Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 280549 AAC

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1149 PM MDT Thu Apr 27 2017

Rain and mtn snow will continue across portions of northwest NM
overnight along the edge of a cold front. As the cold front slides
southeastward today, showers and tstms will continue to develop along
and behind it, shifting southeast with the front. Most TAF sites will
be affected, though timing remains uncertain, so check for
amendments. The upper level jet will be steered across the southern
tier of the state as the parent storm system tracks toward the Four
Corners. Strong winds are likely to develop across the southwest and
south central mountains with gusts to 45 kt possible this afternoon.
By 06Z Sat, a strong back door cold front will plunge into NE NM.
Strong northerly winds and snow are expected to develop behind the



.PREV DISCUSSION...712 PM MDT Thu Apr 27 2017...
Updated to expire wind highlights. Red Flag Warning has also been
allowed to expire.  Winter Storm Watch remains in effect.


.PREV DISCUSSION...335 PM MDT Thu Apr 27 2017...
Breezy to windy conditions will continue overnight as a cold front
moves in from the north and an upper low takes shape over the
Central Rockies. Scattered showers and a few thunderstorms will
develop across western and central areas Friday morning, spreading
east and increasing in coverage and intensity during the afternoon.
The strong and cold upper low is forecast to drop south into
northwest New Mexico Saturday morning and then southeastward through
the state Saturday afternoon. Widespread low elevation rain and high
elevation snow is likely Saturday with accumulating snow a good bet
from central mountain chain eastward. Snow will continue across the
eastern plains Saturday evening with improving conditions expected
Sunday into early next week.


Northwest jet beginning to transition to wly over NM this afternoon
as heights increase over the eastern Pacific Ocean and a broad upper
trough develops across the lower 48 states. Numerical prediction
models agree that a the associated surface cold front will push
south through the northern half of the state tonight. Models also
agree that a closed low will take shape over the CO/UT/WY triple
point by 12Z Friday. This low will then sag southward through eastern
UT/western CO during the day Friday. Showers and thunderstorms will
develop along the mid-level front/baroclinic zone Friday, roughly
along and north of US Hwy 60. Strong thunderstorms a possibility
across the northeast plains Friday evening as the associated backdoor
cold front moves in and creates a convergence zone. GFS and ECMWF
are in very good agreement for late Friday night into Saturday,
bringing the closed low south-southeast into northwest NM by 12Z
Saturday. Widespread precipitation, mainly in form of snow, begins in
earnest across much of the forecast area along and east of the
central mountain chain Saturday morning. Expanded the winter storm
watch to include the central highlands and Sandia and Manzano
mountains. Favored area(s) for the heaviest snowfall amounts (perhaps
as much as 2 feet) is across the Sangres and northeast highlands
including Raton Pass.

ECMWF keeps precipitation (mostly snow) going across the eastern
plains Saturday night. Elsewhere, clouds clear out and temperatures
drop to well below average. A freeze or hard freeze encompasses much
of northern and central NM Sunday morning, especially for those
areas with fresh snow on the ground.

Dry northwest flow aloft moves in Sunday, allowing temps to warm
somewhat but remaining well below average for late April. The warming
trend continues into early next week. Both GFS and ECMWF bring a weak
short-wave trough and backdoor cold front through far northeast NM
Monday night and a stronger trough and backdoor front Wednesday.




Forecast strong winds are materializing and humidity is dipping
below critical thresholds across southern portions of the warned
zones with sufficient breaks in cloud cover to allow for potential
fire growth. Critical fire weather conditions will be short-lived,
with humidity coming back up quickly this evening. Across northern
New Mexico higher humidity, showers and clouds prevail.

A significant trend change is in play, with much of north central
and eastern New Mexico in line for a major wetting precipitation
evening beginning tomorrow and continuing through Saturday night.
The combination of an anomalously cold upper low and a strong
backdoor cold front will favor roughly the northeast quarter of the
state, including the Sandias/Manzanos, for wetting precipitation. In
particular, snow amounts in the Sangres will likely exceed one foot
and will likely approach one foot over the peaks of the
Sandias/Manzanos. The adjacent Eastern Highlands will see amounts
between 6" and one foot, with lesser amounts elsewhere.
Precipitation will start off as rain Friday at a number of lower
elevation locales before turning over to snow late Friday night. A
very cold airmass will be left in the wake of the departing upper
low Saturday night, with many lower elevation areas seeing a late
season freeze/hard freeze.

Dry northwest flow will begin Sunday with a warming/drying trend
persisting into Tuesday. Despite the warming, high temperatures are
still forecast below normal through Tuesday. A backdoor cold front
will slide down the Eastern Plains Tuesday, stopping the
warming/drying trend there, but western portions of the area will
remain warm and dry. Haines indices will be on the uptrend early to
mid week, especially across west central and southwest portions of
the forecast area where Haines 5-6 will prevail with humidity
reaching near critical threshold. However, at this time winds are
forecast to remain below critical threshold early to mid week.



Winter Storm Watch from late Friday night through late Saturday
night for the following zones... NMZ512>515-521-523-527>531.


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