Area Forecast Discussion
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FXUS64 KLUB 151731

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Lubbock TX
1131 AM CST Thu Feb 15 2018

VFR conditions will continue this afternoon. Wind speeds at KCDS
and KLBB will increase this afternoon into the 20 to 30 knot
sustained range with gusts approaching 35 to 40 knots at times.
This will result in brief periods of reduced visibilities due to
blowing dust at KLBB and KPVW but the timing of when this will
happen is uncertain enough to not include at this time. Wind
speeds will decrease after sunset with VFR conditions continuing.
After midnight a strong cold front will move across the
region. Winds will increase and become northerly in direction.
Ceiling will also fall MVFR and possibly IFR at all terminals.

PREV DISCUSSION... /issued 412 AM CST Thu Feb 15 2018/

After the dry Valentine`s Day Lubbock has now officially tied its
longest consecutive streak without measurable precipitation, an
impressive and abysmal 98 days. The old record stretched from
October 28, 2005 to February 2, 2006. Unfortunately, it looks like
we`ll break that record today as we are in store for another windy,
warm and dry day. However, if we play our cards right, it still
appears at least portions of the region should see rainfall Friday
night into early Saturday.

Before we get to that, West Texas will remain under southwesterly
flow aloft today, downstream of a broad western trough. The upper
low that was sitting off of southern California just 24 hours ago
was now a shell of its former self as it was being absorbed into the
southwest flow across the Desert Southwest. The moist fetch of
Pacific moisture was bringing widespread precipitation to the Four
Corners states, but this rain was struggling to make it to ground
level as it was encountering drier downslope flow to the lee of the
Continental Divide. This trend will persist today, though the
Pacific moisture should provide a modest uptick in surface moisture
levels from yesterday. Otherwise, broad surface troughing east of
the Rockies will provide another breezy to windy day for the South
Plains region as winds veer more westerly behind an early day
Pacific front. It appears most of the area should see winds of 20 to
30 mph, with gusts of 40+ mph possible. It is not out of the
question that some spots on the Caprock could flirt with advisory
level wind speeds this afternoon, with the central and southern
South Plains perhaps most favored, but confidence in this remains
too low to issue an advisory at this time. However, we have gone
ahead and inserted a patchy blowing dust mention on the Caprock this
afternoon. Even with weak CAA behind the Pacific front, plenty of
filtered sunshine and the strong downslope flow will secure another
warm day. Highs will vary from near 70 around Friona to around 80
at Lubbock to the middle 80s off the Caprock. Lubbock should
remain below its daily record of 87 degrees (set in 2014), but
Childress will likely break its relatively low record high of 79
degrees (last set in 2011). The warm and dry winds will also
elevate the fire danger, though humidity levels should stay above
critical levels.

After a mild evening, a strong cold front will follow late tonight,
with gusty northerly winds and much cooler air advecting into the
South Plains. The latest trends are not quite as cold or dry post-
frontal, though it will still be a shock to the system after
yesterday and today. A brief bout of lift associated with the front
could try to squeeze out a few light showers late tonight into
Friday as it moves in under the sub-tropical moisture plume that
will be bending more squarely over the South Plains. However, the
general trend in the NWP has been to back off on the QPF
production during this period as the ephemeral lift fights the
drier air moving in on the northeasterly winds. Hence, we have
decreased PoPs too, though we have maintained a minimal rain
mention across the central and southern zones late tonight through
the day Friday. Any precipitation should be light and spotty.
Beyond that, it still appears a narrow band of precipitation
should quickly develop over southern New Mexico and spread/develop
eastward toward the Red River Valley Friday evening. This band of
precipitation is associated with broad upper lift from the right
entrance region of a stout upper level jet interacting with the
robust mid-upper level Pacific moisture, while concentrated by an
area of elevated frontogenesis. The band won`t be very wide, so if
you find yourself on either side of it you will receive little to
no precipitation, while those within in could get a couple of
tenths of an inch or more. The latest NWP generally favor our
central and southern zones for this band (as do our grids), though
a relatively subtle shift could make a big difference on who wins
out and who remains dry. Regarding p-type, the latest trends
support a chilly rain, though if the post-frontal air is slightly
colder and/or drier than progged there could still be a risk of
a little wintry mix, at least early on if any precipitation can
surface on Friday. It does appear temperatures should hold pretty
steady Friday night and may even rise a degree or two, so the
precipitation should be in liquid form then.

Temperatures will be stuck in the 40s Friday, but it will quickly
clear out and warm up to at or above average in the wake of the
departing upper level wave on Saturday. The western trough will
reload late in the weekend with southwesterly flow aloft returning
to West Texas. This will provide even warmer weather into early next
week. Moisture will gradually return back northward, and we could
even see a few showers out east by early Monday if the moisture
return is as aggressive as advertised, but it appears we`ll be back
in the dry air by later in the day. In fact fire weather concerns
will be more likely, perhaps as early as Sunday afternoon, but more
likely Monday afternoon. After that, a portion of the western trough
will emerge into the Midwest and this will open the door for our
next cold front. The latest GFS and ECMWF runs show the front
backdooring into the area during the day Tuesday before clearing
the entire CWA Tuesday night. Depending on the timing and strength
of the front, temperatures will be tricky, but for now we
indicate a modest cooling trend from Tuesday into Wednesday.

Today will bring another round of gusty, dry and warm winds.
Sustained westerly winds of 20 to 30 mph will be common, and highs
will be 10-25 degrees above average, but RH values are also expected
to be higher, generally between 20 and 30 percent. The improved
moisture levels should preclude critical fire weather, but
widespread elevate conditions are expected this afternoon and a
fire danger statement will be issued.




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