Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 142345

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
445 PM MST Wed Feb 14 2018

Southwest winds aloft tonight will strengthen ahead of an upper
level trough in southern CA/western AZ. Subtropical moisture will be
transported across western and central NM ahead of this storm system.
Mountain obscurations will become widespread this evening after 03Z
across the mountains in western and central NM. Rain and elevation
snow are expected from the eastern foothills of the central mountains
westward to the AZ border tonight through 15Z Thursday. Ceilings at
the lower elevation terminals will fall into the MVFR category,
generally 015-030, around or shortly after 06Z. At KTCC and KLVS
west southwest winds will gust to 25 knots overnight, while winds at
KSRR may gust above 55 knots at times. In western and central NM,
ceilings will improve to VFR by mid morning, as deepest layer
moisture moves southward. West southwest winds will gust to around 35
knots Thursday at KLVS and KTCC.



.PREV DISCUSSION...329 PM MST Wed Feb 14 2018...

Rich subtropical moisture will surge northeastward across New Mexico
tonight and Thursday with accumulating precipitation along and west
of the central mountain chain. A few to several inches of snow is
expected in the northern mountains, and across higher peaks of the
remainder of the high terrain. In addition, strong southwest winds
are expected in the south central mountains tonight and Thursday.
Periods of rain and high elevation snow will persist across south
central and southwest areas Thursday night through Friday night,
while expanding to areas east of the south central mountains as the
moisture plume lingers there and a back door cold front arrives.
After drier and warmer weather Saturday, another disturbance crossing
from the southwest will bring a chance of rain showers to southern
areas Sunday. Then, an upper level trough will cross from the
northwest Monday and Tuesday with cooler temperatures and a chance
for wintry precipitation over northern and western areas.


A closed upper level low pressure system off the S CA coast has
already begun to steer deep subtropical moisture northeastward across
AZ and NM. Precipitation will increase in coverage along and west of
the central mountain chain tonight, as the upper low weakens while
ejecting northeastward toward the Four Corners causing moisture to
to deepen further. Temperatures at 700 mb are expected to bottom out
around -4C tonight across the northern mountains, and near 0C across
the southern high terrain. That`s cold enough for the northern
mountains to accumulate a few to several inches of snow. With this
forecast package we will expand the Winter Weather Advisory to the
Jemez Mountains, as well as the west slopes and higher peaks of the
Sangre de Cristos. Elsewhere across the high terrain accumulating
snow should remain near and above 9000 feet. Since this very high
terrain snowfall is only expected over a small geographical area, we
will issue an SPS to draw attention to several inches of snow
accumulation there. In addition, wind gusts may peak near and over 60
mph at times tonight in the south central mountains as the
subtropical jet stream crosses with 700 mb winds from 55 to 70 kt.

The moisture plume will shift east of the northern mountains Thursday
night, while lingering across our southern tier of zones through
Friday night. This will keep rain and high terrain snow in the
forecast there. Precipitation will also spread to lower elevations
east of the south central mountains as a back door cold front arrives
Thursday night. Easterly upslope flow across southeast areas may
drop temperatures enough for a rain, snow and sleet mix Friday night.
There is a potential that some light freezing rain or freezing
drizzle may develop, but ice accumulations probably won`t be

After drier and warmer weather on Saturday, the 12z runs of the GFS
and ECMWF suggested another weak disturbance may lift northeastward
across the southern tier of zones with some light rain showers on
Sunday. However, the 18Z GFS has already waffled to a drier solution
during this period, shaking our confidence some.

A colder upper level trough is forecast to cross from the northwest
early in the coming work week with the potential for fairly
widespread snow across western and northern areas.



A deep tap of subtropical moisture surging northeastward from the
Baja region will produce a widespread wetting rainfall event for the
lower elevations of central and western NM tonight and Thursday.
Temperatures will be cold enough in the high terrain for several
inches of snowfall above 7500 feet, especially the northern mts
where 6 to 10 inches is possible. Winds will also be ripping across
ridge tops overnight as a 70-90 knot mid level jet streak moves
overhead. Windy conditions will then spread into the east-central
and northeast plains Thursday but with less intensity. Meanwhile,
the focus for precipitation Thursday will shift to west facing
slopes along and south of the I-40 corridor as drier air sags into
northwestern NM.

A back door cold front will slide into eastern NM Thursday night and
trend temperatures 5 to 10 degrees below normal Friday. This front
will also focus the main area of precip into southeastern NM. Drier
air sliding into northern NM will continue to trend min humidities
lower with temperatures closer to normal. Min humidity and overnight
recoveries will be regulated by better soil moisture and snowmelt
through Saturday morning. Saturday will become a transition day to
drier, warmer, west-southwest flow over the entire area.

The next upper level disturbance will approach from the northwest
Sunday and Monday and force stronger southwest winds over all of NM.
Temps will trend 10 to 20 degrees above normal with sub-critical
humidity and critical fire weather conditions possible. Models are
then hinting at a very cold storm system shifting across northern NM
in the Tuesday-Wednesday time frame with more snow possible.



Clouds will thicken and lower today as a deep tap of subtropical
moisture surges northeast ahead of an approaching upper wave. Winds
will turn southwest and increase all areas with strong southwest
winds likely over the high terrain and northeast NM thru 00Z. Winds
will then focus over the southern high terrain and eastern NM aft
00Z as a 70-90 kt mid level jet screams across southern NM. Gusts up
to 60 kt are possible around KSRR. VFR conditions thru 00Z will then
trend toward MVFR for all central and western NM terminals by 03Z.
Stratiform rain will favor west and southwest facing slopes with
moderate to lcl heavy snow in the high terrain above 8500 feet. A
slow improvement to borderline VFR/MVFR is expected aft 10Z as winds
turn more westerly and drier air arrives from the northwest.



High Wind Warning until 8 AM MST Thursday for the following zones...

Winter Weather Advisory until 6 PM MST Thursday for the following
zones... NMZ510>514.


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