Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 171748 AAB

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1048 AM MST Wed Jan 17 2018

Upper disturbance with associated cloud cover tracking over wrn NM
with potentially a closed low developing vcnty KTCS-KELP around
18/00Z. Isold to wdly sct -shsn ovr the west central/sw NM higher
terrain before 18/00Z possible with brief mt obscurations. Local MVFR
cigs may reach south and east of a line from KROW-KCVN as low level
return flow persists. The forecast to develop upper low over south
central NM may eventually pull this moisture into the KROW area,
although current guidance doesn`t indicate it therefore confidence is


.PREV DISCUSSION...328 AM MST Wed Jan 17 2018...
Very cold temperatures this morning will warm slowly through noon
time while clouds approach from the west. High temperatures will be
warmer than yesterday but still chilly. Some sprinkles or light snow
showers are possible later this afternoon over the highest terrain of
southern New Mexico. Temperatures will warm even more Thursday then
a few record highs are possible Friday over far eastern New Mexico.
Winds will increase Friday and especially on Saturday ahead of the
next weather system. The chance for rain and high terrain snow will
spread from west to east Saturday then exit northeast New Mexico on
Sunday. Much colder air will filter into the area with strong winds
continuing through Sunday night. Confidence on significant snow is
very low as the storm races through the area in just 24 to 36 hours.


The main weather highlights for the remainder of this week include
warming temperatures, increasing winds, a potential shot for rain
and snow Saturday and Sunday with colder temperatures and more wind.

The coldest low temp of this winter has occurred at Albuquerque this
morning. The remainder of NM is also bitter cold with widespread obs
between 5 and 15 degrees at 3 am. Freezing fog has yet to develop
however that may be on the horizon with several dewpoint depressions
less than 3 degrees. Boundary layer RH on the latest HRRR highlights
the area along I-25 between Raton and Las Vegas as well as around the
Rio Grande Valley and near Farmington.

A 70kt 300mb jet axis will shift southeast through the Four Corners
later this morning then into southwestern NM. Models show a very dry
boundary layer however there are hints of better top-down moistening
and possible sprinkles or light snow showers around the high terrain
of southern NM. This system will move into the Big Bend tonight with
clearing in its wake and another cold night for NM. A ridge will then
build into northern NM Thursday with warmer temps and light winds.

Southwest flow will increase quickly over NM Friday as the upper
level ridge breaks down. Deepening low pressure over eastern NM will
favor strong downslope flow with record highs possible. 700mb temps
rise to near +8C which is very warm for mid-January. Very low
humidity with wind and warm temps will increase the potential for
critical fire weather conditions. Winds will remain elevated Friday
night and Saturday as a 120kt upper jet approaches from the west.

There are important differences in model guidance for Saturday and
Saturday night that make for yet another very tricky forecast. The
00Z GFS is faster with a strong Pacific frontal passage Saturday
afternoon while the 00Z ECMWF waits until Saturday night for it to
push through western NM. This complicates snow levels, change over
from rain to snow, and ultimately snow accumulations. Unfortunately
there is not much moisture for this system to work with once again.
At this time, the most probable impacts appear to be some light snow
over the northern high terrain, significantly colder temps, and
strong winds.



A warming trend will commence today through Friday as a ridge of
high pressure crosses aloft. A weak upper level trough will undercut
the ridge and dive southeastward over the southwest half of New
Mexico today. It could trigger a few light rain and snow showers
mainly over the higher elevations of the West Central Highlands this
morning, but accumulation is unlikely.  Poor ventilation will
generally continue today through Thursday, except for some fair
readings across the West Central and Northwest Highlands.

Southwest winds will strengthen on Friday as the flow aloft
strengthens and a stout lee trough develops ahead of our next storm
system. The strongest winds are expected across the east central
plains, where the potential exists for critical fire weather
conditions to develop as humidities plummet near and below 15%,
temperatures soar around 12 to 22 degrees above normal, and a Haines
Index of 5 develops. If the wind forecast strengthens across the
northeast plains for Friday afternoon, they will need to be added to
the Fire Weather Watch.

A stronger upper level trough will then cross from the west Saturday
through Saturday night with colder temperatures and a wintry mix of
precipitation favoring west slope locations. Some snow showers may
linger across north central and northeast areas through Sunday as
precipitation wraps around the deepening and exiting storm system. A
few to several inches of snow accumulation looks possible in the
mountains, with the northern mountains favored for the heaviest
accumulations. Lighter amounts will be possible across lower
elevations of western and northern NM as well. Further, the jet
stream will cross on Saturday with stronger winds than Friday, but
less of a fire weather concern due to cooler temperatures and higher
humidities. Southwest wind gusts could reach over 50 mph across the
mountains on Saturday, and also along the east slopes of the central
mountain chain and across the northeast plains. Strong winds may
persist through Sunday night along and south of the I-40 corridor as
a gusty Pacific cold front crosses.  Then, strong northwest winds
will likely persist through Sunday for many locations as the
deepening storm system gradually shifts northeastward onto the Great
Plains, and a stout back door cold front dives southward through the
eastern plains. Winds will finally die down Sunday night.

Temperatures will begin to rebound and ventilation will probably
plummet in the wake of the exiting storm system on Monday. Another
upper level trough will cross with a cold front on Tuesday, but the
system looks dry.



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


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