Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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000
FXUS65 KABQ 180932
AFDABQ

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
332 AM MDT Sat Mar 18 2017

.SYNOPSIS...
A ridge of high pressure in place over NM will generate record
warmth through early next week. A few gusty virga showers are
possible near the high terrain each afternoon as a thin layer of
moisture sneaks under the ridge. Winds will increase over the
eastern plains Sunday afternoon where elevated fire danger is
expected. High pressure will move east into TX Tuesday and allow
winds to increase over NM. Windy conditions with high fire danger
are likely Wednesday and Thursday over much of central and eastern
NM. Temperatures will cool closer to normal behind this system.

&&

.DISCUSSION...
Impressive warmth continues for NM as an unseasonably strong 587dm
H5 high extends from northern Mexico into west TX thru early next
week. 700mb temps near +10C along the western periphery of the ridge
are in the 99th percentile for mid to late March. These values are
more typical for mid May. Expect lots of record to near record high
temps thru Tuesday.

Water vapor imagery this morning shows a weak low circulation
embedded along the northern edge of the high and the 00Z RAOB at
KABQ captured moisture near 500mb. This moisture with heating and
instability will result in some virga or dry t-storms near the high
terrain late today, particular along and south of I-40. A second
area of mid level moisture will slide north from northern Mexico
Sunday as the ridge shifts eastward. This will result in another
round of virga or dry storms mainly over the southern high terrain.

A notable increase in clouds and wind will begin Monday as an upper
level trough approaches the west coast. More virga is possible near
the high terrain by late day. A widespread batch of high clouds will
slide over NM Tuesday but temps will still approach record territory.
Breezy conditions will focus on the high terrain and within central
and western NM.

H5 pressure heights fall sharply from west to east Wednesday as an
upper wave ejects across the southern Rockies. A 40-45kt 700-500mb
jet slides over NM Wednesday then 45-50kt Thursday. Surface pressure
falls over the plains to near 995mb will result in widespread windy
conditions. Temps will finally cool back to near normal which will
feel chilly compared to the last week. Models don`t squeeze out much
precip over northern NM, but some snow is possible above 8 kft on
Thursday/Thursday night. Strong winds continue into Friday on the
back side of this system. Freezing low temps are likely Friday and
Saturday mornings in many areas that have not seen a freeze in quite
some time. This will be the first system in what appears to be a more
active pattern through the end of March.

Guyer

&&

.FIRE WEATHER...

...CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS POSSIBLE ACROSS THE EASTERN
PLAINS AND NORTHEAST HIGHLANDS ON SUNDAY...

The long stretch of record and near record warmth will continue
today through Monday. High temperatures will generally vary around
14 to 22 degrees above normal each day, except up to 28 degrees
above normal across the northeast on Sunday. Southeasterly return
flow in the wake of yesterday`s back door cold front will increase
humidities above 15% across most of the eastern plains today;
however, most of the area further west will continue to endure
humidities below 15%. Winds will become a bit breezy across the
northeast highlands and northeast plains this afternoon, with an
hour or two of locally critical fire weather conditions expected
east of I-25 in the northeast highlands. Haines Indices will mostly
vary from 4-6 today through Monday, with strong atmospheric mixing
each afternoon. Slightly improved moisture with yesterday`s front
could result in a few dry virga showers or thunderstorms over the
Sangre de Cristo Mountains and southwest mountains this afternoon.

The bigger fire weather concern will be Sunday, when an upper level
trough crossing the northern Rockies will cause the ridge aloft to
begin to break down again. Stronger flow aloft and a surface lee
trough will work with the strong atmospheric mixing to produce
breezy to windy conditions along and east of the northeast and east
central highlands (Clines Corners). Winds in this forecast package
are a bit weaker across the northeast, because the surface low north
of the lee trough is now progged to sag over Union County. This
shifted the stronger pressure gradient southward so that more of the
east central plains can expect strong winds. The westerly downslope
flow will scour out today`s moisture with humidities plummeting
between 7 and 13% across the eastern plains and lower elevations of
the northeast highlands Sunday afternoon. Would like to see what
models do next with the surface low over the northeast, before
upgrading the ongoing Fire Weather Watch across the eastern plains
and northeast highlands.  So, no change to the current fire weather
highlight at this time.

Temperatures will trend downward Monday and especially Tuesday in
the wake of Sunday`s upper level trough. Winds will weaken on Monday
while remaining gusty as the aforementioned surface low sags a
little southwestward to around Harding County. There may be some
localized critical conditions south and west of this low across the
plains and highlands of northeast and east central New Mexico Monday
afternoon, but coverage and duration look fairly limited. A shallow
back door cold front is then expected to penetrate the eastern
plains Monday night and Tuesday as a ridge of high pressure briefly
builds back overhead. This will bring some humidity improvement to
the far eastern plains Tuesday into Wednesday, but Haines values
around 5 and 6 will continue to be widespread both days. The ridge
aloft will result in subcritical but still somewhat gusty winds on
Tuesday.

Models bring an upper level trough across NM from the west around
the middle of the coming week with wind, then a chance for
precipitation and much cooler temperatures. Southwest winds should
become breezy to windy on Wednesday as the nose of a speed maximum
in the polar jet stream moves overhead. Critical fire weather
conditions will be possible along and east of the central mountain
chain, with locally critical conditions currently being painted
farther west. Precipitation will favor the western and northern
mountains Wednesday night through Thursday, with wrap around
moisture lingering over northern areas into Friday. Strong winds are
also expected Thursday, but they will shift out of the northwest
with a Pacific cold.  More critical fire weather conditions will be
possible across the east Thursday.

44

&&

.AVIATION...
06Z TAF CYCLE
A moist layer of low level air will surge into southeast and east
central areas early this morning with most impacts along and east of
a line from TCC to ROW. Both TCC and ROW are at risk for MVFR and IFR
conditons for a time early this morning, but the risk appears
greatest at TCC as of this writing. Will monitor ROW and update the
TAF if confidence grows for flight category restrictions there. VFR
conditions should return by late morning. Gusty winds are expected
this afternoon across east central and Northwest areas. Tonight,
another round of low clouds/fog is expected along and east of the
Pecos River south of the Caprock, which includes ROW but probably not
TCC due to downslope flow coming off the Caprock.

44

&&

.PRELIMINARY POINT TEMPS/POPS...
Farmington......................  78  39  78  38 /   0   0   0   0
Dulce...........................  72  31  73  30 /   0   0   0   0
Cuba............................  73  35  74  36 /   5   0   0   0
Gallup..........................  76  29  76  29 /   0   0   0   0
El Morro........................  72  28  72  28 /   5   0   0   0
Grants..........................  76  31  76  31 /   5   0   0   0
Quemado.........................  74  39  74  39 /   5   0   5   0
Glenwood........................  85  39  86  39 /   0   0   5   0
Chama...........................  67  31  67  31 /   5   5   0   0
Los Alamos......................  72  44  73  43 /   5   0   0   0
Pecos...........................  71  39  72  39 /  10   5   5   0
Cerro/Questa....................  73  33  74  32 /  10   5   5   0
Red River.......................  66  28  67  28 /  10   5   5   0
Angel Fire......................  66  28  68  28 /  10   5   5   0
Taos............................  72  30  73  29 /   5   0   0   0
Mora............................  72  40  73  40 /  20   5   5   5
Espanola........................  78  41  79  40 /   0   0   0   0
Santa Fe........................  70  44  71  44 /   5   0   0   0
Santa Fe Airport................  76  39  77  40 /   0   0   0   0
Albuquerque Foothills...........  78  49  79  48 /   5   0   0   0
Albuquerque Heights.............  80  49  81  48 /   0   0   0   0
Albuquerque Valley..............  82  44  83  42 /   0   0   0   0
Albuquerque West Mesa...........  81  46  82  45 /   0   0   0   0
Los Lunas.......................  82  42  84  41 /   0   0   0   0
Rio Rancho......................  81  46  82  46 /   0   0   0   0
Socorro.........................  83  46  85  45 /   0   0   5   0
Sandia Park/Cedar Crest.........  73  39  74  38 /  10   5   5   5
Tijeras.........................  75  39  76  38 /   5   0   5   0
Moriarty/Estancia...............  74  39  76  36 /  10   5   5   0
Clines Corners..................  73  41  74  41 /  10   5  10   5
Gran Quivira....................  77  47  76  47 /  10   5  10   0
Carrizozo.......................  78  46  80  46 /   0   0   0   0
Ruidoso.........................  74  42  77  42 /  20   5  20   5
Capulin.........................  72  44  76  42 /  10   5   5   0
Raton...........................  78  36  80  36 /  10   5   5   0
Springer........................  78  37  79  37 /  10   5   5   0
Las Vegas.......................  75  39  77  40 /  10   5   5   5
Clayton.........................  79  48  87  46 /   5   0   5   0
Roy.............................  75  43  82  42 /   5   0   5   0
Conchas.........................  81  50  87  48 /   5   0   5   0
Santa Rosa......................  79  49  85  48 /   5   0   5   0
Tucumcari.......................  84  49  89  47 /   5   0   5   0
Clovis..........................  79  47  86  47 /   5   0   5   0
Portales........................  80  49  87  49 /   5   0   5   0
Fort Sumner.....................  80  48  86  48 /   5   0   5   0
Roswell.........................  83  48  90  50 /   5   0   5   5
Picacho.........................  77  49  83  52 /  10   5  20   5
Elk.............................  76  48  80  49 /  20   5  20   5

&&

.ABQ WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
Fire Weather Watch from Sunday morning through Sunday evening for
the following zones... NMZ103-104-108.

&&

$$



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