Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Amarillo, TX

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FXUS64 KAMA 181109

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Amarillo TX
509 AM CST Sun Feb 18 2018

12Z TAFs will be VFR through the entire 12Z period. Main concerns
today will be gusty SW winds up to 38 kts. Winds will start out
SSW 15-20 kts and will pick up to 20-25 kts with gust up to 38 kts
by 18Z and will be more WSW at this time. Few to scattered cloud
decks will be above 20 kft.



.PREV DISCUSSION... /Issued 351 AM CST Sun Feb 18 2018/

Zonal flow aloft is expected to slowly transition to southwesterly
through Monday as a trough dives southward across the western
United States. Today, a lee side low is expected to develop across
eastern Colorado which will result in a stronger pressure
gradient over the Panhandles. This tightened pressure gradient
will allow our sustained surface winds to reach into the 20 to 30
mph range. It is entirely possible that we could see a quick jump
in our gusts (up to 40 mph) this morning as we mix into the low
level jet. These increased gusts are expected to diminish towards
noon before we begin to mix into the 750mb to 700mb layer. Once
mixed into this layer we could see more consistent gusts in the
40 to 45 mph range. The combination of strong winds and well above
average high temperatures of mid to upper 70s we will see fire
weather concerns across a sizable portion of the Panhandles today.
See Fire Weather section below for details.

A similar setup is expected on Monday with the exception being a
southward moving cold front. This front is expected to stall
across southern Kansas which will allow us to warm once again into
the 70s area wide. The pressure gradient is not anticipated to be
quiet as strong as what we will see today. As such surface winds
will be slightly lower. There will still be sufficient wind to
warrant fire weather concerns.

There remains some inconsistency between forecast models
regarding the timing of a cold front on Tuesday into Wednesday.
The main outlier is the GFS which bring the front into the
Panhandles roughly 6 hours later. The NAM/ECMWF/CMC bring the cold
front into the Panhandles around 18Z on Tuesday. Should this
solution verify then high temperatures on Tuesday will be very
tricky. This front is expected to move through without precip but
the NAM hints at some post frontal light precip for the Oklahoma
Panhandles. Given low confidence, have held off introducing these
chances for now.

Return flow is expected towards the end of the work week. There is
some chance for precip for the off-Caprock counties but not much
just yet for the on-Caprock counties.

As mentioned above, we expect to see strong winds this afternoon
as we mix strong winds aloft to the surface. Despite overnight
return flow which has brought higher dewpoints into the area, well
above normal temperatures will drive down our afternoon relative
humidity. This combination has resulted into Red Flag Threat Index
(RFTI) values of 4 to 5 across the northern and western portions
of the combined Panhandles. As such, have retained the Red Flag
Warning and upgraded the Fire Weather Watch. A Fire Danger
Statement has also been issued for the southwestern and eastern
Texas Panhandle.

Critical fire weather conditions are possible across the western
Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles on Monday while elevated fire
weather conditions are possible across most of the remaining
areas. Our strongest winds of 25 to 30 mph with higher gusts are
expected over the western portions of the Panhandles as our
relative humidty drop to the 20 percent mark. This combination is
expected to result in RFTI values of 4.

A cold front is expected to drop into the Panhandles on Tuesday
which will force our temperatures low enough to prohibit elevated
and critical fire weather conditions through Wednesday. Light
winds through the remainder of the week will further prohibit
elevated and critical fire weather conditions.


.AMA Watches/Warnings/Advisories...
TX...Red Flag Warning from noon today to 7 PM CST this evening for
     the following zones: Dallam...Hansford...Hartley...

OK...Red Flag Warning from noon today to 7 PM CST this evening for
     the following zones: Beaver...Cimarron...Texas.



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