Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 020602 AAB

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1102 PM MST Thu Dec 1 2016

Cigs continue to thicken and lower. VFR will prevail through at
least 15Z Fri areawide. Thereafter, light snow showers may develop
across the northern mountains. By the early afternoon hours, low
clouds will develop across the east central and southeast plains
as low level easterly upslope flow takes shape. A few, mainly
rain, showers will be possible, but the bulk of the precipitation
across the east, and particularly southeast, will occur after 06Z
Sat and should change over to snow. MVFR and perhaps IFR cigs will
be possible across the east central and southeast plains after
23Z Fri.



.PREV DISCUSSION...330 PM MST Thu Dec 1 2016...
Batches of high cirrus clouds are drifting across the Land of
Enchantment with cooler than average temperatures persisting. Into
Friday, the weather pattern will start to shift as a low pressure
system quickly takes shape over Arizona and draws in additional
moisture. This system will also induce an east wind over much of
New Mexico, with gusts accelerating through some canyons within
the central mountain chain of the state. Precipitation will begin
to develop during the day Friday, initially in northern and
eastern New Mexico, before becoming primarily focused over
southern and eastern parts of the state Friday night into
Saturday. Wintry precipitation will mix in with a few to several
inches of snow expected in the higher terrain, especially in south
central New Mexico. Precipitation will steadily taper off on
Sunday as the low pressure system swings southeastward into Old
Mexico and eventually pushes into central Texas.


Abundant high clouds are present in the current westerly flow
aloft. However, the flow is already visibly showing signs of
buckling on satellite imagery as a stout jet dives southward
along the CA coast. This will carve out a deep trough tonight,
with cyclogenesis occurring late Friday into Friday night. Minimum
temperatures tonight will be milder due to the cloud cover with
winds staying inconsequential.

As the flow aloft turns southwesterly on Friday, the mid
tropospheric low will deepen over southwestern AZ. At the surface,
a synoptic east wind will be drawn toward the low. As this
easterly flow works farther into NM and surpasses the central
mountain chain, gusts will accelerate. Canyon winds will likely be
strongest Friday night in the Carrizozo area due to the southward
jog of the upper low and its associated surface gradient. As far
as precipitation is concerned, diffluence ahead of the developing
low and the associated deformation zone will initiate snow over
the northern NM mountains with some splotchy showers gradually
taking shape in the eastern plains of the state Friday afternoon
in the easterly upslope flow. A couple of inches of accumulation
will be possible in the northern mountains Friday, but overall
amounts will not be too impactful there.

Precipitation begins to crank up more over southern and eastern
NM into Friday night. Snow accumulations will begin over the
southwestern and south central mountains with the latter chain
likely faring better due to better juxtaposition of moisture and
dynamics. The low will dig into Sonora, Mexico before dawn
Saturday, and as temperatures cool some challenging profiles will
develop in the east central plains of NM, potentially leading to a
wintry mix of precipitation types. Forecast soundings for the east
central plains indicate some rain, followed by a brief window for
some possible freezing drizzle just before dawn Saturday, and
then some snow. The temporal window for boundary layer saturation
seems limited, so this will pose a challenging precipitation type
forecast for early Saturday morning, followed by a changeover to
rain during the day Saturday, and likely turning wintry again into
Sunday morning. For now, confidence is highest in snow
accumulations being most impactful for the Sacramento/Capitan
mountains and surrounding high plains/foothills with more
manageable impacts from the wintry precip in the east central
plains. That being said, a Winter Storm Watch will be hoisted for
a few south central zones of the forecast area.

Temperatures Saturday will run 5 to 15 degrees below average with
the precipitation favoring the southern and eastern tiers of the
forecast area. The low will round south of NM Saturday night with
precipitation nudging farther south and east with it, but it will
still persist in these areas Sunday and even some into Sunday
night. Some clearing in northern zones Sunday could assist
temperatures in their strive to reach normalcy.

Precipitation should fully evacuate NM into the daytime Monday
with a brisk west northwest flow aloft lingering in its wake. This
stiff flow will buckle yet again with differing model solutions on
the extent and resulting sensible weather for early to middle
parts of next week. The GFS remains more progressive and drier
for the middle of next week while the European model develops a
sharper trough with a more pronounced baroclinic zone that would
generate much more precipitation for NM. For now, the forecast has
been leaning toward the wetter, colder European solution.



Quiet fire wx conditions still for nearly the next 24 hours before
we see a turn toward wetter conditions later Fri night into the
better part of the weekend, especially across approx the se half of
NM.  A back door front will slip south and west across the fcst
area between Fri and Sat morn bringing some upslope cooling and
moistening to locales east of central mtn chain. Additionally low
pressure aloft will be dropping south across west AZ with an
eventual destination some distance south of the border in northern
Mexico. Some improvement in ventilation rates expected Fri aftn,
but almost exclusively confined to south central and perhaps sw NM.
Otherwise expect poor to only locally fair rates elsewhere through
the weekend and perhaps even Monday. The wetting precip potential
alluded to earlier should favor south central and southeast
portions of the forecast area and probably peak Fri night into
Sat.  Upper low will be slow to pull east of Mexico across west
Texas late in the weekend, but a drying/warming trend will begin in
all but the se third of the state Sunday as ridging begins to
expand into the state.

Winds will be on the uptrend Monday and espec Tue, with a deepening
lee side trough and increasing winds aloft. While vent rates may
improve a bit Mon, much greater improvement seems more likely Tue.
For later Tue into Wed the ECMWF fcst model still remains
significantly colder and wetter than the GFS for much of the fcst



Winter Storm Watch from late Friday night through Sunday morning
for the following zones... NMZ526-539-540.


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