Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 141751 AAC

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1051 AM MST Wed Feb 14 2018

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.



.PREV DISCUSSION...823 AM MST Wed Feb 14 2018...
12Z NAM, HREF-2, and 00Z SPC-WRF continue to trend wetter tonight
along and west of the central mt chain. Updated PoP forecast toward
latest models and 12Z METMOS guidance which favors a robust surge of
precip across NM. High peak zones of the Sangre de Cristo Mts may
require a Winter Weather Advisory as well if trends continue with
other guidance members.



.PREV DISCUSSION...345 AM MST Wed Feb 14 2018...
High clouds will blanket New Mexico today as a low pressure system
off of the California coast continues pumping moisture toward the
Land of Enchantment. Precipitation and breezy to windy conditions
will take shape by the afternoon with precipitation initially
favoring southwestern parts of the state while the strongest winds
develop along and east of the Sangre de Cristo mountains today.
Rain and high elevation snow will become more widespread over
western and central New Mexico tonight with very strong winds
buffeting the Sacramento, Capitan and Guadalupe mountains overnight.
Precipitation will persist, mostly over western and central New
Mexico into Thursday as the remnants of the low pressure system move
inland and breezy to windy conditions continue east of the central
mountain chain. Cooler temperatures will then arrive from the
northeast on Friday with some precipitation lingering over the
southern tier of New Mexico.


Low pressure system off the southern CA coast will nudge eastward
today, opening as a wave as it moves over the San Diego vicinity by
late afternoon. The strong subtropical jet will make its presence
felt over NM today while a lee side surface trough resides east of
the front range of the Rockies. Abundant high cirrus cover will
persist over the next couple of days, with top-down moistening
occurring as the subtropical jet brings a flux of moisture
northeastward into NM. This cloud cover will pose significant
challenges to the temperature forecast today, and have hedged below
guidance in several spots to account for less insolation. Less solar
radiation will also likely hamper the vertical mixing, making a
tricky wind forecast for today. Model guidance insists that the
boundary layer will mix efficiently along and east of the Sangres
despite the cloud cover. Have bought into this with some degree of
hesitation. Wind advisory speeds are in the forecast grids for these
Sangre and adjacent northeast highlands/high plains zones, so
statement has been issued, but confidence is not overly high.

Things will turn more unsettled into tonight as the moisture flux
pours into central to southwestern NM and the remnant wave moves
farther inland over the southwestern states. Healthy dewpoints in
the upper 30s to lower 40s are projected for central to southern NM
areas, and obviously this will inhibit minimum temperatures from
dropping very low with mitigated wet- bulbing effects. This will also
raise snow levels quite high, especially over the south central
mountains and any snow accumulations there will be relegated to very
high elevations up to 9,000 to 10,000 feet with hefty QPF translating
to several inches of wet snow over Ski Apache and several tenths of
an inch of rain in Ruidoso. Other concerns will be in the San
Juan/Tusas mountains where colder temperatures and higher snowfall
ratios will yield a few inches of snow accumulation, and thus an
advisory will be hoisted for tonight and Thursday there.

Into Thursday, the chances for precipitation do not alter that much,
still pegged highest over the mountains of central and western NM
with additional QPF that will exceed anything we have observed thus
far this winter, both on quantity and spatial coverage. Temperatures
Thursday will run cooler, but still not too far from average.

The eastern plains will be left mostly dry through Thursday and will
have to wait until Thursday night and early Friday when the back door
cold front will enter from the northeast. While this forcing
mechanism surely won`t have the moisture to work with like the
preceding subtropical jet, sufficient frontogenetical forcing within
the boundary layer could generate some light stratiform
precipitation. This precipitation would spread from the northeast
corner of the state early Friday morning toward the central mountain
chain later in the day. There will still be residual subtropical
moisture over the southern tier of NM through Friday and Friday
night, and this could add some overrunning atop the cooler
southeastern plains airmass late Friday. Otherwise temperatures will
be 10 to 15 degrees below normal in the eastern plains Friday with
readings running closer to average in the central to western zones.

Drier westerly flow will work in on Saturday with just some slight
chance POPs being left in the southern tier of the forecast area.
Mostly dry conditions will then hold Sunday and into the first part
of next week, before the stiffening westerlies buckle again Monday
night and Tuesday.



The upper low is firmly offshore CA this morning, tapping into a
deep plume of subtropical moisture in the EPAC. This is the source
of the overcast skies over NM, which will continue through today.
The surge of moisture at the sfc will begin to move into SW New
Mexico late today, with wetting precipitation beginning to move over
the Gila b/w 1500-1800L. Vent rates remain excellent across the
forecast area today through Thu.

Temperatures across the east will be well above normal with upper
60s to near 70 for highs, but would be higher if not for the
expected continuing stream of high clouds limiting sfc warming.
While the moisture plume will keep MinRH`s 30-50% across the south,
dryness will linger across the NE plains where MinRHs will be 15-
20%. The dryness combined with breezy winds 30-35mph with gusts up
to 45mph will create elevated fire wx conditions through the
afternoon, with spotty coverage of critical possible as well from

Record level moisture will continue to flow into the forecast area
from the old Mexico overnight into Thu, producing valley rain/mtn
snow over much of western NM by Thu morning. Given the warm nature
of the system, snow levels will be rather high 8-10k ft across the
south. Rainfall amounts through the entire event look to range from
0.05-0.25" with locally higher amounts up to 1.00" across the
southern mtns. The pressure gradient aloft will tighten Thu morning,
with higher winds 35-45 mph over the Sangre`s, mixing down to the
eastern plains again Thu afternoon.

The Pacific front across the west and backdoor front across the east
will enter into the state overnight Thu into Fri morning. Highs fall
20-25 F across the east Fri, with Vent rates poor across the west
and fair across the east. Calmer NW flow aloft dominates by Sat with
southerly return flow across the east warming highs back to slightly
above normal. The next big weather maker looks to move into the Great
Basin by Sun setting up southerly return flow bringing in increased
sfc moisture to eastern NM. Another round of elevated-critical fire
wx is possible Sun ahead of that moisture along the east slopes of
the Sangre`s. Will need to continue monitor this as we get closer.



High Wind Watch from 5 PM MST this afternoon through Thursday
morning for the following zones... NMZ526-540.

Wind Advisory until 5 PM MST this afternoon for the following
zones... NMZ513-515-527>529-531-532.

Winter Weather Advisory from 6 PM this evening to 6 PM MST Thursday
for the following zones... NMZ510.


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