Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 222332 AAA
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
532 PM MDT Sat Apr 22 2017
00Z TAF CYCLE
Clouds continue to persist along and east of the Sangre de Cristo
Mountains. Cigs tend to be VFR, though there could be occasional
excursions into MVFR this eve around KAXX and KLVS. Overall however,
these clouds should erode late this eve and overnight as winds veer
around to the south and southwest. Meanwhile, east winds are expected
to surge back through the canyons into the Rio Grande Valley this eve
with gusts near 35kt possible at KABQ and near 25kt at KSAF. On
Sunday, winds areawide will veer around to the south and southwest.
Gusts between 25 and 35kt will be possible across much of the area.
.PREV DISCUSSION...256 PM MDT Sat Apr 22 2017...
Two different weather stories for this forecast cycle. The first
story will be about dry and warmer weather with increasing winds
through early next week. The second story will feature more wind,
but cooler temperatures and increasing precipitation chances with
greater areal coverage for the middle and late parts of next week.
The widespread low clouds that developed behind the back door cold
front last night across the east have been slow to clear, especially
in the northeast, although ceilings have been slowly coming up. Look
for the ceilings to drop this evening along the east slopes of the
Sangre de Cristo Mountains onto the northeast highlands. However,
surface winds will be shifting to the southwest overnight and the
clouds should largely dissipate after midnight. Elsewhere will be
clear with slightly warmer lows in the west, but noticeably cooler
in the east. East canyon winds will return/increase again this
evening before slowing late tonight. Gusts of 40 to 45 mph are
possible at ABQ.
A big warmup will take place Sunday and Monday with lots of sunshine
but increasing wind. Strong winds will be possible Monday over the
western and central mountain chains onto their east slopes as a weak
short wave trough passes to our north. With the winds will be very
dry air, resulting in critical fire weather concerns. See the
discussion below for details. Highs will climb above normal Sunday
in all areas except the southeast, with the entire forecast area 5 to
15 degrees above normal Monday.
The changes begin Tuesday. Another short wave trough will cross NM
producing more strong winds, but precipitation will be hard to come
by, with showers confined to the northern mountains and northeast
Tuesday and Tuesday night. Rain will turn to snow over the higher
northern mountain peaks but little accumulation is expected. There
will be a back door front near the northeast corner of the state late
Tuesday that will dip south Tuesday night.
The cooling trend will continue in earnest Wednesday as another short
wave tough approaches. Precipitation will expand across much of the
north. A decent trough will develop over NM late in the week as
additional energy digs in from the northwest. A closed low at 500 mb
may even develop over the four corners area by late Friday, according
the the GFS. The ECMWF is slower and farther northeast with the
closed low. Highs will continue to drop Thursday and Friday, and be
mostly below normal. Precipitation will continue to expand south with
widespread coverage Friday into next Saturday. Snow in the mountains
may bring some accumulations above 7500 or 8000 feet. CHJ
...CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER EVENT MONDAY...
...A FEW HOURS OF CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER EXPECTED OVER WESTERN
HIGHLANDS OF NEW MEXICO SUNDAY...
...A MORE SIGNIFICANT AND WIDESPREAD CRITICAL EVENT WILL UNFOLD
Last night`s cold front invasion over eastern NM not only brought in
cooler temperatures, but it also ushered in some higher dewpoints
and RH. Some of this cooler, moist airmass has invaded portions of
central NM, and it should expand even farther west tonight. This
will bring excellent RH recoveries to the eastern two thirds of the
state overnight and into early Sunday while easterly winds gradually
veer more southerly by late Sunday morning. In the mid layers of the
troposphere, a ridge axis will be translating east through this time
frame, but as it breaks down through the daytime Sunday, stronger
westerly flow aloft will arrive.
The western third of NM will be able to mix efficiently Sunday
afternoon with high mixing heights bringing stronger winds and drier
air down to the surface. This should spell a few hours of critical
conditions over the western high terrain on Sunday afternoon. A Fire
Weather Watch was issued to account for this, but there is a caveat
of fuel moisture due to green-up and the coarser fuel make-up in
While Sunday`s potential warrants mention, the more significant and
more widespread critical event will take shape on Monday as the
westerly flow aloft strengthens more along with a deepening lee side
surface cyclone. Other than the higher elevations above 8000-9000
feet where snowpack resides, just about all of the forecast area
should meet critical criteria for several hours Monday, and
confidence remains high in this windy and dry scenario.
The pattern remains conducive to windy conditions for much of next
week as the flow aloft remains perturbed with several small scale
impulses moving through. Critical conditions will be prevalent along
and south of Interstate 40 on Tuesday, but some increases in
dewpoints and moderation to the above normal temperatures will
likely preclude development of critical conditions on Wednesday.
Forecast models become quite divergent as early as Thursday next
week, staying so into the weekend. Overall, the pattern would appear
to remain windy regardless of model differences with regard to
timing of disturbances aloft, and precipitation will generally favor
the northern NM zones, and more-so our neighbors to the north in CO.
Fire Weather Watch from Monday morning through Monday evening for
the following zones... NMZ101>109.
Fire Weather Watch from Sunday afternoon through Sunday evening for
the following zones... NMZ105.