Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 201746 AAB

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1146 AM MDT Thu Jul 20 2017

SHRA/TSRA will focus over central and western NM today where an axis
of moist instability is sliding northwest across the region. Storm
motions will be toward the north/northwest btwn 15 and 20kt. Direct
hits will produce strong outflows and brief heavy rainfall. The best
chances will be near KGUP where the longest duration for TSRA is
expected. Storms are firing up quickly south of KABQ so VCTS may
occur earlier than projected. SHRA/TSRA will linger into the evening
along and west of the Cont Dvd where thick mid level cloud cover may
persist until sunrise. Another round of storms with even greater
coverage of heavy rainfall is likely Friday for central and western



.PREV DISCUSSION...312 AM MDT Thu Jul 20 2017...
A slight increase in thunderstorms is expected today, mostly in
western and south central New Mexico as moisture gradually begins to
seep back into the area. Temperatures will run a couple degrees
cooler in western New Mexico today, but the eastern plains will
remain warm to hot and just slightly above average for mid July. On
Friday, thunderstorms will become a bit more widespread, and by this
weekend much of northern and central New Mexico will observe
scattered to numerous storms in the forecast with temperatures
decreasing a few degrees below normal by Sunday.


High pressure will stay east of New Mexico today with winds aloft
veering some. Water vapor satellite imagery already shows winds
aloft having gained a bit of a southerly component and mid level
moisture advection is in progress. Forecast models peg the
southwestern and west central zones of NM faring the best for storm
coverage and also the Sacramento/Capitan mountains. The increase in
moisture and mid to upper level cloudiness should drop temperatures
down a few degrees in the southwestern quadrant of the forecast area.
Steering flow will be fairly light, and could pose a locally heavy
rainfall threat.

Into Friday high pressure will begin to split with one centroid
stretching farther east over Tennessee and another weak center
shaping up over Nevada/Utah. A weakness between these centers should
allow subtropical moisture to seep a bit farther north and east into
NM. Winds aloft will be very light and would not be surprised if an
ill-defined deformation zone tries to set up near or north of NM. At
any rate the relatively low 500 mb pressure heights should not be
able to suppress convection much, and the crop of storms should grow
more expansive through Friday afternoon and evening. Temperature
guidance is beginning to respond down a couple to a few degrees in
central to western zones where clouds and storms will build.

Westerly flow will attempt to sag into the central Rockies and plains
with a healthy slug of convection taking shape over Colorado and a
surface wind boundary extending east northeast into Kansas. Meanwhile
the western centroid of the high will become cut off and strengthen
slightly over Nevada. This will keep moisture intact over NM with the
Colorado convection potentially throwing out a mesoscale cold pool
that will lead to convection in north central NM. All-in-all
Saturday should be an active convective day with temperatures falling
a few degrees where the more robust storm coverage is anticipated.

Into Saturday night and Sunday, the forecast will turn more tricky as
the evolution of the aforementioned mesoscale cold pool and
associated surface wind shift will dictate many sensible weather
elements. The GFS and NAM model are both boasting a substantial slug
of convection and a widespread shift in winds over much of NM into
Sunday. While surface pressure/wind fields in the European do not
appear as contaminated by the convection, it does still introduce a
wind shift with storm coverage expanding into the east central to
northeaster zones of NM Sunday. High temperatures were nudged down a
few degrees as guidance is clearly getting skewed by increased
thunderstorm coverage, and overall confidence is growing in the
slightly cooler than average and wetter pattern for both Saturday and
Sunday, but the finer details are still being hashed out.

The Nevada high begins creeping back east next week, slowly crossing
from Utah into Colorado through Tuesday, and eventually into Kansas
by the middle of next week. While supplemental subtropical moisture
is not a given, it appears there should be plenty to recycle for at
least a near climatological convective regime through the first half
of the week.



Flow aloft over NM will become more southerly today as a weak
easterly wave over northern Mexico weakens and slides wwd and the
upper high over the southern plains becomes the dominant weather
player. Scattered thunderstorms will return to much of western NM
with isolated activity over the Sandias/Manzanos and Jemez. Very dry
air aloft over the Sangres and eastern plains will keep all but a
shower/storm or two from developing. Enough mid-level moisture
returns to the Sangres Friday for isolated activity. Scattered
convection is forecast for much of the area west of the central
mountain chain.

Saturday still looking like a very active thunderstorm day areawide
as the Four Corners high re-establishes itself over southern NV and
a nly wind maxima moves into northern NM. Scattered to numerous
afternoon thunderstorms will favor the western two-thirds of the
state with scattered evening convection expected across the eastern
plains during the evening. A few of the storms could become strong
to severe. Rain cooled air over south-central CO Saturday evening
sends a backdoor boundary swwd through the state Saturday night. GFS
shifts convective focus to ern NM Sunday along/near this boundary
while the ECMWF keeps the entire state active. In fact, the ECMWF
keeps convection going over much of the forecast area Sunday
evening, a rarity for it to keep convective activity going past 00Z.
GFS once again hits mainly ern NM with convection Monday afternoon
and evening while the ECMWF keeps most of the area quite active.
Tough call to pick one model over the other with a lot depending on
how strong the thermal low becomes over northeast AZ and where the
backdoor boundary ends up stalling.

Dewpoint temperatures remain in the upper 40s mountains to mid 50s
and lower 60s lowlands through the week, keeping fire weather
concerns to a minimum. ECMWF keeps the upper high over the Southern
Plains and the monsoon moisture plume over NM through the work week
while the GFS parks the upper high over CO and KS, drying things out
a bit over NM Tuesday through Thursday.





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