Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 271755 AAB

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1155 AM MDT Mon Mar 27 2017

An upper low deepening over northwestern AZ today will move east/
southeast tonight and lead to extended period of unsettled weather
over NM thru Wednesday. The challenge today was nailing down the
timing and placement of -SHRA and associated lower cigs/vsbys with
huge uncertainty from the latest guidance. Short-range models show
mid level cloud decks will thicken and lower from west to east with
-SHRA most likely over KFMN and KGUP by 02Z. Models are hinting at
an area of -SHRA developing quickly with lowering decks near 040
within central NM, including the Rio Grande Valley aft 06Z. Tried
to hit the trends but overall confidence is very low. The overall
coverage of -SHRA and perhaps some -TSRA will increase overnight
all areas and continue into Tuesday morning.



.PREV DISCUSSION...253 AM MDT Mon Mar 27 2017...
An unsettled weather pattern will continue for the foreseeable
future, with two storm systems forecast to hit New Mexico over the
next seven days. The first system will begin impacting the area
tonight, then slowly move overhead through Wednesday. Precipitation
chances will ramp up through mid week as a result, with the best
chances over the mountains and across the northeast quarter.
Significant snow amounts are possible in the Northern Mountains and
across the Raton Ridge and Johnson Mesa. Thunder will likely mix in
with snow and rain on Tuesday across much of northern and central New
Mexico. Temperatures will cool to below normal with this system, but
warm up quickly by Thursday in advance of the second system forecast
to impact the area Friday through Saturday. Snow levels will be lower
with this second system, which will usher in colder air that will
last through the weekend.


The wave train continues, with the next system currently pushing
into the Pacific NW and northern California per the latest water
vapor satellite imagery. Ahead of this system today, daytime
temperatures will warm to at or above normal most areas despite
increasing mid and high clouds. Precipitation chances will ramp up
overnight into Tuesday, with thunder becoming more likely given the
latest NAM12 instability parameters. Graupel or small hail likely as
well, but across the higher elevations accumulating snow may become
problematic. This is especially true Tuesday night into Wednesday
morning across the Sangre De Cristos, Raton Ridge/Johnson Mesa and
into the Northeast Highlands/Plains when snow levels will fall and
low level forcing from a backdoor front will combine with deformation
aloft on the north side of the upper low. Winter weather advisories
will almost definitely be required, with some potential for winter
storm warning-type impacts at Raton Pass and in the Sangres. Our
forecast storm total snow amounts through Wednesday show between
4-8" in Jemez/Tusas Mtns, 10-12" at Raton pass and 12-15" across the
higher peaks of the Sangres. Windy conditions are forecast behind
the backdoor push late Tuesday night into Wednesday across the
northeast quarter and will help to create potentially hazardous
travel conditions. Cooling with this system will send daytime
temperatures below normal most areas Tue/Wed.

Rapid warming is forecast Thursday with a transient ridge in advance
of the next system in the wave train, forecast to impact our area
Friday through at least Saturday. This system will be colder
initially, with lower snow levels, but both the 00z ECMWF and GFS
show the upper low filling quickly Saturday. Temperatures will take
a dip back below normal areawide Saturday and likely continue below
normal Sunday.



Mid and high clouds will increase from west to east today, ahead of
a deep upper level trough dropping southeast through the Great
Basin. Increasing southwest winds aloft will mix down to the surface
this afternoon with gusts approaching 30-35 mph across the west-
central mountains and from the east slopes of the central mountain
chain ewd to the northeast and central highlands. Minimum relative
humidity values are forecast to remain in the upper teens across the
eastern plains but cannot rule out an hour or two of local critical
condtions. Clouds will keep Haines and mixing heights in check this
afternoon despite high temperatures rising to slightly above average
levels for the date.

Models agree that the above mentioned trough will slow and close off
over the Four Corners around sunrise Tuesday. Scattered showers,
mountain snow showers and isolated thunderstorms will develop from
the central mountain chain west Tuesday. Then as the closed low
moves east across northern NM Tuesday night, the northeast third of
the state will be the favored area for showers and storms. Models
now sending the upper level dry slot ahead of the upper low into
west TX by Tuesday afternoon, allowing plenty of mid clouds to keep
critical conditions in check. The upper low is then forecast to
drift slowly southward Wednesday morning, keeping an organized band
of moderate to heavy precipitation going across the northeast
quarter of the state Wednesday. Snow levels are progged to drop to
near 5000 feet Wednesday across northeast and east-central areas
with significant snowfall possible in the Sangres and northeast

Another Pacific trough will drop southeastward through the Great
Basin to near the Four Corners Friday. GFS remains slower and takes
the low farther south than the ECMWF Saturday night and Sunday,
resulting in better chances for showers and thunderstorms for much
of the area Sunday.





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