Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 281758
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1158 AM MDT Fri Apr 28 2017
18Z TAF CYCLE
A band of rain and snow showers will continue pushing west to east
impacting areas along and north of the I-40 corridor throughout the
day as the Pacific front pushes SE. MVFR/IFR cigs will impact much of
central and eastern terminals sites the rest of the day. There is
some possibility that thunder showers could develop behind the front
favoring extreme southern and eastern areas but coverage will lessen
to the extreme SE Plains by tonight as NW flow dominates the state.
Strong W/SW winds will continue across the SW/SC mtns and SW Chaves
county before tapering off this evening. A back door cold front will
invade the eastern plains after sunset shifting winds N/NE for
central and eastern terminal sites. Breezy to windy condtions with
shower chances and low ceilings will follow the front. Stronger
winds will favor the NE Plains early Sat morning.
.PREV DISCUSSION...1003 AM MDT Fri Apr 28 2017...
Reports of snow or mixed rain/snow down to about 6500 feet MSL
across NW zones associated with leading frontal zone. Banded precip
to continue slowly developing/expanding southeastward but may pull up
more or less stationary and trend more broken until later today.
Will trend PoP upward over WC through NW/NC zones for the morning and
reevaluate trends after latest model data. KJ
.PREV DISCUSSION...337 AM MDT Fri Apr 28 2017...
A potent late season winter storm system will push southward into
New Mexico through the weekend. Thunderstorms are expected over
portions of the Eastern Plains to the Southwest Mountains as the cold
front moves through today. As the system dives southward tonight,
significant snowfall is expected over the Sangre de Cristos and the
Eastern Plains through Saturday. Winds will increase over the region
with the strongest winds over the Southwest Mountains this afternoon
into this evening. Temperatures will drop sharply in the wake of this
system and remain below normal through early next week.
The main change with this forecast package dealt with precipitation
location and snow amounts. Models are in gross synoptic agreement and
continue to push the upper low further south into NM before exiting
to the east. As with any system, the devil is in the details and
there was not a very strong preference to any one model solution, at
least with enough confidence to make large changes to the forecast.
Some adjustments in the first few periods in precipitation location
and timing were done with a mix of the GFS and the WRF-ARW, but
otherwise there was little difference from the previous package.
Thunderstorms associated with the cold front were kept in the
forecast today, mainly over the southeastern half of the state. While
some storms could potentially be strong, widespread severe weather is
With respect to QPF and snow amounts, the general feeling was the QPF
amounts from WPC were generally too high, thus the QPF was tapered
down for this package. This primarily lowered the snow amounts,
mainly over the mountain ranges. This being said, snowfall totals of
4-8 inches are possible over the lower terrain over the Eastern
Plains with 12+ over some of the highest terrain over the Sangre de
Cristos. The ABQ metro area is will likely see light amounts of less
than an inch with western areas seeing around an inch with locally
higher totals. Confidence is reasonably high in the amounts over the
Sangre`s, but there is less confidence in the location of the
heaviest snow over the plains. If convective bands setup, locally
heavy amounts could be an issue over parts of the Eastern Plains.
Finally, strong winds over the NE corner of NM will produce areas of
blowing snow on Saturday.
As the system moves out by Monday, a return to a somewhat more
tranquil, yet cooler weather pattern is expected.
Big changes are on the way today through Saturday. A mix of rain and
high elevation snow is ongoing early this morning across northwest
NM. These showers are forming along and behind a cold front that is
expected to shift southeastward throughout the day. As it does so,
additional showers and thunderstorms will form along and behind it.
Spotty wetting rains are likely. Temperatures will lower several
degrees behind this initial cold front, resulting in high
temperatures 10 to 20 degrees below normal for all but the east
Tonight through Saturday, an anomalously cold upper level low
(approximately 3 standard deviations below normal) will shift from
the Four Corners region southward across the west central highlands,
then eastward toward the east central plains. Meanwhile, an
associated strong back door cold front will enter the northeast
plains around midnight tonight, and will race through the remainder
of the eastern plains largely by sunrise Saturday. Much colder
temperatures, strong northerly winds, and snow will return behind
the front. Areas from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains eastward across
the northeast plains as well as the Sandia and Manzano Mtns and
central highlands could see significant amounts of falling and
blowing snow. More than a foot of snow is possible across the Sangre
de Cristos and near Raton Pass, while more than 6 inches is possible
at many lower elevations. High temperatures on Saturday will be 20
to nearly 40 degrees below normal.
A very cold airmass will remain in place after the departure of the
system late Saturday night. A widespread freeze/hard freeze is
A slow warmup is expected Sunday through Tuesday under northwest
flow aloft. A few shortwaves may graze northeast NM through this
time period, however. The first looks to occur Monday night, but
stronger one looks to graze the area on Tuesday. A weak front looks
to move into the northeast plains Monday night, but again, the
stronger front looks to arrive late Tuesday. The latter should bring
in higher dewpoints and another chance for precipitation across the
northeast plains. Temperatures across the plains on Wednesday will
actually lower in the wake of the front. Thus, high temperatures
will actually remain below normal through Thursday for most areas.
Winter Storm Warning from midnight tonight to 3 AM MDT Sunday for
the following zones... NMZ512>515-521-523-527>531.
Wind Advisory until 9 PM MDT this evening for the following zones...