Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 230129 AAB
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
629 PM MST Wed Feb 22 2017
Allowed wind advisory to expire although not exactly sure what`s
going on at KGUP wind wise as other available obs in the area not
nearly as energetic. Otherwise, left high wind watch intact although
some areas outside the watch have hefty winds forecast for later
tonight into Thursday as well.
.PREV DISCUSSION...438 PM MST Wed Feb 22 2017...
00Z TAF CYCLE
Sw to wly mt top winds to strengthen next 12-18 hours as sfc low
sets up over se CO and deepens. Mid level moisture to produce lcl
mvfr cigs/vsbys in showers with brief mt obscurations nw and north
central NM. Aft 23/14Z west winds gusting to around 45-55kt possible
along and east of the central mt chain with gusts of 35-45kt expected
elsewhere while mid to high level moisture diminishes.
.PREV DISCUSSION...325 PM MST Wed Feb 22 2017...
Strengthening winds aloft are moving into the Land of Enchantment,
ahead of a Pacific trough that will approach the Four Corners region
overnight. Expect breezy to windy conditions to persist into the
early evening with strong to severe winds buffeting much of northern
and central New Mexico on Thursday. While some spotty light showers
and thunderstorms will be possible, namely over the northern
mountains of the state, mostly dry conditions will persist in the
eastern tier of New Mexico and in portions of the Rio Grande valley.
The dry and windy conditions Thursday will create a recipe for
critical fire weather conditions, and therefore outdoor burning is
A ribbon of high level moisture entered NM earlier today and has
since top-down moistened some with some patches of saturation
presumed to be as low as 500mb in some central to north central
locations of the forecast area. A few sparse and weak echoes are
beginning to show up on ABX radar, and so some sprinkles and perhaps
a dry lightning strike will be possible into the early evening with
light measurable rain/snow. Into tonight, forecast low temperatures
are expected to be quite mild tonight with the increasing winds and
prolonged mixing, especially on ridges and exposed mid slopes. The
tricky part will be cold air advection that will ensue after midnight
as a cold front attends the Pacific perturbation that will skim
north of the NM-CO border.
The winds aloft will stay at 40 to 50 kt over a large majority of the
forecast into Thursday. A surface low will also deepen to nearly
990mb over southwestern KS on Thursday, leaving a stout 10-12 mb
surface west-east oriented pressure gradient behind over NM. Couple
these elements with relatively deep mixing, and strong to severe
surface winds should transpire Thursday with highest speeds hitting
the central mountain chain into the eastern plains. Temperatures will
fall below normal in northwestern NM Thursday, stay a few degrees
either side of average in central parts of the state, and run 5 to 10
degrees in the eastern plains of the state. Any precipitation will
be fairly light and generally confined to the northern mountains with
dry conditions prevailing elsewhere Thursday.
With cold air advection aloft continuing into Friday, the
temperatures will fall short of Thursday`s highs areawide. The belt
of mid level winds will not slacken much either, and breezy to windy
conditions will persist with just a few stray showers lingering over
the northern high country.
Into Saturday, the flow aloft remains stiff and zonal as the next
short wave trough dives southeastward into CA. Temperatures will
rebound a few to several degrees, but will still be at or shy of
normal. A new lee side surface trough will redevelop, instigating
The pattern remains quite progressive with Sunday`s short wave
trough passage, followed by another one on Tuesday. Bouts of strong
winds will accompany each while precipitation favors the central to
western zones, in particular the north central to northwestern ones.
Red Flag Warnings remain in effect for the Northeast Highlands,
Northeast Plains and East Central Plains until 6pm MST. On Thursday,
Red Flag Warnings remain in effect for these three areas as well as
the Middle Rio Grande Valley and the Sandia, Manzano and Gallinas
Mountains. Breezy to windy conditions today will increase on
Thursday. Very strong to damaging winds are expected Thursday.
Dewpoints have been very slow to drop this afternoon, with the
exception of far northeast NM where Red Flag criteria is currently
being met. Elsewhere, RH`s have stayed higher than forecast, but
should still decrease slightly this afternoon. Additionally, the mid
and high clouds streaming in from the west is keeping temperatures
slightly lower than expected across western NM. Fair to good
humidity recoveries are expected tonight.
Also tonight, an approaching trough will steer a strong jet over NM
while precipitation will favor areas north of the state. By early
Thursday morning, mountain top winds will increase to between 50 and
60 kts. Thus, expect peaks to get very windy early Thursday morning.
Though mixing heights will not be as high as today, it will still be
strong mixing for February. This combined with a 990mb sfc low over
southeast CO into southwest KS and a strong Pacific front plowing
from west to east, Thursday afternoon will be windy areawide. The
strongest winds are expected along and east of the central mountain
chain where there is stronger influence from the surface low as well
as the mid level jet. Thus, widespread critical fire weather
conditions are expected below significant snow pack across zones 103,
104, 106, 107 and 108. The Pacific front will usher in much cooler
temperatures areawide, but high temperatures will still remain above
normal in the aforementioned zones. A strong dry slot will also be
ushered in behind the Pacific Front, leading to rapidly decreasing
dewpoints. A few hours of single digit humidities will be possible
across the lower Rio Grande Valley and portions of the East Central
Friday will be much cooler behind the front, but it will remain
windy and very dry. Increased wind speeds area wide. Could see gusts
upwards of 50 mph on Friday from the central highlands toward Clovis
and Portales. Minimum relative humidities will be similar to
Thursday as well. Only ingredients precluding a Fire Weather Watch
issuance at this time are below normal temperatures and low to
moderate Haines indices. That said, some concern exists for zone 108
(East Central Plains). If any zone was to be included in a future
Fire Weather Watch, it would likely be this zone since temps are
only a few degrees below normal, and it is this zone where the
strongest winds and lowest RH`s are forecast.
Strong zonal flow aloft will be the rule on Saturday. Winds at the
surface will not be as strong since the gradient will relax
somewhat. Nonetheless, spotty critical fire weather conditions are
possible across northeast NM. On Sunday, a fast moving shortwave
will cross northern NM. The associated jet will cross the southern
half of the state, allowing winds to increase once again. Have
bumped up wind speeds considerably south of I-40 on Sunday
afternoon. As a result, critical fire weather conditions appear
possible across the east central plains again. However, Haines
indices look to be low or very low at this time.
On Monday, flow aloft will quickly transition back to the southwest
as the next trough approaches the state. This trough should bring a
decent amount of moisture with it, so while there will be more wind,
there will also be some precipitation, favoring the northwest half
of the state on Monday and Tuesday. Breezy to windy conditions are
expected Monday areawide, but Tuesday may be another strong wind
event for the plains as a surface low deepens near 997mb over SE CO
and another strong jet crosses over NM. More critical fire weather
conditions are possible for eastern NM.
With strong winds expected nearly every day, excellent ventilation
rates are expected for the next week for the majority of the area.
Red Flag Warning from noon to 7 PM MST Thursday for the following
High Wind Watch from Thursday morning through Thursday afternoon
for the following zones... NMZ515-521>524-526>540.