Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 222355

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
455 PM MST Thu Feb 22 2018

Upper-level trough departing NM late this afternoon. Snow has pretty
much ended. Drier air working into the state will provide VFR
conditions at all TAF sites tonight. Strong winds will develop once
again Friday as another upper trough approaches from the west. Gusts
around 40kt again likely at KLVS in the afternoon. Gusts generally
20kt to 30kt at the other TAF sites. Snow showers will develop Friday
over the northwest high terrain with ceilings lowering to MVFR at
times with occasional mt obscurations after 18z.


.PREV DISCUSSION...401 PM MST Thu Feb 22 2018...
A vast trough aloft over the western U.S. continues to push smaller
scale disturbances over the American Southwest, including New Mexico.
One disturbance is currently exiting northern New Mexico with snow
diminishing. The next weather system will arrive late Friday into
Saturday, bringing light snow to northwestern and north central New
Mexico, along with breezy to windy conditions. Snow amounts will be a
few inches or less Friday night and Saturday with the highest
amounts in the mountains near the Colorado-New Mexico border. Winds
will be strongest in the central to south central mountains and
highlands where gusts will likely exceed 50, if not 60 mph. A brief
clearing trend is expected Saturday afternoon, but temperatures will
fall back below average across most of northern and central New
Mexico. Yet another disturbance will cross northern New Mexico on
Sunday with brief snowfall over the northern mountains along with
continued breezy to windy conditions. Drier and more seasonable
temperatures are then expected on Monday before the next disturbance


A short wave perturbation is lifting northeastward over the New
Mexico-Colorado border with snow trending lighter over the northern
mountain zones. Will cancel the Winter Weather Advisory an hour early
to account for the diminishing trend. A mostly clear night is
expected overnight, but some orographically-anchored clouds could
linger over the northern mountains. There is some potential for
localized freezing fog tonight over the northwestern and north
central zones, but confidence was not high enough to introduce into
the forecast.

The long wave trough will inch eastward into Friday, introducing
perturbed southwesterly flow into NM by late afternoon. This could
spread sufficient upward forcing for some light precipitation over
the western zones before dusk Friday, only to shift into central
zones of NM through Saturday morning as the trough axis sweeps over
the state. Moisture is not as plentiful with this feature, but the
synoptic cold pool is hosting temperatures of -32 to -34 C, offering
plenty of dynamics that will complement orographics, mostly in the
north central to northwestern mountains of NM. Snow amounts appear to
be light late Friday through Saturday morning with just a few inches
of accumulation anticipated near the NM-CO border. Not that
temperatures will rebound much on Friday, but the passage of the
trough and cold front into early Saturday will set daytime highs
below normal by 10 to 20 degrees, with smaller departures in the
eastern plains.

The other big impact will be winds, especially for the central to
south central high terrain of the forecast area. Both the NAM and GFS
advertise 700 mb flow reaching almost 70 kt near the
Sacramento/Capitan/Guadalupe mountains near daybreak Saturday, and a
high wind watch might be needed. Saturday will see a diminishing of
precipitation by late morning, but it won`t exactly be a respite from
the weather. The cold front will leave a widespread breezy to windy,
and overall brisk, day for Saturday.

The next short wave trough, arriving Sunday as a clipper from the
northwest, will offer another brief-lived and transient shot of
precipitation for the northern mountains. Winds will retain quite a
bit of strength with temperatures being unable to rebound.

Finally on Monday, the flow will revert to a more southwesterly fetch
aloft, and temperatures will gain a few to several degrees, running
within a few degrees of climatology for late February. Dry conditions
will hold for Monday, but breezy to windy conditions will remain in
the northeastern highlands and plains, with surface winds also
changing direction as they are driven by a lee side surface cyclone.

The next trough or low will cross New Mexico late Tuesday or
Wednesday with some differences on timing and strength among the
forecast models. This progressive feature will not stay long, but
will add another bout of wind and precipitation.




While one upper level trough exits off to the east this afternoon,
another will approach from the west Friday. Southwest winds in the
higher terrain will remain brisk tonight and increase on Friday.
Chuska and Tusas Mountain Ranges as well as the far northwest
highlands are the favored areas for accumulating snow Friday evening
and overnight.

Very strong to high winds are forecast for the southwest and south-
central mountains Friday night. As the above mentioned upper level
trough moves through the state Saturday morning, winds will shift to
northwesterly with strong to very strong winds likely from the
central mountain chain ewd to the TX line. Relative humidity values
near or below 15% along with strong west winds are forecast for the
eastern plains Friday and Saturday but with low to mid Haines values
and high temperatures near to below seasonal averages, will forego
issuing any fire weather highlights. The next upper level trough is
expected to slide east through the state Saturday night and Sunday
morning, resulting in more wind for central and southern areas and
snow for the northern mountains.

Monday continues to look like a dry day in between upper troughs
with breezy south and southwest winds areawide. Weather prediction
models agree that a deep upper level trough/low will move over AZ
Tuesday, sliding east into NM Tuesday night or Wednesday. Jury is
still out on how much this system will weaken as it moves ewd
through the state but at this point, western NM stands the best shot
at wetting precipitation in the form of snow.





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