Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 271146 AAA
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
546 AM MDT Thu Apr 27 2017
12Z TAF CYCLE
Light rain and mtn snow will continue over northern NM through the
morning hours before slowly diminishing this aftn. IFR to MVFR cigs
will be possible as well as mt obscurations. VFR should prevail this
aftn as cigs lift. Winds will increase by mid morning, and by mid
aftn, gusts between 40 and 50kt are expected. Localized areas of BLDU
are possible. Winds will decrease around sunset, except across the
south central and southwest mtns where winds will be slower to
.PREV DISCUSSION...340 AM MDT Thu Apr 27 2017...
Strong winds are expected to return to the east and south today with
critical fire weather conditions along and south of Interstate 40
this afternoon. A few showers and storms will pass over the north as
well. An unseasonably cold storm system remains on track for Friday
through Saturday night. This system has the potential to bring
significant snow to the northeast third of the state Saturday. Highs
Saturday will range from 20 to 35 degrees below average and much of
the forecast area could see near to below freezing temperatures
Saturday night. Drier northwest flow aloft moves in on Sunday with
another cold front impacting the east next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Light precipitation passing over the region north of Interstate 40
early this morning. RAP13 indicates the majority of precipitation
will be focused over the northwest and Sangre de Cristo mts today
with spotty showers over the west central high terrain and
Sandia/Manzano mts. Winds to be the main story though and definitely
not clear cut in regards to placement of wind advisories or high
wind warnings, thanks to disparities in the different models and
potential for cloud cover to limit mixing hgts. Zones across the
south and east will be the main focus areas though as the forecast
sfc pressure gradient becomes oriented from northwest to southeast
over the state.
Chances for precipitation over the north taper off tonight, then the
incoming storm system sags into the Four Corners area late Friday
afternoon. Winds could be strong again Friday afternoon over the
south, and as band of precipitation develops from west to east over
central NM. NAM is shifted farther north from the GFS in regards to
the axis of precipitation but both are similar with the idea. High
temperatures will trend cooler and will be 5 to 15 degrees below
average over most of the forecast area. Precipitation ramps up
Friday night as the colder 700 mb temperatures move in from the
northwest initially, allowing for what may turn out to be some
advisory level snow accumulations along the Contdvd. The upper low
tracks over the state Saturday, while the back door cold front rips
down the eastern plains. The sfc gradient Saturday morning is close
to 20mb so winds will be definitely brisk and gusty. The colder air
aloft still forecast to be around -10 degC is shown to pour down the
east slopes of the central mt chain and plains. Timing of transition
of liquid to frozen precipitation a little tricky, but higher QPF
values have shifted more over the northeast than Sangre de Cristo
mts although forecast snow amounts enough for advisory or even
warning anyway. Decided to out with a winter storm watch starting
Friday night at midnight and continuing into late Saturday night,
when the storm system should be exiting. Near to below freezing
temperatures across the entire forecast area are possible Saturday
Temperatures slowly warm up early next week with dry weather but
another cold front to impact at least the eastern third to half
forecast for Tuesday/Wednesday. Dry nw flow or a ridge may dominate
mid to late next week but unsettled wx may follow.
Critical fire weather conditions are expected today across zones
106, 107 and 108, though by no means is today a "slam dunk." Despite
being only a few hours away, models continue to struggle with the
details. The GFS continues to show much higher mountain top level
winds and much higher mixing heights than the NAM this afternoon.
Plus there is a question of cloud cover and minimum humidities. In
the middle Rio Grande Valley, the greatest concern for critical
conditions exists south of the ABQ metro area, while in Zone 107,
the area of greatest concern is south of Highway 60. Humidities may
be too high north of these areas today, though the winds will be
very strong. Additionally, concern is lower for areas that have seen
recent rainfall, including the Sandia and Manzano Mtns and Quay
County. Zones 106, 107 and 108 have been upgraded to a Red Flag
Warning, but have opted to not upgrade Zone 109 due to limited areal
extent of critical conditions.
The winds will be strong area wide today, through the strongest
winds are expected across Zone 107 where gusts will near 60 mph.
Gusts near 50 mph can be expected across much of the plains, Rio
Grande Valley and west central NM. Winds will decrease this evening.
Overnight, a Pacific front will move from northwest to southeast,
setting up somewhere in the vicinity of a Gallup to Albuquerque to
Raton line by noon Friday. Models indicate precipitation will
develop along and behind the front during the afternoon and will
expand in coverage as the front continues to shift southeastward.
Widespread wetting rains and a few thunderstorms are expected.
Temperatures will cool several degrees Friday behind the front, but
the major cooldown will occur Friday night and Saturday. An upper
level low will track across northern and central NM as a very strong
cold front drops from north to south. Snow is expected to develop
across the northern mountains, northeast and portions of east
central NM Friday night through Saturday. Significant snow amounts
are likely, especially across the Sangre de Cristo Mtns and the
Raton Ridge/Johnson Mesa area where more than a foot of snow is
possible. High temperatures on Saturday will be 20 to 35 degrees
The system will shift into west Texas Saturday night and precip will
diminish. However, temperatures will plummett. mainly locations
across northern and western NM will see a hard freeze while portions
of the east central plains and Rio Grande Valley may dip just below
the freezing mark.
The warming trend will begin on Sunday and continue through Tuesday,
though most areas will remain below normal through the time period
thanks to northwest flow aloft. Another back door front is expected
to slide down the plains Tuesday night as a northern stream trough
slide across the Rockies into the Plains. Another shortwave on
Wednesday may bring precip to northeast plains again.
Wind Advisory from 11 AM this morning to 7 PM MDT this evening for
the following zones... NMZ505>508-512>515-519-520-522-525-527>538.
Winter Storm Watch from late Friday night through late Saturday
night for the following zones... NMZ512>515-527>531.
Red Flag Warning from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 PM MDT this evening
for the following zones... NMZ106>108.
High Wind Warning from 9 AM this morning to 7 PM MDT this evening
for the following zones... NMZ521-523-524-526-539-540.