Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 221739 AAB
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1139 AM MDT Sat Apr 22 2017
18Z TAF CYCLE
The cold front that invaded eastern New Mexico last night has left a
canopy of low clouds over half of the state. These are starting to
lift and slowly erode, but areas along and immediately east of the
central mountain chain of New Mexico will likely retain low ceilings,
some in IFR category, through mid afternoon. Forecast models do not
indicate much potential for redevelopment tonight, except
immediately along these east slopes/faces of the central mountain
chain. East winds will surge back through canyons tonight,
potentially leading to some gusts at or above 35 kt at KABQ and
warranting an aviation weather warning.
.PREV DISCUSSION...259 AM MDT Sat Apr 22 2017...
A back door cold front will bring much cooler temperatures to
eastern and some central areas today. Temperatures will go on the
increase Sunday and Monday with above to well above normal
temperatures expected. Winds will also increase from west to east
during this same period as the jet stream takes aim on the state.
Widespread critical fire weather conditions are expected Monday. The
strong jet will remain over the area Tuesday with cooler and
cloudier conditions found across the north. A rather progressive,
unsettled storm track will remain over the state the rest of the
week. Periods of cooler temperatures and precipitation will likely
favor the northern third with gustier winds found across the southern
A moderately strong back door cold front punched into the central
valley during the past 1 to 2 hours. Low clouds and some patchy
visibility restrictions currently found across the eastern half.
Decided to increase cloud cover along the east slopes where upslope
will be the most efficient and models show boundary layer RH to be
the highest. Also added some areas of fog...generally a narrow strip
along the central mtns. Low clouds will be slow to erode along the
east slopes. Cant rule out some drizzle/showers associated with the
lower cloud cover. Have some lower pops to account for
this...especially favoring the east slopes of the Sangres where the
models break out the best potential for precipitation. Fussed with
temps some...went a little lower than guidance along the east slopes
of the Sangres. Otherwise...stayed with a blended approach today.
The upper level ridge which will move over the area tonight will move
east on Sunday. This is due to an incoming Pacific disturbance and
jet stream. Wind speeds will increase on Sunday while temperatures
warm. Quite a bit of sun will exist.
The jet stream will squarely be over the area Monday and lead to
gusty wind. Can definitely see a smattering of wind advisory speeds
on Monday. Critical fire weather conditions will be the main hazard.
See additional writeup about that below. Temperatures will be above
normal areawide and especially impact the eastern plains. Went above
model guidance due to downslope considerations across the eastern
half and expected sunny/dry conditions.
The Pacific disturbance riding along the jet will move out over the
Plains Monday night into Tuesday. A residual strong wind gradient
will exist and lead to additional strong gusts. Another round of some
wind advisory speeds is expected. Models have been showing this
windy pattern the past several days so confidence is quite high.
Can`t rule out some precipitation favoring the far north/CO border
area Tue/Tue night.
An active jet pattern will remain over the state during the remainder
of the week. Once again...confidence pretty high for this
result...especially some cooling/moistening across the northern
tier. Confidence is higher for continue gustier winds favoring the
southern half of the area. Confidence is lower in terms of
precipitation impacts. Hedged towards a drier...more northerly
solution for the precipitation events. This is based on what happened
with the last system. Convection trends have been varied across the
equatorial Pacific and suspect the models will have a hard time
capturing those impacts during the next week.
...CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER EVENT MONDAY...
Forecaster confidence is high on a critical fire weather event
Monday, with potential to extend into Tuesday for central and east
central portions of the forecast area. In the mean time, a
cooling/moistening trend is in play behind a backdoor cold front
currently marching west into central New Mexico. Areas west of the
Continental Divide today will still be hot, dry and unstable, but
wind will be lacking. A secondary surge will allow the front to
advance further west beyond the Continental Divide tonight with
mostly good/excellent humidity recovery, although some patches of
fair recovery west. A ridge will move overhead tonight and the
westerlies will be on the uptrend Sunday, with the shallow frontal
airmass mixing-out across western portions of the area by mid day.
Haines 6, very low humidity and increasing winds will lead to an
hour or two of critical fire weather conditions Sunday afternoon
across portions of the Northwest Highlands. However,
coverage/duration of critical conditions is not sufficient to issue
a warning for the Northwest Highlands at this time.
The westerlies will overtake the entire area Monday, with humidity
plummeting into the single digits by the afternoon hours. Many hours
(3-9) of single digit humidity are forecast across the lower
elevations Monday. In addition, Haines 6 are forecast across a
majority of the forecast area with above normal mixing heights,
above normal temperatures and winds well above warning criteria.
This all adds up to a fairly widespread critical fire weather event
with high forecaster confidence given good model run-to-run
consistency. Will issue a watch for the entire forecast area below
significant snow pack.
Humidity recovery heading into Tuesday will be poor across most of
central and southern portions of the area and will set the stage for
an additional day of critical fire weather conditions. However,
critical conditions will likely be relegated to south central and
east central portions of the forecast area as moisture advection and
cooling associated with the jet stream punching-in from the Pacific
moves into the northwest half (roughly) of the state. The potential
for critical fire weather conditions will likely be south and east
of our area by Wednesday as the aforementioned trend continues in
advance of an approaching trough.
A trend toward much cooler temperatures with chances for wetting
precipitation late next week and into next weekend looks on track,
with both the 00z GFS and ECMWF operations runs showing a troughing
pattern with a closed upper low across the Great Basin and Southern
Rockies. There are some notable differences between the two in the
timing/evolution of this scenario, but fairly high forecaster
confidence at this time on this trend change for late next week.
Fire Weather Watch from Monday morning through Monday evening for
the following zones... NMZ101>109.