Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 191131
AFDABQ

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
431 AM MST Fri Jan 19 2018

.AVIATION...
12Z TAF CYCLE
VFR conditions prevail for today with a blanket of cirrus streaming
over the state. KSAF will once again see a decent drainage wind this
morning. Westerly winds will strengthen to 10 to 15 knots at KGUP,
KLVS, and KTCC this afternoon.

24

&&

.PREV DISCUSSION...338 AM MST Fri Jan 19 2018...
.SYNOPSIS...
Southwest winds increasing over New Mexico today will help trend
temperatures above normal statewide. Highs will top out in the low
70s across northeastern New Mexico where a couple near record highs
are possible. Low humidity and breezy conditions with these warm
temperatures will elevate fire danger across parts of the eastern
plains today. Winds will continue into Saturday as a storm system
approaches from the west. A potent cold front will move into western
New Mexico by late afternoon with rain and snow. The cold front will
race across the Continental Divide and into the Rio Grande Valley
with a quick transition from rain to snow. Several inches of snow
are likely in the high terrain of northern New Mexico along with
windy conditions. Snow will linger over northeastern New Mexico
through Sunday. The combination of much colder air and strong winds
on Sunday will make for a blustery winter day. Cold conditions will
continue into Monday.

&&

.DISCUSSION...
It doesn`t take much to get excited this season about a potential
winter storm, but things are still looking good for a quick blast of
rain, snow, strong winds, and much colder temperatures late Saturday
into Sunday. Changes in the latest forecast package include issuance
of a winter storm watch for parts of the northern high terrain and
continuation of fire weather highlights for eastern NM.

Satellite imagery shows the upper ridge breaking down quickly this
morning over the southwest CONUS while abundant moisture streams
into California. Flow aloft will strengthen over NM today and allow a
surface low to deepen over eastern CO. This will force downslope
flow across eastern NM with low humidity and well above normal high
temperatures. H5 pressure heights will fall from the west tonight
with widespread breezy conditions continuing over NM. Low temps will
average 10 to 15 degrees above normal. Stronger winds will spread
across the entire area Saturday ahead of a potent cold front and the
associated upper level trough over AZ.

Saturday will become a very dynamic day as a potent Pacific cold
front over eastern AZ intensifies while moving eastward into western
NM. Timing of the front has trended a tad slower again, but more
importantly, deep layer moisture is still intact along the front as
it crosses the Continental Divide and surges through the Rio Grande
Valley. Strong cold advection will drop 700mb temps from near +2C at
KABQ to -12C in a matter of 6 hours. This will change rain to snow
in all areas behind the front. There will most likely be a brief
period of some intense winter weather along the I-40 corridor between
Gallup and Grants between 02Z and 06Z, and an impressive squall
entering the Sandia/Manzano Mts between 06Z and 09Z. Still looks like
some potential for a flash freeze on road surfaces behind the front.
The northern high terrain will welcome the development of snowfall
Saturday evening with the pre-frontal airmass then through Sunday
with the post-frontal airmass. Hoisted a winter storm watch for the
northwest mts and the high peak zones of the Sangres.

The H5 low will deepen to near 540dm Sunday afternoon as it moves
across northeastern NM. Snow is also likely to impact the area along
the CO/NM border on the back side of the upper wave. Precip may extend
as far south as the I-40 corridor if hints from the GFS verify. The
other story will become strong winds with laminar flow up to 40 kts
extending to 700mb. Bitter wind chills will impact the entire area
Sunday. Cold temps will continue Monday with thick high clouds over NM.

Guyer

&&

.FIRE WEATHER...
Red Flag Warning across eastern NM this afternoon due to low
humidity, breezy downslope flow, elevated Haines, and near record
warmth. A second round of critical fire conditions are likely
Saturday afternoon with increased SW winds, low humidity and well
above normal warmth remaining across eastern NM.

Downslope westerly winds will increase this afternoon along the I-40
corridor thanks to a deepening lee side trough in southeastern CO.
Highs across eastern NM will be 15-25F above normal, allowing for
MinRH`s this afternoon to drop to critical levels. Ventilation rates
remain poor with pockets of fair across the east-central plains
today. The one thing that could limit record warmth would be the
high cirrus streaming in from the north. This could in turn limit
the duration of critical fire conditions this afternoon. Saturday`s
round of critical fire weather will see winds shift SW ahead of an
approaching Pacific front. The limiting factor here will be MinRHs
just above critical threshold. The caveat with both Friday and
Saturday is the current state of drought, forcing the forecast to
err on the side of caution keeping the Red Flag Warning Friday and
the Fire Weather Watch Saturday despite winds or RH potentially not
quite meeting criteria.

Big changes are in store Saturday through Sunday with the approach
of a potent Pacific storm system. The front looks to enter western
NM by Saturday evening bringing mountain snow and valley rain,
pushing into the Rio Grande Valley by midnight Sunday. The front
will reach the NM/TX border by sunrise Sunday morning. Valley rain
will quickly turn to snow behind the front. The main concern Sunday
morning will be bitter cold wind chills in the single digits.
Sunday`s highs will be 5-15F below normal, warming back to normal by
Tuesday.

Excellent ventilation rates will be present Saturday and Sunday with
the passage of the frontal system, dropping back to poor with
pockets of fair for next week. Temperatures trend up through next
week until next weekend when the next winter weather system moves by
the region. Models that far out have not been consistent with the
strength of that system yet, so stay tuned for the potential of any
wetting precipitation. This weekend`s storm is the main focus
obviously for this forecast package.

&&

.ABQ WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
Red Flag Warning from noon today to 6 PM MST this evening for the
following zones... NMZ108.

Fire Weather Watch Saturday afternoon for the following zones...
NMZ104-108.

Winter Storm Watch from Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon
for the following zones... NMZ510-513-514.

&&

$$



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