Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 200543 AAB
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1143 PM MDT Sun Mar 19 2017
06Z TAF CYCLE
Ridge of high pressure over TX and an upper trough developing over
the west coast will create west/southwest flow over NM thru Monday.
A thin patch of mid level moisture over northern Mexico will slide
north in this flow and attempt to squeeze out a couple gusty virga
showers by late afternoon along the Cont Dvd. Otherwise, very dry
and warm conditions continue w/ a few more record highs Monday.
.PREV DISCUSSION...250 PM MDT Sun Mar 19 2017...
Dry and unusually warm conditions will persist through Wednesday with
increasing afternoon and evening breezes. Highs on Monday will
approach record values and will likely break records at a number of
Eastern Plains locales such as Clayton, Tucumcari, Clovis and Roswell.
A backdoor cold front will push into the Eastern Plains and bring
highs down a little bit closer to normal for Wedesday. A Pacific
cold front will push east across the area Thursday bringing strong
winds and increasing chances for precipitation, especially over the
mountains. Cooling behind the front will be short-lived, with highs
back above normal areawide by next Saturday.
Another unusually warm afternoon prevailing with highs well above
normal and breaking record values at a number of east central and
northeast New Mexico locales. The record warmth will persist through
Wednesday, with more record/near-record highs on tap. At the
Albuquerque Sunport, today will be day 11 in the already
unprecedented streak (for March) of highs 70+ with 3 more days
forecast prior to a Pacific cold front on Thursday. This is the 2nd
warmest March on record (so far) at the Albuquerque Sunport and 3rd
warmest if the threaded data is included (going back to 1891). A
well developed cumulus crop is noted on the visible satellite imagery
across southern New Mexico and a mid level moisture slug (relatively
speaking) is advancing north from Mexico as seen in the latest water
vapor satellite imagery. This trend is forecast to continue
overnight across much of our area and provide sufficient moisture
for a daytime-heating triggered crop of dry convection Monday, with
dry lightning a real possibility (see Fire Weather discussion below
for details). A backdoor cold front is still on track to slide
southwest into the Eastern Plains Tuesday night and will provide some
cooling there going into Wedesday. Elsewhere, well above normal
temperatures with some near-record highs will persist.
12z medium range model suite in better agreement with track of the
upper low on Thu/Fri and associated Pacific cold front. 12z GFS was
the deepest at 500mb with strong lee side cyclogenesis forecast.
Strong winds, both ahead of and behind the Pacific front, look to be
the most significant impact with this system, but significant snow
accumulation is also possible above 7500 feet with the Northern
Mountains the main beneficiaries. Strong convergence along the
Pacific front will trigger a round of storms late Thursday, but
initiation is being modeled by both the 12z ECMWF and GFS just to our
east over the Texas Panhandle. Cooling behind the front will be
short-lived, with above normal highs forecast areawide by Saturday.
Both the 12z ECMWF and GFS bring an upper level trough across the
Central/Southern Rockies late next weekend, with winds being the most
prominent impact across our area. Looking out toward day 10, both
models show a potent upper low progressing toward New Mexico from
over the Great Basin/Desert SW. Needless to say, previous model
cycles indicating a pattern shift look to be on track with good
run-to-run consistency now.
Critical fire weather conditions will continue this afternoon across
the plains, generally within 50 miles either side of the I-40
corridor. A couple hours of single digit humidities have already
been noted across northeast NM, and 3 to 5 more hours are expected.
Poor to fair recoveries are expected area wide tonight.
Less wind is expected on Monday, but temperatures will remain well
above normal, and approach or break records for the date. Very
modest mid level moisture will continue to inch into NM under the
weakening ridge aloft. Should see more cumulus clouds develop over
the high terrain, with some sprinkles/virga showers. A stray
lightning strike is also not out of the question. Several hours of
single digit humidities remain likely across the northeast.
Locally breezy conditions are expected for Tuesday. Temperatures
will be 15 to 25 degrees above normal, and humidities will be below
15 percent for much of the area. A few hours of single digit
humidities are expected for the Rio Grande Valley and points just
west. Spotty critical fire weather conditions are possible for an
hour or two across the northeast.
Models have changed considerably since yesterday and now are more in
line with each other for the late week system. An upper level trough
will organize off the California coast on Wednesday before shifting
over AZ early Thursday and finally over northern NM as a closed low
Thursday night. A back door front that will be hovering across far
NE NM on Tuesday afternoon will slide south and west Tuesday night,
perhaps reaching the east slopes of the central mountain chain if
the trough is organized enough to help draw the low level front
westward. Moisture behind the front should boost humidity recoveries
into the good and excellent categories. Yesterday, and even this
morning, it appeared the front would mix out on Wednesday, but now
this does not appear to be the case since the upper level system
appears to be arriving later. Thus, south to southeasterly flow
will persist across the plains on Wednesday, and the moisture will
have a harder time mixing out. As a result, the area of concern for
critical fire weather conditions has decreased. Main area of concern
now is across Zone 107 and near Gallup. The moisture does mix out
across the plains on Thursday, but moisture will be advecting into
western NM as the system and an associated Pacific front shifts into
the state. Southwesterly winds will quickly become westerly on
Thursday and increase behind the front. Widespread critical fire
weather conditions are still expected across the plains, while
wetting precipitation will be found across northern and western NM.
Even some snow may fall over the mountains.
As the system exits northeast NM early Friday, wrap around
precipitation will continue over the north and west, generally
decreasing in coverage as the day progresses. Shortwave ridging
looks to be in store for Saturday.
Wednesday should be the last day for well above normal temperatures
area wide. The Pacific front on Thursday should lower high
temperatures to below normal across the west but will remain above
normal, just not as much, across the east. Widespread Haines indices
of 5 and 6 will also persist through Wednesday before lowering on
Thursday and Friday. Excellent ventilation remains the rule through
the work week.