Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 172329

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
529 PM MDT Sat Mar 17 2018

Winds will will remain moderate and gusty over the mountains tonight,
while lower elevations decouple from the stronger flow aloft. Winds
will become strong to potentially damaging Sunday with gusts reaching
50 kt in the afternoon at KAEG, KLVS, KTCC and KROW. In addition,
scattered snow showers will develop in the Four Corners area late
tonight as an upper level trough approaches from the west. The system
may form a closed low that will pass eastward along the CO/NM border
on Sunday. North central and western areas will be favored for rain
and snow showers, some with thunder across the northwest. A few
inches of snow accumulation is expected in the mountains and along
the continental divide on Sunday. Furthermore, blowing dust may
produce MVFR or even IFR visibilities and or ceilings Sunday
afternoon at lower elevations along and east of the Rio Grande and
from the I-40 corridor southward. For now, kept VFR with 6SM BLDU in
central and eastern TAFs.


.PREV DISCUSSION...328 PM MDT Sat Mar 17 2018...
Surface low over southeast CO taking its time deepening this
afternoon as the upper level southwest flow appears to be backing
more than forecast over the Great Basin. As a result, south and
southwest winds have been slow to increase across the northeast
plains and highlands this afternoon. Still expecting a few hours of
of strong winds late this afternoon and evening but it now looks
quite short-lived. Southern short-wave/vort lobe in a complex closed
circulation of three upper troughs/vort lobes on track to move
through northern NM Sunday. The associated 130kt jet is forecast to
nose in from the west/nw mid-day Sunday, resulting in rapid
cyclogenesis over northeast NM/southeast CO. This is a very
favorable scenario for high winds across the east with the potential
for high winds in the mid RGV and points northeast to the Sangres and
northeast highlands. Upgraded the high wind watch to a warming for
much of the east/se and left a high wind watch out for the areas
where uncertainty is slightly higher Accumulating snow is a good bet
for the northern mountains above 8000 feet or so where several
inches is likely, especially in the Tusas Mountains east of Chama and
Tierra Amarilla Sunday into Sunday evening. Very strong to high
winds will continue across east and especially northeast NM Sunday
night into Monday as the surface low moves little thanks to a
trailing 105kt zonal jet moving in from AZ. While CAA from the
northwest starts across the northwest third tonight, it`s strongest
Sunday afternoon into Sunday night, continuing Monday.

By Tuesday, dry northwest flow aloft ahead of a rather flat upper-
level ridge to the west moves over the state. A warming trend is
forecast to get underway areawide Tuesday with additional warming
underneath the ridge axis for Wednesday.

GFS and ECWMF agree that another upper-level Pacific trough will
approach the state from the west Thursday but disagree on how much of
a sub-tropical moisture tap it has. GFS is the wetter of the two
models, generating more qpf over the northwest third.




Red Flag Warning across northeast areas not panning out too well yet
today, but winds should continue to strengthen this afternoon, and
humidities should continue to fall across southern and western parts
of that fire weather zone, bringing at least locally critical fire
weather conditions to fruition.

Red Flag Conditions are more certain across the eastern plains for
Sunday, so we decided to upgrade to a Red Flag Warning.  An upper
level trough will deepen and form a closed low pressure system as it
passes eastward over the CO/NM border on Sunday.  This will steer
the jet stream over central NM from the west with a 90-100 kt speed
max at 500 mb, and decent atmospheric mixing with high temperatures
from near normal to as much as 5 degrees above normal.  There will
also be a strong surface lee trough in place south of a potent 992
mb (or so) surface low in SE CO. MOS guidance has picked up on this
with sustained winds likely reaching 25 to 40 mph across much of the
area along and east of the central mountain chain, with the
strongest west and southwest winds south of a line from Las Vegas To
Tucumcari. The strong downslope flow will cause humidities to
plummet near and below 15 percent across the eastern plains.  Haines
will generally vary from 4 to 5 across the east.

Farther west winds will also be strong on Sunday, with gusts from 40
to 55 mph common, and possibly around 60 mph as far west as Santa Fe
and Albuquerque. However, humidities will come up and a wintry mix
of precipitation is expected with a few to perhaps 6 inches of snow
mainly in the mountains, and lighter amounts at lower elevations
along and west of the continental divide.  Some of that accumulation
will linger into Sunday night.  A Pacific cold front will cross
western then central areas from the west on Sunday afternoon with a
wind shift out of the northwest.

Strong winds will very gradually weaken Sunday night, except across
northeast areas where a strong back door cold front will produce
wind gusts potentially from 45 to 60 mph through the night and into
Monday morning. Cooler temperatures on Tuesday will cause humidities
to rise, so there isn`t as much fire weather concern with the strong
winds across the northeast.

A weak secondary upper level perturbation could cause some light
snow showers to linger in the northern mountains Monday and Monday
night.  A dry and low amplitude ridge of high pressure will then
cross from the west Tuesday through mid week with warming
temperatures and lighter winds.

Models are in pretty good agreement on an upper level trough that
will cross the western US from the west during the latter half of
the week with breezy to windy conditions developing Thursday and
especially Friday.  Critical fire weather conditions are likely
again across the east, and potentially across central areas
depending on how quickly humidities come up with the system. It
could bring some wetting precip to the northern and western



High Wind Warning from 11 AM Sunday to 1 AM MDT Monday for the
following zones... NMZ521>524-526-529-532>540.

Red Flag Warning from noon to 8 PM MDT Sunday for the following
zones... NMZ104-108.

Red Flag Warning until 8 PM MDT this evening for the following
zones... NMZ103-104.

High Wind Watch from Sunday morning through late Sunday night for
the following zones... NMZ512>515-518-519-527-528-530-531.

High Wind Warning from 11 AM to noon MDT Sunday for the following
zones... NMZ525.



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