Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 191247 AAA

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
647 AM MDT Sun Mar 19 2017

Another round of IFR conditions and low clouds is expected across
the southeast plains early this morning as a broad upper level trough
crosses the Pacific northwest and our ridge of high pressure aloft
begins to break down. Models typically under forecast how far
northwest the low level moisture advects in this scenario, so this
forecast maintains a brief period of IFR conditions in ROW early this
morning. That said confidence in ROW`s low clouds is shaken a bit by
the strength of the lee trough that has developed across northeast
and east central areas. The strong lee trough also decreases the
chance these clouds will reach Curry County. Stronger flow aloft and
the surface lee trough will result in breezy to windy conditions
along and east of the Sangre de Cristo, Sandia and Manzano Mountains
from late this morning through sunset. Also, an early season start
to density altitude problems is possible this afternoon across
eastern NM, where temperatures will rise up to 30 degrees above
normal. This could make it hard to clear some of those mesas and
buttes on takeoff.



.PREV DISCUSSION...329 AM MDT Sun Mar 19 2017...
A ridge of high pressure over west TX will generate record warmth
over NM through early this week. Very dry, hot, and windy conditions
today over eastern NM will create dangerous fire conditions. A thin
layer of moisture will move north into NM Monday and generate a few
dry showers and storms with gusty winds near the higher terrain. An
upper trough will approach the west coast Tuesday and Wednesday and
increase winds over NM. This trough will move through the southern
Rockies Thursday and really crank up the winds over eastern NM, as
well as increase the chances for rain and very high terrain snow
over northern NM. Temperatures will cool closer to normal with this
system Thursday and Friday.


Record heat will peak the next few days with some really impressive
numbers for late March. 00Z GFS 700mb temps will soar to between +9C
and +11C across NM thru Tuesday as a ridge of high pressure breaks
down across the Permian Basin. These values are 99th percentile for
late March and more typical of mid May. A surface low center over
the TX/OK panhandles will result in downslope flow across eastern NM
with high temps in the lower 90s til around Tuesday! These readings
are nearly 30F above normal.

Clouds will begin increasing in this pattern as a thin layer of mid
level moisture advects north from Mexico and high clouds increase
from the west ahead of an upper trough drifting east toward the west
coast. Sufficient moisture and instability will result in a couple
virga showers mainly over southern NM today then over a larger area
of central NM Monday. This activity may produce dry lightning which
could be problematic given the windy weather arriving Tuesday into

700-500mb layer winds will steadily increase Tuesday and Wednesday
as the upper trough organizes off the west coast. Deep mixing will
create widespread breezy to windy conditions Tuesday and Wednesday.
See the fire wx discussion below for details on critical fire wx
conditions. The main jet core is expected to slide over southern NM
Thursday and likely result in at least wind advisory conditions over
the eastern plains. Meanwhile, models are trending slightly wetter
with the Pacific frontal passage into northwestern NM Thursday and
Thursday night. Little precip makes it to the Rio Grande Valley and
nothing for the plains except wind. Strong cold advection with this
system allows temps to cool closer to normal with the coldest low
temps in at least 10 days.

The potential is increasing for a more active pattern to develop
behind this system. Extended guidance and ensembles are showing a
wave train developing over the western CONUS through much of next




The long stretch of record and near record warmth will continue
today through Monday. High temperatures will generally vary around
16 to 26 degrees above normal each day. Haines Indices will mostly
vary from 5-6, with strong atmospheric mixing each afternoon.  An
upper level trough will cross the northern Rockies today causing the
ridge aloft to begin to break down. Stronger flow aloft and a
surface lee trough will work with the strong atmospheric mixing to
produce breezy to windy conditions along and east of the Sangre de
Cristo, Sandia and Manzano Mountains. Because of a surface low over
the northeast corner of New Mexico, the strongest winds will be
found along and just north of the I-40 corridor from Clines Corners
eastward. The westerly downslope flow will scour out yesterday`s
improved moisture with humidities plummeting below 10% across most
of the forecast area. We will issue a Red Flag Warning for the
eastern plains this afternoon and early evening, excluding Union and
Roosevelt Counties where winds won`t quite meet criteria.  The
northeast and east central highlands near and east of Las Vegas and
Clines Corners will also experience red flag conditions for several
hours today, but the coverage will be too small to issue a warning
for either of those fire weather zones.

In the wake of today`s upper level trough temperatures will begin to
trend downward Monday, as another weak shortwave trough crosses the
central Rockies. Winds will weaken on Monday while remaining gusty
as the aforementioned surface low spreads over a broader portion of
the northeast and east central plains. In the wake of Monday`s
shortwave, and another weak one passing north of the area on
Tuesday, a back door cold front is now progged to plunge into the
eastern plains Tuesday afternoon and night.  If the GFS is right,
this front may reach all the way to the east slopes of the central
mountain chain by Wednesday morning.  This will probably cause
humidities to rise above critical levels across the plains of Union
County Tuesday, but strong southwest winds will scour out the
moisture on Wednesday. Haines values will generally persist in the 4
to 6 range Tuesday and Wednesday, though values will begin to fall
along the western border as an upper level trough approaches from
the west.

Models bring the upper level trough across NM from the west
Wednesday night through Thursday night.  The system may pinch off a
closed low at some point over northern NM if the ECMWF is right.
Winds aloft will strengthen before the system arrives on Wednesday,
and there will continue to be strong atmospheric mixing with
temperatures varying around 12 to 20 degrees above normal. As a
result, several hours of critical fire weather conditions are
expected along and east of the central mountain chain Wednesday
afternoon, with briefer and more locally critical conditions expected
farther west. Like the Haines Indices, humidities will begin to
improve above critical thresholds along the western border on
Wednesday. Precipitation with the storm system will favor the western
and northern mountains Wednesday night through Thursday, with wrap
around moisture lingering over northern areas Thursday night and
possibly across the plains into Friday. The 700 mb temperatures are
forecast to fall to around -2 to -4 C, so the mountains will probably
see some snow. Winds will peak with the storm system on Thursday
when breezy to windy conditions are expected areawide. Locations
along and east of the central mountain chain will probably feel wind
gusts in the 50 to potentially 60 mph range. There will be a
potential for another round of critical fire weather conditions east
of the central mountain chain on Thursday.

A ridge will build over the area from the west again on Friday, but
another approaching trough may shift the ridge eastward with more
strong wind possible Saturday.



Red Flag Warning from 1 PM this afternoon to 8 PM MDT this evening
for the following zones... NMZ104-108.


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