Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Flagstaff, AZ

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FXUS65 KFGZ 182152

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Flagstaff AZ
252 PM MST Thu Jan 18 2018

.SYNOPSIS...Dry weather and warm temperatures will persist through
Friday. An approaching storm system will result in increasing
southwest winds Friday afternoon. The storm system will spread
rain and snow across the area Saturday with accumulating snow in
mountains. Expect winter driving conditions if heading into the
high country this weekend, particularly above 5,000 feet. Drier
weather returns on Sunday and early next week.


.DISCUSSION...Pleasant warm weather is occurring across the state
today. Temperatures this afternoon are around 10 degrees warmer
than average. Mild conditions will persist through Friday while
winds increase through the afternoon hours in response to a low
pressure trough developing over California. Areas along and north
of the rim will see winds gusting up to 35 mph with a few gusts to
40 mph possible. The stronger winds look to hold off until later
Friday night and Saturday morning just ahead of the cold front.
This is when southwest winds up to 45 mph will be likley. These
stronger winds will continue across eastern Arizona through late
Saturday afternoon before decreasing.

A strong cold front will bring accumulating snow across northern
Arizona as it passes from west to east early Saturday morning
through Saturday evening. The heaviest precipitation is expected
along the cold front which will enter western Arizona before
sunrise Saturday. It will move through central Arizona during the
morning hours, and into eastern Arizona Saturday afternoon. Behind
the main cold front, plenty of cold air filters into the area as
the upper level cold pool moves overhead. Plenty of instability
will continue shower activity through Saturday evening before
dissipating. Model forecasts are still in pretty good agreement
with precipitation amounts and we have not made any big
adjustments. Accumulating snow is likely down to 5,000 feet with
the most accumulation above 6,000 feet. Be prepared for snow
covered roads and winter driving any time on Saturday.

A few showers may persist near the New Mexico border through
Sunday morning with otherwise dry conditions returning.
Temperatures will remain cold through Sunday before warming up
early next week. Another fast moving trough may bring another
round of winter weather Thursday/Friday of next week.


.AVIATION...For the 00Z package...VFR conditions will continue
through the next 24 hours under scattered to broken high clouds.
Surface winds variable to 10 kts over night, becoming SW at 10-20
kts gusting 20-30 kts Friday afternoon. Aviation discussion not
updated for amendments.


.FIRE WEATHER...Expect dry weather through Friday. Winds will be
light and variable becoming gusty southwesterly Friday afternoon as
a strong cold front approaches our area. Max temps 5 to 10 degrees
above normal. The cold front should be moving into western Arizona
around midnight Saturday morning and reach the New Mexico state line
Saturday afternoon. Very strong southwest winds to persist ahead of
the front. A band of precipitation is expected with the front, with
wetting precipitation amounts forecast along the Mogollon Rim.
Snow showers will be widespread across northern Arizona most of
Saturday with snow levels down to 3500 feet Saturday afternoon.

Sunday through Tuesday...A few showers may persist Sunday morning. Dry
conditions return late Sunday through Tuesday. Below normal
seasonal temperatures Sunday with breezy NW winds, warming to near
normal Monday and Tuesday with light and variable winds.






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