Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 212117
AFDABQ

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
317 PM MDT Thu Mar 21 2019

.SYNOPSIS...
Mostly cloudy to overcast conditions and slightly below average
temperatures have been in place across most of northern and central
New Mexico today as a Pacific low pressure system gradually moves
toward the state. Scattered to numerous rain and snow showers, and
even thunderstorms, have been periodically developing over western
and central parts of the state. Precipitation will continue
overnight, focusing over the north central areas of the state, but
also pushing into eastern New Mexico by daybreak Friday. By this
time, the low pressure system will be crossing over northern parts of
the state, exiting to the northeast late Friday night. A few inches
of snow accumulation will continue to stack up over the northern
mountains through Friday, and any thunderstorms in the eastern tier
of the state could turn strong to severe with gusty winds and large
hail. Precipitation will wane Friday night with drier conditions
expected Saturday. Breezy to locally windy conditions will also
develop on both Saturday and again on Sunday as high temperatures
reach or exceed seasonal readings.

&&

.DISCUSSION...
The primary centroid of the Pacific low is currently over southern CA
with a preceding negatively-tilted short wave now lifting over the
Four Corners. This has produced ongoing rounds of thunderstorms over
northwestern NM while remaining areas have observed a lull in
activity since this morning. Going into the remainder of the
afternoon toward evening, this current activity will translate
eastward with individual cells moving north northeast. Additional
showers and a few storms will redevelop over northwestern to north
central NM overnight as the low inches closer to NM, and additional
batches of showers/storms will gradually ease into eastern parts of
the state. Plenty of shear exists for a few strong storms through the
evening, and instability has been present as well. This coupled with
the relatively low freezing heights at the bookend of the cool season
and a low altitude hail growth zone could lead to some hail for some
zones this evening.

Into Friday, the preceding short wave will be rapidly lifting due
northward up the Rockies while the broader low treks east with a
southern centroid or extension crossing into northern NM. Central and
western zones will retain better surface dewpoints through Friday
morning while western zones observe cooling and drying. By Friday
afternoon, the westerlies will spread into central NM, quickly
advancing into the plains. The dry air entraining behind these
westerlies will establish an abrupt demarcation with the moist,
southerly flow over the plains, and while this dryline would seem to
be a focal point for strong to severe convection, forecast models are
not generating much precipitation in the immediate vicinity of this
surface boundary. Abundant cloud cover may have to be overcome,
despite the NAM`s generous 500-1500 J/kg of CAPE, and this could be
why the precipitation is struggling to develop before the dryline
moves into west TX. Precipitation will quickly wane Friday evening
and into the post-midnight hours as the low pushes into eastern CO
and western KS.

Short wave ridging will follow on Saturday with fairly brisk
westerlies aloft staying intact and a weak lee-side trough starting
to take shape by afternoon. This will spell breezy to locally windy
conditions with temperatures gaining a couple to a few degrees. On
Sunday, a short wave trough will quickly jog over the central Rockies
amid the stiff westerly flow. The ECMWF continues to depict a sharper
wave with some faint precipitation seeping south of CO and into the
northern zones of our forecast area while the GFS resolves a flatter
flow with less prospects for precipitation Sunday. The current Sunday
POP forecast leans cautiously toward the ECMWF, but no appreciable
amounts are anticipated, and temperatures will continue to trend up
by a couple more degrees.

An upper level ridge axis builds over NM Monday, and the axis of
this feature would be shifting east toward Tuesday with the GFS being
quicker to do so. Temperatures will climb above average on both
these days. Past forecast packages have kept mostly dry conditions
for Tuesday, however the GFS, being quicker to shift the ridge east,
introduces a juicier return flow to eastern NM with showers and
storms erupting late Tuesday. With some hesitancy, have introduced
isolated POPs in eastern zones Tuesday evening along with some west
TX neighboring offices, and this will need to re-assessed with each
subsequent shift.

Any moisture will likely be scoured out into Wednesday as the flow
aloft backs more southwesterly while increasing in speed. This will
mix stronger winds to the surface while sending dewpoints plummeting.

52

&&

.FIRE WEATHER...
No widespread critical fire weather concerns over the next few days
as widespread wetting precipitation that will continue into tomorrow
will limit fire weather concerns. However, drier air this weekend as
well as stronger winds on Sunday may create some marginal critical
fire concerns over east central New Mexico. Critical fire weather
concerns may also be in the forecast Thursday of next week in the
southeast.

An approaching Pacific low pressure system that is currently
centered over the Great Basin will continue to steer rounds of rain,
thunderstorms, and mountain snow across the area through tomorrow. A
few showers and thunderstorms have already developed along and west
of the Continental Divide and will become more widespread as the
evening continues. A few of the storms could be strong across the
northwest this evening and on the eastern plains Friday. Snow levels
are expected to continue to fall tonight to around 5500 to 6000 ft
in the northwest by Friday morning. Most locations will receive
wetting precipitation by late tomorrow with a few to several inches
of snow possible in the higher elevations of the northern mountains.

The storm system will lift out of northeast NM on Saturday. Drier air
will move into the area as high pressure sets in and winds shift to
the west. Some moderate breezes will be possible along and east of
the central mountain chain on Sunday as a weak disturbance passes to
the north. Minimum humidity values are forecast to remain at around
20 percent in the east, but critical fire conditions could be
approached for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon.

A backdoor cold front will move into the northeast Sunday night,
bringing an increase of low level moisture across the east, but
little to no precipitation. A ridge of high pressure will build
across the area on Monday with dry, quiet weather expected for the
first part of the week. A moist southeasterly return flow arrives on
Tuesday, ushering in Gulf moisture and trending minimum humidity
values up. A few showers could develop in the eastern plains Tuesday
in response to the richer moisture, but models aren`t in good
agreement with that. The winds shift back to the west late Wednesday
as another Pacific storm system approaches from California and passes
to the north. Minimum humidity values are forecast to drop
dramatically in the east and could be less than 15 percent on
Thursday. Along with potentially windy conditions on Thursday, there
may be critical fire weather concerns in the southeast plains.

Ventilation rates will remain good to excellent across the area
through the weekend before trending back down again on Monday as
mixing decreases. Vent rates may return to good to excellent on
Tuesday.

15

&&

.AVIATION...
18Z TAF CYCLE
With a low pressure system approaching the Four Corners from the west
southwest, scattered to numerous rain showers, snow showers (above
6500 feet or so) and thunderstorms will continue today and tonight.
A few thunderstorms may turn severe with very strong winds and/or
large hail. The upper low will pass eastward along the NM/CO border
on Friday, keeping precipitation going across northern and eastern
areas, then it will exit the region to the northeast Friday night.
Accumulating snow will favor the northern mountains with impacts at
AXX, Chama and possibly SKX and LVS.

44

&&

.PRELIMINARY POINT TEMPS/POPS...
Farmington......................  36  52  31  58 /  30  20   5   0
Dulce...........................  32  47  24  51 /  70  60  10  10
Cuba............................  33  49  30  53 /  60  40  10   5
Gallup..........................  29  52  26  57 /   5  10   5   0
El Morro........................  28  50  24  54 /  10  10   5   0
Grants..........................  30  53  26  58 /  10  10   5   0
Quemado.........................  29  53  27  58 /   5   5   5   0
Glenwood........................  35  59  34  64 /   0   0   5   0
Chama...........................  29  43  21  46 /  80  70  10  10
Los Alamos......................  38  51  32  55 /  70  60  10   5
Pecos...........................  34  48  29  52 /  70  60   5   5
Cerro/Questa....................  33  45  25  48 /  70  70  10  10
Red River.......................  26  37  19  39 /  80  80  10  10
Angel Fire......................  31  40  18  42 /  80  80  10  10
Taos............................  34  49  25  52 /  60  60  10   5
Mora............................  34  49  28  53 /  80  70  10   5
Espanola........................  39  54  31  59 /  60  60  10   0
Santa Fe........................  36  51  31  55 /  70  60   5   5
Santa Fe Airport................  35  54  29  59 /  60  50   5   0
Albuquerque Foothills...........  42  57  36  62 /  50  30   5   0
Albuquerque Heights.............  45  58  39  63 /  50  20   5   0
Albuquerque Valley..............  40  60  33  65 /  40  20   5   0
Albuquerque West Mesa...........  42  58  35  63 /  50  20   5   0
Los Lunas.......................  40  62  34  65 /  40  10   5   0
Rio Rancho......................  42  58  36  62 /  50  30   5   0
Socorro.........................  42  65  37  69 /  20   5   5   0
Sandia Park/Cedar Crest.........  38  52  31  55 /  60  40   5   0
Tijeras.........................  36  55  30  59 /  60  30   5   0
Moriarty/Estancia...............  35  55  28  61 /  50  20   5   0
Clines Corners..................  36  53  30  57 /  60  30   5   0
Gran Quivira....................  38  58  33  60 /  30  10   5   0
Carrizozo.......................  41  61  38  63 /  20   5   5   0
Ruidoso.........................  35  55  34  57 /  30   5   5   0
Capulin.........................  35  54  27  59 /  60  70  20  10
Raton...........................  37  55  28  62 /  60  70  10   5
Springer........................  38  57  30  62 /  70  70  10   5
Las Vegas.......................  34  52  29  58 /  80  50   5   0
Clayton.........................  39  58  35  64 /  40  70  50   5
Roy.............................  40  55  31  61 /  70  70  20   5
Conchas.........................  44  62  36  68 /  70  60  20   0
Santa Rosa......................  43  63  37  66 /  60  40  10   0
Tucumcari.......................  45  64  37  72 /  40  60  30   0
Clovis..........................  42  62  38  69 /  30  60  50   0
Portales........................  43  64  38  70 /  30  60  40   0
Fort Sumner.....................  45  64  38  69 /  40  30  20   0
Roswell.........................  46  71  38  75 /  40  10   5   0
Picacho.........................  43  66  38  67 /  40   5   5   0
Elk.............................  40  61  36  63 /  40   5   5   0

&&

.ABQ WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
Winter Weather Advisory from 6 PM this evening to 6 PM MDT Friday
for the following zones... NMZ510>515.

&&

$$

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