Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM
FXUS65 KABQ 231730 AAB
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1130 AM MDT Sun Apr 23 2017
18Z TAF CYCLE
VFR conditions will prevail across northern and central New Mexico
over the next 24 hours. Just a few fair weather cumulus and some thin
high cirrus clouds are expected. Breezy to windy conditions will
develop through the afternoon today before gradually subsiding
through the late evening. Some gusts of 25 to 35 kt will be common
today. Winds will strengthen more on Monday.
.PREV DISCUSSION...230 AM MDT Sun Apr 23 2017...
The initial forecast Sunday through Tuesday looks to be dry with
increasing wind and fire weather concerns. The unusually strong jet
creating the stronger wind flow will gradually sink further south by
midweek and that trend should last into the weekend. Cooler than
normal temperatures will result with increasing precipitation chances
favoring the northern half of the state.
Forecast challenges abound, especially during the extended period.
Feel fairly confident about the near term forecast with model
continuity and unity through at least mid week. Pattern will begin to
shift with an active jet stream...similar to some of the active jet
periods we experienced in previous months.
The resurgence of the previous nights frontal push impacted central
areas overnight. Residual cooler than normal temps will be found
across SE areas today...otherwise the early morning cooling will give
way to warming as a Pacific trough bears down on the southern and
central Rockies and moves a shortwave ridge eastward. As the ridge
moves eastward during the day period...winds aloft will increase and
mix down to the surface favoring the western tier. A leeside low
pressure area will also develop across the east and provide gusty
winds there as well. Some mid level moisture will try to make its way
north out of Mexico later today but not thinking much in the way of
sensible weather...perhaps a few fair weather cumulus favoring the
Went a little above model guidance for temps Sunday night as winds
increase aloft. Monday is a classic critical fire weather day as the
strong jet bears down on the area. It is likely that a wind advisory
will need to be issued favoring western and central areas. Cloud
cover should increase some across the far north later in the day but
the area should be devoid of showers.
All of the models show some precipitation potential across the far
north late Monday night with residual impacts on Tuesday. The models
have come in a little cooler and cloudier for the Tuesday period. Adopted
that trend although increased temps above model guidance across far
SE and SC areas due to some downslope impacts. The flow aloft will
remain quite strong. Another round of wind advisory conditions will
be possible on this day.
The first in a series of Pacific waves will have moved off to the
east Tuesday night. The jet will remain over the area on Wednesday.
Some precipitation will be possible favoring the far north. High
temps on Wednesday should be near to below normal areawide.
Long range operational models show an active storm period for late
week into the weekend. Careful analysis of the EPS/GEFS show a
slight favor towards warmer heights over NM compared to their
operational runs. But only slightly. The GEPS/EPS and GEFS show a
pretty similar pattern and have been doing so for the past few days.
Thus, confidence is at least medium for this period. Continued to
hedge a little drier across the southern half of the forecast area
and 1 to 2 degrees above model guidance for temperatures. Either
way...precipitation potential will be increasing favoring the north.
Temperatures are also likely to be below normal with periods of
abundant cloud cover and some wind due to the active overhead jet.
The eastern equatorial Pacific also remains active in terms of deep
convection compared to recent weeks. This gives some credence for an
active jet stream period over the southern/central Rockies.
...CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS TODAY NORTHWEST
...CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS AREAWIDE MONDAY...
A critical fire weather period will begin today across far western
portions of the forecast area, then spread east on Monday to include
the entire area.
The backdoor front is still making westward progress early this
morning beyond the Continental Divide and is forecast to reach the
Arizona border later this morning. However, the westerlies will
punch into the state later today as an upper level ridge axis moves
across, which will allow for much drier air to mix down to the
surface generally along and west of the Continental Divide. Above
normal temperatures and above normal mixing heights will combine
with Haines values of 6, windy conditions and single digit humidity
this afternoon to bring several hours of critical fire weather
conditions to the Northwest Plateau/Highlands. Decided to upgrade
the watch for today to a warning and add the NW Plateau.
Dry air will overtake the forecast area tonight into Monday.
Humidity recovery will be poor/fair across much of central and
western New Mexico tonight, setting the stage for a widespread
critical fire weather event Monday. Winds have trended up slightly
from previous forecast for Monday, but all other fire weather
elements are the same so decided to go ahead and upgrade the watch
to a warning with high forecaster confidence for all zones but the
North Central Mountains where any fire growth may be relegated to
the lower elevations.
Models are trending towards more moisture advection for Tuesday as
the jet stream dives southeast across the Great Basin into the
Southern Rockies. Considered issuing a watch for the East Central
Plains Tuesday, but run-to-run trends are not encouraging given
clouds and cooling with Haines values of 3-4. Still, Tuesday could
go either way and forecaster confidence just isn`t high enough to
issue a 5th period watch at this time. That said, winds will easily
hit warning threshold Tuesday, which will likely be the windiest day
of the week. Wed/Thu may end up being critical fire weather days as
well, at least for central and east central portions of New Mexico
as the jet stream remains positioned over the state. Moisture is the
question and given the latest GFS time/height humidity profiles,
sufficient clouds look to be in place to limit fire behavior.
The 00z operational runs of the GFS and ECMWF are in good agreement
with an anomalously cold upper low reaching the Four Corners late in
the week and dragging east along the NM/CO border going into
Saturday. A trend-changer for sure, with much cooler temperatures
and chances for wetting precipitation.
Red Flag Warning from 10 AM to 9 PM MDT Monday for the following
Red Flag Warning until 8 PM MDT this evening for the following