snow levels lowering Thursday night so that
mountain locations will get some accumulation. Strong winds will
buffet the east Thursday and the Eastern Plains Friday. Temperatures
will drop 20 to 30 degrees over the next couple of days. The second
storm will brush northern NM Saturday night into Sunday. A long
lasting system will impact us Tuesday into Thursday.


Another nice afternoon with high clouds in the northwest. mild
temperatures most areas, and moderate breezes over the central
mountains and east. Another mild night tonight then big changes
starting Thursday.

The storm responsible for this weather change is coming onto the
west coast and will deepen and slow down as it crosses NM later
Thursday and Thursday night. The storm will exit Friday, but really
strengthen as it leaves. Strong to high winds will develop in the
east and we are issuing a high wind watch for most of the east
Thursday afternoon and early evening. High winds will be likely on
the eastern plains Friday. Precipitation will break out Thursday
over the west and north, with even the potential for isolated severe
weather over our far se zones Thursday afternoon and evening.
Precipitation will congeal into the northeast late Thursday night
into Friday as moisture wraps around the storm. Temperatures will
tank Thursday and Friday, 20 to 30 degrees lower than today.

A nice break on Saturday with dry and milder conditions. The second
system will just brush the state with light precipitation Saturday
night and Sunday over the north. A more potent storm will arrive
Tuesday and could continue into Thursday, then be followed by yet
another storm for the end of next week.



An upper level trough approaching from the west today will deepen
into a closed low pressure system as it passes eastward over the the
NM/CO border Thursday afternoon and evening.  The storm system will
cause strong winds to develop east of the continental divide on
Thursday. The strongest winds on Thursday will be found along and
east of the central mountain chain where wind gusts in the 50 to 65
mph range are expected.  Since humidities will also be critically
low, temperatures will be well above normal, mixing heights will be
very high and Haines Indices will vary from 5-6 across the east,
will continue the Fire Weather Watch already in effect for the
eastern plains and northeast highlands.  As the storm system crosses
it will spread showers and thunderstorms into the forecast area from
the west on Thursday and Thursday night. The continental divide
region will be favored for generally up to 0.30" of liquid
equivalent precipitation, most of which will fall as rain except
across the high terrain.

As the upper low slowly exits east on Friday, it will send a swath
of wrap around moisture over the northern mountains and northeast.
Following a Pacific Cold front Thursday and a back door cold front
Thursday night into Friday, temperatures will fall enough for more
significant snow accumulation in the northern mountains Thursday
night and Friday. A few to several inches of snow accumulation will
be possible, with the larger amounts near the CO border. North and
northwest winds will also be strong on Friday, especially across the
eastern plains where many areas may again feel gusts over 60 mph.

After a ridge of high pressure crosses Friday night and Saturday,
another upper level trough is progged to deepen into a closed low as
it passes eastward over the NM/CO border on Saturday night and
Sunday.  The system will cause breezy conditions to redevelop
Sunday, especially along and east of the central mountain chain. The
storm will bring a chance for additional rain and mountain snow
mainly to locations north of I-40. Any wetting precipitation will be
very spotty and favor mountain locations along the CO border.
Several hours of critical fire weather conditions will be possible
across the east central plains on Sunday, but humidities may remain
above 15% in most other locations.

Another ridge of high pressure will cross Sunday night and Monday,
but winds will probably strengthen again on Tuesday as another storm
system approaches from the west.


Low clouds will continue to evaporate through mid day across the
east central and northeast plains. They will likely return with MVFR
conditions late tonight across much of the eastern plains as a moist
fetch of S and SE winds persists. A low pressure system will
approach the Four Corners from the west tonight before crossing on
Thursday. This will steer the polar jet stream over south central and
eastern NM with surface wind gusts in the 40 to 55 kt range from the
central mountain chain eastward by mid day on Thursday. In addition,
rain showers and thunderstorms will begin to move over western areas
from the west on Thursday morning, before reaching as far east as
the central mountain chain in the afternoon. The dry line may also
become active Thursday with strong thunderstorms possible near the
Texas border.


Red Flag Warning from 1 PM to 7 PM MDT Thursday for the following
zones... NMZ103-104-108.

High Wind Watch from Thursday afternoon through Thursday evening
for the following zones... NMZ523-526-528-529-531>540.

Red Flag Warning until 7 PM MDT this evening for the following
zones... NMZ106-107-109.


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