Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 261146 AAA
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
546 AM MDT Sun Mar 26 2017
12Z TAF CYCLE
As a short wave Pacific trough races across northern New Mexico,
additional rain and high elevation snow showers will continue to
impact north central to northeastern portions of the state. Some
MVFR/IFR ceilings and visibilities will be possible with localized
LIFR conditions through 26/1600UTC over some of the higher northern
mountains with periodic peak obscurations. Winds will spike up around
mid day, especially along and east of the central
mountains/highlands. Wind direction will veer more northwesterly, and
even northerly in the plains with gusts this afternoon occasionally
hitting 30 to 40 kt. Winds will then subside in most locales after
sunset with northerly breezes slowly relaxing in the plains through
the late evening.
.PREV DISCUSSION...231 AM MDT Sun Mar 26 2017...
A weak storm system moving through the northern third of the state
will continue to result in showers and mountain snow showers today,
mainly northern mountains. Moderate northwest winds will develop
across much of the area during the afternoon. A break in between
storm systems is expected Monday before a stronger storm moves across
central New Mexico Tuesday and Wednesday. This system is expected to
bring with it the potential for significant precipitation the to
northeast third of the state Tuesday night into Wednesday. A break is
forecast Thursday before another closed upper low drops in from the
Weak upper level short-wave trough moving through northern NM early
this morning. Scattered light showers with snow showers above ~7.5k
ft resulting across the northern third or so. Cumbres-Toltec railroad
web camera in Chama showing light snow falling as of this writing
with light accumulation on the ground. Models now closing off a
500mb circulation across southeast Colorado toward sunrise. Main
sensible weather impact today will be increasing northwest winds,
especially from the central mountain chain ewd as sfc low pressure
deepens across the TX panhandle.
Rather flat transitory ridge remains on track for Monday. Models
starting to settle on a track with regard to the closed upper low
progged to move through NM for Tuesday and Wedesday. Models favoring
a track along to just south I-40 with the favored area for
significant precipitation via a trough of warm air aloft (TROWAL)
across the northeast third of the state. Mid RGV and ABQ metro can
sometimes do well with this scenario thanks in large part to mid
level deformation (atmospheric stretching) where east/northeast winds
over eastern NM rapidly change to nly over the mid RGV. Sangre de
Cristos and perhaps the Sandias looking at significant snowfall above
about 8k ft or so Tuesday night and Wednesday. Thunderstorms also
get into the mix Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday across much of
the area as the cold pool aloft associated with the upper low moves
A brief break is still expected Thursday with another closed upper
low slated for Friday and Saturday. Models remaining at odds with the
track of the late week low. GFS and Canadian take the low south over
southeast AZ Saturday while the ECMWF lifts the low newd into
southeast CO. GFS and Canadian would be more favorable for precip
across much of NM while the ECMWF would favor northern NM and CO.
Still a good deal of uncertainty at this point but for what it`s
worth, the 51 member ECMWF ensemble mean is in good agreement with
its operational track.
...A FEW HOURS OF CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER EXPECTED OVER THE EAST
CENTRAL PLAINS TODAY...
A Pacific trough is currently crossing northern NM with a belt of
stronger winds aloft accompanying, as well as a modest surface cold
front. By daybreak the Pacific segment of the front should have
cleared most NM zones with a back door segment staging for an
invasion into northeastern NM through the late morning and into the
afternoon. As the winds have turned more northwesterly behind the
trough axis, speeds will begin to spike up toward mid day,
especially along a corridor from the central mountains/highlands
eastward into the plains. Again, the cooling behind the front will
be modest and essentially negligible in the east central plains.
Consequently minimum RH values will fall to less than 15 percent in
portions of the middle Rio Grande and in the east central plains.
With the strongest winds being juxtaposed over these lower RH values
in east central NM, have opted to upgrade the Fire Weather Watch to
a Red Flag Warning, primarily for De Baca and Roosevelt counties
where humidity should be slightly lower than neighboring counties to
For tonight, the surface low will shift farther east, allowing the
back door segment of the cold front to sag farther into the NM
plains. As all of the plains succumb to the northerly wind shift,
the RH will recover quickly and efficiently while some poor
recoveries plague the middle Rio Grande valley through Monday
morning. Otherwise, the brief-lived short wave ridge that will cross
NM tonight into early Monday morning will momentarily reduce the
wind speeds aloft. The passage of this ridge and consequent pressure
height rises will allow temperatures to warm a couple degrees during
the daytime Monday. However, by late Monday afternoon the next
upstream Pacific trough will have already moved inland into the
western states, bringing a few stray showers to northwestern NM and
spawning some breezy to windy conditions in the afternoon hours.
Critically low humidity values in the middle Rio Grande valley could
couple with the stronger winds for an hour or two of marginally
critical fire weather conditions late Monday. Other than a couple of
isolated pockets in the northern mountains, good to excellent smoke
ventilation rates are forecast Monday.
The aforementioned Pacific trough is still expected to deepen into a
low as it crosses into NM Tuesday and Wednesday. Forecast models are
still hashing out some finer details of the track of this low, but
the consensus would carry it fairly close to the I-40 corridor.
Western zones would benefit from wetting precipitation first on
Monday night into Tuesday, with precipitation placement likely
refocusing over northeastern NM into Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Temperatures would cool some as increased cloud cover and
precipitation accompany this low passage, and winds will undergo
large directional swings over the Monday night to Wednesday time
frame. Higher humidity associated with the cooler temperatures and
rising dewpoints should preclude any widespread critical fire
A dry and relatively tranquil weather pattern will grace NM on
Thursday, but this short-lived break will give way to another low
pressure system passage for Friday and the weekend, complete with
increasing precipitation chances and cooler temperatures.
Red Flag Warning from noon today to 6 PM MDT this evening for the
following zones... NMZ108.