Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 251204 AAA

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
604 AM MDT Sun Oct 25 2020

VFR conditions at TAF sites will continue through 00Z Monday. In the
east a powerful back door cold front has moved into northeast NM and
will continue slowly south and west today. Current VFR conditions
may give way to MVFR then IFR conditions late this afternoon or
evening at KTCC and probably KLVS. Snow will begin in the northern
mountains today with vsby obstructions. Winds will be strong in the
west with gusts to 40kt. Tonight and Monday will produce widespread
precipitation with all TAF sites dropping into IFR and LIFR
conditions with mt white-out conditions in heavy snow. East canyon
winds at KABQ will reach 40kt and southeast at KSAF will reach 35kt
later tonight into Monday.


.PREV DISCUSSION...342 AM MDT Sun Oct 25 2020...
A real taste of winter weather can be expected throughout the Land
of Enchantment for the early to middle part of the week as a strong
storm system brings arctic air and heavy snow to the region. A cold
front will sweep through the eastern plains today, dropping readings
significantly. For comparison, high temperatures on Saturday in the
eastern plains were in the upper 70s, but will remain the teens and
20s on Monday. Hazardous travel conditions will develop across the
northern parts of the state this afternoon into the overnight hours
due to a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain. The best chances
for heavy precipitation is forecast on Monday and Monday night, with
many locations experiencing accumulating snow. Meanwhile, very cold
air and gusty winds, particularly near and below canyons in the Rio
Grande Valley, will create hazardous wind chill values. This storm
system will eject eastward Tuesday night into Wednesday, with wrap-
around snow possible across the northeast and east central plains.
Quiet and warmer weather can be expected for the latter part of the


It`s been exceptionally dry and warm since mid-September. Many
record high temperatures have been set. That`s about to change in a
huge way. A powerful back door cold front will enter northeast NM
today and spread rapidly south and west tonight. Behind the front are
dramatically colder temperatures and plenty of low level moisture. A
trough of low pressure will deepen into a closed low to our west
producing divergent flow aloft with increased instability. These will
combine to produce copious amounts of precipitation across all of
northern and central NM. The big question is what form will the
precipitation be in and how long will it last. The models are a
little closer to agreeing on the placement of the upper low through
early in the week, but there are still significant enough differences
that would result in the placement of the heavier precipitation
bands. All models do have large QPF and snow amounts. Precipitation
will start this afternoon and continue through Monday and beyond.
Forecast soundings suggest mostly snow for the northern mountains and
far northeast, a wintery mix of precipitation for the east central
and southeast areas tonight and Monday, and rain changing to snow in
the west. We will be upgrading some of the winter storm watches to
warnings with this forecast cycle, and adding some zones to the
Winter Storm Watch. The warnings and watches may need to be expanded
in time if the slower ECMWF and CMC are right. Strong winds will
blast into the Rio Grande Valley around midnight tonight and continue
into Tuesday. The strongest winds will be late tonight into Monday
when they will easily reach wind advisory levels and could reach high
wind warming criteria briefly. And finally, there is a Wind Advisory
in effect out west near the AZ border. Whew!

It will be hard to fathom, but temperatures are going to be
remarkably colder everywhere Monday, but especially in the east.
Clayton`s high temperature on Monday is forecast to be 16. The
previous record low max? 33! How far below normal is this? 50
degrees! Many record lows and record low maximum temperatures will
be set.

The long awaited winter storm that starts to impact New Mexico in
the short term period will continue to plague the CWFA through the
midweek time frame. There is relatively high confidence regarding
the potential for widespread impacts; however, given the nature of
banded precip and the trajectory of the upper low, pinpointing the
exact areas for the highest snow accumulations will be a challenge
and will likely remain so until the main core of the system invades
the region. With that said, the current thinking is that the Sangre
de Cristo and San Juan/Tusas Mtns as well as Mora, San Miguel, and
Torrance counties may be prime candidates for accumulations of 10+
inches through Tuesday. This includes both the Interstate 25 and 40
travel corridors.

For Mon night, deterministic models place the previously mentioned
upper low west of New Mexico, but there are still differences with
respect to is exact placement, and this will ultimately impact snow
accumulations across western NM. By 18Z/Tuesday, the GFS20 has the
low over south central NM, shoving the highest precip chances into
eastern NM/western TX. Meanwhile, the ECMWF, NAM and Canadian place
the upper low over southeast AZ. This would allow broad diffluence
and vertical ascent to remain over western and central NM. This has
been the preferred solution in the forecast package, but still need
to monitor the progress of this system. Meanwhile, widespread snow
will persist in the east, although the best chances may slide south
into east central and southeast NM. BUFKIT model soundings suggest
a period of freezing rain and sleet may mix with the snow across the
far southeast, but confidence is lower than in the previous forecast
cycles due to colder profiles.

By late on Tuesday into Wednesday, all model solutions migrate the
upper low into central TX/OK. This poses another new challenge as a
TROWAL develops and the wrap-around precipitation could potentially
impact eastern NM. The GFS suggests mod/heavy precip over the TX/OK
Panhandles, but the other solutions are more clustered in northeast
NM. Given the deterministic GFS is further east than the GEFS mean,
one might think a more direct NM impact is certainly credible. As a
result, opted to lower MaxT values even further for eastern NM on
Wednesday although some air mass modification is likely during this
period. Regardless, additional snowfall could pile up along/east of
the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Quieter weather is expected for Thursday through late week. While
the storm system will be east of NM, there will be challenges with
respect to temperatures. For example, sub-zero low temperatures are
very common in the Moreno Valley/Angel Fire area due to the strong
radiational cooling (fresh snow cover, clear skies and light winds).
In addition, patchy dense fog cannot be ruled out. Other areas with
significant snow cover will have reduced readings for a day or two
following the event until the brunt of the snow melts away. DPorter


Central and southern areas of the forecast zones will remain dry and
warm today, but a powerful cold front will enter the northeast today
with much colder air and increased moisture behind it. Elevated fire
weather conditions are expected along and south of I-40 today, but
critical conditions are not expected to be reached except maybe
briefly along the southern edge of our fire weather zones. Rain and
high mountain snow will start this afternoon with thunderstorms
possible as well in the northwest.

The fun really gets going tonight and continues through at least
Tuesday night and maybe through Wednesday. Large snow accumulations
will fall in the mountains, and northeast to east central areas.
Freezing rain and sleet will be a concern for the central highlands
and eastern plains tonight and Monday, while rain changes to snow in
the western and northwest valleys. Incredibly cold air will pour
into NM with highs by Monday up to 50 degrees below normal in the

Temperatures will moderate some the rest of this week but will still
be below mostly below normal through the weekend. Dry weather will
return by Thursday and continue through next weekend.

Ventilation will crater by Monday with poor vent rates through the
week. CHJ


Wind Advisory from noon today to 6 PM MDT this evening for the
following zones... NMZ201-202-205-206-208-209.

Winter Storm Watch from this evening through late Monday night for
the following zones... NMZ211-216>218-221>223-230>233.

Winter Storm Watch from Monday morning through late Monday night
for the following zones... NMZ203-204-206-207-224.

Winter Storm Warning from 6 PM this evening to 6 AM MDT Tuesday for
the following zones... NMZ210-212>215-227>229.


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