Area Forecast Discussion
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FXUS64 KLUB 220936

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Lubbock TX
336 AM CST Wed Feb 22 2017

Upper-level flow over West Texas will trend more westerly today,
then southwest this evening, as an upper-level trough quickly moves
from the West Coast into the Great Basin. A pronounced low-level
thermal ridge will develop over West Texas with 850mb temps rising
to over 20 degrees C. This will produce near-record temperatures
across the forecast area with highs well into the 80s for most
locations. The record high at Lubbock is 87 with a forecast high of
85, so we will likely remain just shy of the record. A weak surface
trough will slide through the Rolling Plains keeping winds light and
from a northerly fetch. This is not favorable for hot temperatures
in that area and we expect Childress to remain well below their
record high of 93, with temperatures expected to be roughly on par
with Lubbock. Deep-layer southwest flow will continue to strengthen
across the region tonight, although nocturnal decoupling will keep
winds light at the surface. Temperatures will be on the mild side,
with lows in the 40s and 50s.

Warm and windy conditions with elevated fire weather concerns will
be a normal thing at least over the next week.

The first high impact day will be on Thursday when a short wave
within a broad trough ejects out over the south-central Plains.
Strong winds aloft will spread over the region but the South Plains
will be in a relative minimum in 700mb winds. This may not mean much
for the day with winds at 700mb still progged to be around 40kt.
CIPS analog guidance highlights one previous outbreak day for
Thursday. However, it should be noted that the low level thermal
ridge will not be co-located with the 500mb wind max which is where
we typically increased fire activity. Areas near the Texas/New
Mexico state line that will see the highest winds have also seen the
least amount of recent rainfall. The aforementioned short wave will
drag a Pacific cold front through on Thursday evening leading to a
suppressed thermal ridge on Friday with cooler surface temperatures.
Although cooler temperatures tend to mitigate fire weather concerns,
extremely dry air will advect into the area behind the front. An
increased height gradient will continue to exist aloft along with
strong winds, particularly across the southwestern South Plains.

A cold front will back door into the area Friday night into Saturday
morning which will at least quash fire weather concerns for a couple
of days. Surface lee troughing/cyclogenesis will reestablish itself
by Monday next week as another trough digs into the western CONUS.
Models are in good agreement in bringing an even stronger short wave
trough into the southern Plains Tuesday next week which is more
characteristic of an outbreak pattern than Thursday.


The combination of very warm temperatures and dry air will result in
RH values falling into the 10 to 15 percent range across much of the
Caprock this afternoon. Wind speeds will remain relatively light,
likely averaging around 10 mph at the 20-foot level and a little bit
higher near the TX/NM state line. We will issue a Fire Danger
Statement for areas on the Caprock this afternoon to highlight the
elevated fire danger.

Several days of elevated or critical fire weather conditions can
continue to be expected over the next week. Thursday is
anticipated to have the highest impacts with the weather pattern a
fairly good representation of a classic south plains fire weather
pattern. Several hours of red flag conditions are expected on the
caprock on Thursday afternoon with very warm temperatures, strong
westerly winds, and extremely dry air moving into the region.
Even drier air will move in on Friday in the wake of a cold front.
Although this will bring cooler temperatures, very strong winds
and the dry air may allow critical fire weather conditions to
again develop, especially across the southwestern South Plains.
Another period of consecutive fire weather days may develop early
next week from Monday through Tuesday.


Red Flag Warning from 11 AM to 8 PM CST Thursday for TXZ021>042.

Fire Weather Watch from Friday morning through Friday evening
for TXZ021>023-027>030-033>036-039>042.



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