Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 151751 AAB

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1051 AM MST Fri Feb 15 2019

Stream of mid to high level moisture to continue over NM. Sct lower
clouds may contribute to localized mt top obscurations over wrn and
central NM through 00Z. Models suggest strong w-nwly winds gusting to
around 45kt along the east slopes of the Sangre de Cristo mts to
diminish by 20Z but strong w-nwly winds gusting to around 45kt from
near KCQC over the east central plains to persist until around 00Z.
Another round of showers, lowering ceilings and mt obscurations may
invade nw NM aft 16/09Z along with strengthening wly winds.


.PREV DISCUSSION...940 AM MST Fri Feb 15 2019...
Went ahead and cancelled the Winter storm warning as the bulk of the
snow has ended, and any additional accumulations should be light.
Winds have come up rapidly on portions of the east central plains, so
have moved up the start time of the wind advisory. Strong winds along
the Interstate 25 corridor at least in the Raton area would qualify
for adding an advisory there as well, but forecast soundings indicate
winds to weaken during the next couple hours. Let`s hope so.


.PREV DISCUSSION...250 AM MST Fri Feb 15 2019...
Widespread rain and mountain snow will quickly exit the region this
morning as much drier air invades from the west. West winds will be
strong once again across eastern New Mexico where gusts up to 50 mph
are possible this afternoon. Temperatures will be warm with highs in
the 60s and 70s across the plains. The next weather system will move
into northwestern New Mexico late tonight and spread snow across the
northern mountains and Continental Divide through Saturday morning.
Snowfall amounts will range from 1 to 3 inches in areas like Gallup,
Farmington, and Taos, while the high terrain picks up 3 to 6 inches.
Another round of wind is expected across eastern New Mexico Saturday
but with colder temperatures. Meanwhile, snow showers will linger
over northern and western New Mexico through Sunday. A significant
winter storm is likely to develop over the region Monday and Tuesday
with very cold temperatures, widespread accumulating snow, and more


A highly anomalous moisture surge across the southwest CONUS broke
preliminary record PWATs for February at several sites, including
KABQ (0.74"). PWATs were +5 standard deviations above climo and the
result was widespread rainfall amounts of a quarter to one half inch,
along with very high snow levels. Chama has been the winner so far
with 12" of new snow overnight. Snow water equivalent values will be
high with this event which will help with dwindling snowpack of the
past few weeks. Fortunately, this is the beginning of an extended
period of unsettled weather as the overall pattern will be favorable
for a couple decent winter storms.

First, the current wave of record moisture will move quickly east
today and be replaced by an impressively dry mid level airmass from
the west. West winds will be strong again over the plains where yet
another Wind Advisory has been issued. High temps will be 10 to 15F
above normal over the east with strong downslope flow.

The next moist upper wave will move into northwestern NM tonight
with strong cold advection and another round of snow after midnight.
Guidance continues trending slightly wetter and a bit farther south
with each run. Expect snow to develop around the Four Corners region
after midnight before spreading east into the northern mountains and
parts of the Cont Dvd Saturday morning. Snowfall amounts range from
around 1-3" from Gallup to Farmington and Taos through noon Saturday
while the higher terrain picks up 3-6". Winter Wx Advisories may be
needed for parts of the area if trends continue. The other aspect of
Saturday will be more wind with colder temps for the east. Another
set of Wind Advisories is possible for eastern NM.

The next potentially significant winter storm is still on target for
Monday through Tuesday as another moist upper wave develops west of
NM and a strong back door cold front slides into eastern NM. Model
guidance has been in very good agreement now for several days so
confidence is increasing that an impactful winter storm will develop
over the region early next week. It is still too early to pinpoint
snowfall accumulations however based on the airmass associated with
this system there may be snow as far south as Roswell and Socorro.



A few hours of localized critical fire weather conditions are
expected this afternoon near and just east of the Canadian River
escarpment in western Harding County extending north to just south
of Capulin. The relatively short duration and limited extent of
critical conditions will preclude a Red Flag Warning at this time;
however,  this area will be closely monitored. Max temperatures 5-15
degrees above seasonal average are once again expected on the eastern
plains today with the strongest winds generally impacting areas
along and just south of the I-40 corridor where MinRh values will
range from 15-25 percent. Elsewhere, a pronounced drying trend will
develop across northern and western areas in the wake of a very
moist Pacific frontal system that brought the greatest 24-hour
precipitation total to Gallup since September 2017. Minimum RH values
will trend down 15 to as much as 30 percent for places like Chama,
Chaco Canyon and Farmington.

A fast westerly flow aloft will deliver another round of strong wind
and areas of wetting precipitation after midnight tonight into
Saturday. The focus for wetting precipitation will once again be
across the north, while the strongest winds will impact the high
terrain, east and south. Temperatures will trend noticeably cooler
on Saturday and a little cooler still Sunday when highs will be
several degrees below normal. Localized critical fire weather
conditions will be possible over southeast parts of the East Central
Plains Saturday afternoon but even less areal coverage than
previously expected.

Predominately poor to fair ventilation rates across north-central
and northwest areas today with good to excellent ventilation
remainder.  Excellent ventilation areawide on Saturday before
trending downward Sunday with fair to good conditions north-central
and northwest. Going into early next week, a backdoor cold front
combined with a significantly colder upper level storm system
approaching from the northwest will drive ventilation rates downward
Monday and especially Tuesday.   In fact, a much colder and snowier
pattern is shaping up for late Sunday night through Tuesday with yet
another storm system late next week.  KJ


Wind Advisory until 6 PM MST this evening for the following zones...


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