Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 160532

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1032 PM MST Mon Jan 15 2018

The backdoor cold front which moved across eastern and central NM
Monday morning and afternoon is moving slowly to the west across
western NM this evening. Behind the front, strong canyon gap winds
continue from the east in the Albuquerque area and from the southeast
in the Santa Fe area with gusts between 25 and 35 knots. Ceilings in
the eastern plains have improved to VFR and are generally 035 to 060
at 05Z. Areas of freezing drizzle are expected to continue across
the northeastern plains and eastern foothills of the Sangre de
Cristos. Freezing drizzle in included in the KLVS and KTCC forecasts
through 10Z and may be needed to be extended through dawn. IFR
ceilings at KLVS and MVFR ceilings at KSAF will transition to VFR
after 14Z. West of the central mountains, winds should be light with
VFR conditions through Tuesday evening.



.PREV DISCUSSION...1017 PM MST Mon Jan 15 2018...
Gap winds are ripping through canyons in the central mt chain late
this evening as strong cold advection shifts westward behind a
potent cold front. Winds are at advisory level below canyons within
the area from Placitas to KABQ and points south toward Abo Pass. Have
increased speeds in gridded forecast to reflect stronger winds but
guidance indicating winds will taper for the remainder of tonight,
so no Wind Advisory will be issued.



.PREV DISCUSSION...854 PM MST Mon Jan 15 2018...
IR satellite showing low clouds extending from the northeast and east
central plains to the central mountains in moist upslope flow behind
the backdoor cold front which moved across eastern and central NM
earlier today. Model soundings show low top stratus clouds capable of
producing light freezing drizzle and, as the boundary layer cools,
areas of freezing fog through 15Z Tuesday across this area. A winter
weather advisory has been issued for freezing drizzle and fog
through 15Z Tuesday, as cold surface temperatures in the teens and
mid 20s will allow for light accumulations of ice on road surfaces
overnight into mid morning Tuesday in these areas.


.PREV DISCUSSION...501 PM MST Mon Jan 15 2018...
The strong backdoor cold front continues to move to the west this
evening and is near the continental divide at 00Z. The front will
continue to move slowly westward to near the AZ/NM border by late
tonight/early Tuesday. East to southeast upslope flow will continue
east of the central mountains overnight with widespread MVFR ceilings
across most of the area and localized IFR ceilings and fog along the
eastern foothills. East to southeast canyon winds will gust to
between 25 and 35 knots on the west slopes of the central mountains,
including at KABQ and KSAF through 12Z Tuesday. Winds will diminish
Tuesday in the eastern plains and central mountains, with VFR
conditions returning to the eastern plains and eastern foothills of
the central mountains from mid to late morning Tuesday.


.PREV DISCUSSION...340 PM MST Mon Jan 15 2018...
A strong backdoor cold front will continue to push westward through
the state this evening and overnight. Much colder air will continue
to move in behind the front, especially across eastern New Mexico.
Tuesday will be the coldest day of the week areawide with
temperatures across the eastern plains as much as 25 degrees below
average. Central and western areas will be 10 to 15 degrees cooler.
A slow warm-up is expected Wednesday and moreso on Thursday as high
pressure builds overhead. A Pacific storm system remains on track for
the weekend.


Modified Arctic backdoor cold front is now moving into the eastern
side of the RGV. The front has made it through the Gallisteo drainage
and to the Santa Fe and Los Alamos airports. Winds at ABQ Sunport
just turned southeast so the front is here. Expect cold air to
continue pushing wwd this evening and into tonight, reaching the AZ
border around midnight. Areas of light snow and fog will develop over
the northeast quarter this evening. Light snow (less than 2")
accumulation may impact travel in Union and western Colfax Counties
overnight and into Tuesday morning, including along I-25 near Raton
and Raton Pass. Low temperatures across the eastern plains will drop
into the single digits and lower teens by Tuesday morning. Tuesday
still on track to be the coldest day of the week areawide with
temperatures modifying Wednesday and especially Thursday. The weak
upper level trough/closed low forecast to drop southeastward from the
Great Basin and into western NM Tuesday night and Wednesday now
appears so weak it may just result in some mid clouds and perhaps
virga over the west- central and southwest mountains. Models agree
that the weak trough/closed low sill drop southeast into TX Wednesday
night as an upper level ridge folds over NM.

GFS and ECMWF agree that the above mentioned ridge slides east of NM
Friday, allowing southwest flow aloft to move over NM. Winds increase
most areas Friday as a Pacific trough and associated surface cold
front approach from the west. GFS and ECMWF are in very good
agreement with regard to timing and strength of this upper trough for
Saturday night. Both models paint the heaviest precip over the
northwest quarter. Typically, with a strong southwest flow aloft,
portions of the Sangres can do well with regard to snow in addition
to the Chuska, northwest Jemez and Tusas Mountains. There is,
however, a good amount of uncertainty as to how far south this upper
trough will swing through the state. Global models agree that this upper
trough will close off over ern CO Sunday morning with a wrap-around
area of snow across far northeast NM Sunday morning.

Operational GFS and ECWMF solutions diverge after Sunday. ECWMF
digs the upper level trough over the Intermountain West farther
south, developing a deep closed low over Four Corners late-day
Tuesday. The GFS, however, keeps the trough an open wave that
remains mainly north of NM. Both models keep the upper level pattern
across the western U.S. progressive into early next week.



Strong cold front has reached the east slopes of the central mt
chain and pushed into the Santa Fe area. The front is expected to
push into the rest of the RGV by this evening. There may be some
light snow in the northeast and along the east slopes of the central
mountain chain into tonight but any accumulations are not expected
to amount to more than an inch or so and mainly over the Northeast
Highlands. Humidities will be increased tonight especially central
and east with colder overnight low temperatures.

Tuesday will be dry but cold. Clouds will reluctantly give way to
sunshine, mainly north of Interstate 40. Widespread poor
ventilation expected.

A weak upper level disturbance will track over western and southern
New Mexico Tuesday night into Wednesday. This looks to be a very
light precipitation producer for the western mountains. Temperatures
will moderate some, but it will remain cool on Wednesday with below
normal highs across the south and east. Widespread poor ventilation
expected again Wednesday.

A ridge of high pressure will temporarily build over New Mexico
Thursday then exit in favor of increasing southwest to westerly flow
Friday. Both days will be dry with a warming trend as highs climb
above normal again. Widespread poor vent rates continue Thursday but
increasing winds and mixing heights will improve rates to fair to
good Friday over the western and central higher terrain. Relative
humidities will decrease Wednesday and Thursday before changing
little Friday. That said, with increasing winds Friday, isolated
critical fire weather conditions could develop in the afternoon over
the East Central Plains.

A more substantial storm system could impact northern and central
New Mexico this weekend with the hope for a more widespread and
significant precipitation event. So far, the northern mountains
could be the favored areas for snow, but winds could be strong south
of Interstate 40. There is plenty of time for the forecast models to
change their outlook though.


Winter Weather Advisory until 8 AM MST Tuesday for the following
zones... NMZ515-522-523-527>534.


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