Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 221757 AAB

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1157 AM MDT Wed Mar 22 2017

Low clouds will continue to evaporate through mid day across the
east central and northeast plains. They will likely return with MVFR
conditions late tonight across much of the eastern plains as a moist
fetch of S and SE winds persists. A low pressure system will
approach the Four Corners from the west tonight before crossing on
Thursday. This will steer the polar jet stream over south central and
eastern NM with surface wind gusts in the 40 to 55 kt range from the
central mountain chain eastward by mid day on Thursday. In addition,
rain showers and thunderstorms will begin to move over western areas
from the west on Thursday morning, before reaching as far east as
the central mountain chain in the afternoon. The dry line may also
become active Thursday with strong thunderstorms possible near the
Texas border.



.PREV DISCUSSION...329 AM MDT Wed Mar 22 2017...
Be on the look out for three storm systems that will impact the state
Thursday through early next week. The first system will impact
Thursday through Friday evening. The second storm will be a quick
mover that clips the northern tier Sunday, followed by the more
potent system arriving Tuesday...lasting through Thursday evening.
Cooler, windier and wetter condtions will follow each system.


Dry cond with above normal temps will prevail today with cooler
highs across the east. Moderate breezes will be anticipated across
the central and NE Plains this aftn.

The first storm of our persisting series will cross over into the
Great Basin today before deepening tonight as it heads toward the
state Thurs morning. The storm will cross NM Thurs increasing strong
winds central and east while producing rain/mtn snow along and north
of the I-40 corridor. Snow levels will lower at least 6000 to 7000
feet Thurs night with accumulations picking up across the northern
and western mtns through Fri morning. Look for temps to fall below
normal west to east as colder air filters in from the NE Thurs night
with much cooler highs Fri. At the same time, isolated thunderstorm
chances are imminent ahead of the racing Pacific cold front Thurs
for the central mtns and the far eastern plains near the TX border.

Highs will cool areawide Friday with greater snow fall accumulation
favoring areas along and east of the Sangre De Cristos. So far,
GFS/NAM are indicating 8 to 12 inches of snowfall possible across
the Raton Pass/Johnson Mesa area Friday...increasing the need for a
possible winter storm watch/warning for the area because of potential
impacts. Everything will eventually taper down Friday night as the
storm exits east with some fog potential to develop across the NE
Plains Fri night through Sat morning.

Saturday will see a brief warm and dry period as upper level ridging
hovers over the area helping temps rebound 10-15 degrees. The second,
faster moving system will arrive Sat night into Sun impacting areas
north of the I-40 corridor with a mix of rain/mtn snow. Look for
temps to be cooler again on Sun. After that system moves out, another
short term dry and mild pattern returns Mon.

So far, the third more potent storm system looks to impact the state
Mon night lasting through Thurs night. Once again, we will deal with
another major pattern change with more cooler, unsettling weather to
come. This storm has potential of producing widespread rain/snow
across much of the state...depending on how far south the upper level
low dives when it reaches NM Tues.


A few changes were made to the placement of red flag conditions for
today and Thursday. Decided to upgrade the Fire Wx Watch in the most
confident area from the middle Rio Grande Valley east into the
Sandia, Manzano, and Gallinas Mts, as well as add the southwest mts
per collaboration with neighboring El Paso office. Decided to cancel
the watch for the northeast highlands today as the low level moist
boundary across the eastern plains is going to battle mixing from
stronger southwest flow developing too late in the day. Single digit
humidities are likely across the warning area today with well above
normal temperatures and deep mixing. These red flag conditions are
occurring after an extended period of record warm and dry weather.
Thick high clouds will arrive by late day however we are expecting
to be well into red flag conditions by then.

Breezes will continue overnight with poor recoveries in central NM.
Low level moisture over far eastern NM will deepen Thursday morning
with excellent recoveries likely. Big changes arrive from west to
east as a potent Pacific cold front surges eastward across NM. The
moist airmass across the east will be scoured out rapidly Thursday
morning and lead to an area of critical to possibly extreme critical
conditions for several hours. A few storms are possible right along
the TX state line as the dryline moves east. Added the northeast
highlands to the Fire Wx Watch as duration now appears long enough
before the frontal passage to create critical conditions. Meanwhile,
a band of rain and high terrain snow, with perhaps some thunder will
move into northern and western NM.

The entire storm system will deepen rapidly over northeastern NM
Thursday night and Friday and continue the potential for light to
moderate snow accumulations along the CO border. The secondary cold
front will plow southward through the eastern plains and create very
windy conditions through Friday. The rest of central and western NM
will be windy and dry with much cooler temperatures, although still
just near normal.

The flow pattern backs around quickly to the southwest Saturday as a
shortwave ridge crests over NM. Temps will trend back above normal
and winds will remain at least breezy. The next storm system arrives
quickly late Saturday night and Sunday with a return to cooler temps
and more windy conditions. A quick shot of light snow is possible in
the high terrain along the CO border.

The overall story will be rinse and repeat as yet another shortwave
ridge crests over the state Monday followed by a potentially colder
system with widespread precipitation and wind Tuesday into Thursday.


Fire Weather Watch Thursday afternoon for the following zones...

High Wind Watch from Thursday afternoon through Thursday evening
for the following zones... NMZ523-526-529-531>540.

Red Flag Warning until 7 PM MDT this evening for the following
zones... NMZ106-107-109.


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