Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 210522 AAB
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1022 PM MST Mon Feb 20 2017
06Z TAF CYCLE
Mostly clear skies are currently observed across northern and
central New Mexico with VFR conditions prevailing. Breezes have
subsided in most locales, but some breezy drainage winds are expected
to redevelop near KSAF around and after dawn Tuesday. Some lower
based clouds in near the Four Corners region may try to seep into
KFMN through early Tuesday morning. Ceilings are primarily expected
to range between 040-050, but a few lower-based clouds will be
possible. For now, have kept KFMN TAF in the VFR category.
.PREV DISCUSSION...320 PM MST Mon Feb 20 2017...
The drier, warmer period will kick off today through midweek with
temperatures rising well above normal Tuesday and Wednesday. Look for
afternoon breezes to pick up Wednesday but anticipate strong winds
to develop Thursday as a potent upper level shortwave crosses the
central Rockies. Colder condtions will follow behind the system
Friday with drier, milder period over the weekend.
Upper level ridging is now building over the state allowing
temperatures to rebound 5 to 10 degrees warmer than Sunday. The
warming trend will continue through midweek although upper level
ridging will begin breaking down Wed as faster zonal flow aloft
filters in. Sfc winds will increase across higher terrain areas
especially along and east of the central mtn chain. By Thurs, a
potent upper level shortwave will cross the central Rockies ramping
up winds areawide, but especially across central and eastern areas
where advisory/high wind warning conditions will be prevalent.
Decided to go above guidance with temperatures for Wed and Thurs
along and east of the central mtn chain because of ample downslope
winds. Meanwhile, temperatures will start cooling below normal across
western areas Thurs as decent cold air advection seeps in behind the
passing system before expanding east of the central mtn chain
Fri...with temperatures becoming 5 to 15 degrees below areawide.
So far models are indicating this system being more of an wind event
for the state but wetting precipitation will be lesser than the
previous forecast. The latest GFS and ECWMF models still indicate
some wetting precipitation clipping the northern tier of the state
Thurs morning where some high mtn snow could develop...but majority
of the precipitation will remain over CO. A drier, milder period will
return over the weekend with continued breezes across the state but
another potential cooler...wetter system could arrive by midweek.
Confidence continues to increase for a multi-day period of stronger
wind and drier conditions favoring southern and eastern areas during
the next several days. The keystone period appears to be Wed/Thur
with the strongest winds on Thu.
An upper ridge will provide continued drying and warming on Tuesday.
Record to near record high temperatures are expected across the
east on Tuesday. Humidity values will continue to fall with a
smattering of single digits expected across the NE and EC corner of
the state. Locally gusty winds will be felt along and to the lee of
the central mtns. Cant rule out a locally strong wind and low RH
alignment to the lee of the central mtns but not worthy of issuing a
The main critical periods still looks to be Wed/Thu. The upper ridge
will flatten or break down as a strong Pacific jet takes aim on the
state. Models have been pretty consistent with this message although
latest model runs have coming in stronger wind the surface winds on
Wednesday. High temps will remain unusually warm with record to near
record highs across the eastern half. Haines values peak on Wed
ahead of the cold frontal passage on Thursday. The main threat area
for the worst fire weather conditions appears to be across the NE
third on Wed. Single digit RH values are expected for a period of
time across the NE. Dewpoints will fall sharply on Thursday
following the frontal passage. Therefore....single digit humidity is
expected and should favor EC and SE areas. There is some model
discrepancy between the NAM/GFS/Canadian and ECMWF in terms of the
mid level cold frontal passage. The NAM is much more progressive
with the wave passage compared to the other models...thus the
stronger mid level wind gradient weakens quicker on the NAM and cold
air advection associated with the frontal passage is more
progressive across the area. Decided to hedge surface winds a tad
lighter on Thursday compared to earlier forecasts but still have
strong to very strong winds across the majority of the area. Models
continue to show some higher level clouds moving over the area on
Wednesday with clearer conditions on Thur except for near the CO
border where some showers will be possible. A fire weather watch has
been posted and will continue those highlights. May need to add zone
103/107 to the Thu watch in the coming days...depending on the
modeling trends. Temps cool on Thu but still remain above normal
within the lower and middle Rio Grande Valley as well as much of the
eastern plains. Mixing heights are also unusually high for the time
of year both Wed and Thu.
Models remain consistent by showing residual strong wind and low RH
across the east central and southeast plains Fri. This would be a
post cold frontal scenario so not expecting to issue a watch unless
temps come in warmer for portions of the plains. Humidity values
will remain pretty low and cant rule out some single digits.
A stronger zonal flow should remain over the area next weekend. This
means some gustier winds at the surface most areas. Models have been
trending drier for the Sunday time frame...this especially pertains
to the ECMWF/Canadian models. Suspect the GFS will come in drier in
the coming days. Either way...some stronger wind and low RH
alignments should continue across portions of the east during this
Fire Weather Watch Wednesday afternoon for the following zones...
Fire Weather Watch from Thursday afternoon through Thursday evening
for the following zones... NMZ104-106-108.