Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 172245 AAA
AFDABQ

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
445 PM MDT Tue Apr 17 2018

.UPDATE...
Added some patchy smoke across portions of the forecast area for
tonight, based on current satellite imagery. Areal coverage may need
to be adjusted later tonight as winds diminish/change direction and
also depending on fire behavior. Updated grids published/sent as well
as an updated ZFP.

&&

.PREV DISCUSSION...325 PM MDT Tue Apr 17 2018...
.SYNOPSIS...
Very strong and possibly damaging winds accompanied by areas of
blowing dust and widespread extremely critical fire weather
conditions, will continue over portions of central and eastern New
Mexico, but are expected to taper off by mid to late evening.
Tonight and Wednesday will be cooler for many locales, and Wednesday
will see much less wind. An upper low pressure system will start to
impact the state Thursday with a few thunderstorms along the central
mountain chain eastward along with increasing winds. Chances for
showers, thunderstorms and mountain snow showers will become more
widespread Thursday night through Saturday as the upper low passes
over Colorado and New Mexico. While several inches of snow will be
possible in the northern mountains above 8,000 feet, there will be
potential for a few strong to severe thunderstorms from the central
mountain chain over the plains Thursday evening and again Friday. It
will be cooler Friday through Saturday with below average highs.
Early next week will be drier with a warming trend.

&&

.DISCUSSION...
Will allow the wind advisory/high wind warning for portions of
western NM to expire as scheduled at 4 pm, as winds, while still
gusty, are expected to trend less so as the late afternoon/evening
progresses as the forecast surface gradient over that part of the
state relaxes. Winds and blowing dust will persist elsewhere into
the early evening before decreasing. The surface gradient along the
central mt chain remains tightly packed until around midnight before
decreasing, so winds may stay stronger at locations such as Clines
Corners, Angel Fire and Las Vegas until then. Otherwise, much cooler
tonight over the west and central, with lows up to 15 degrees below
climatology from the Sangre de Cristo mts to the West Central mts.

Wednesday will be the calm after the storm and before the next
storm. Highs will be a little cooler than, or near normal, with some
warming in the west but cooler central and east.

Another storm system will begin to impact New Mexico Thursday.
Current models track the upper low much farther south and over
northern and central New Mexico, which will help corral the
potential for any widespread ferocious winds, unlike today. Models
are persistent transporting some moisture along the central mt chain
Thursday with some potential for afternoon and evening
thunderstorms, a few of which may become strong to severe in Lincoln
and Chaves counties, per the SPC outlook. Chances for showers,
northern and western high terrain snow showers and thunderstorms
become more widespread as the upper low moves over the state and to
the east, and there could be some strong to severe storms in the
eastern plains on Friday, as well. Snow accumulations are possible
over the higher terrain of the north, but not expecting much of an
impact at this time. Temperatures Friday and Saturday will be cooler
than average.

By Sunday the storm system will have exited with generally drier and
warmer weather on tap. Unsettled weather may return for next
Tuesday/Wednesday, as a vigorous back door cold front precedes an
approaching upper low.

&&

.FIRE WEATHER...
...WIDESPREAD EXTREMELY CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS THIS
AFTERNOON THROUGH MID EVENING...

West to west southwest winds early this afternoon have been
sustained at 25 to 45 mph with gusts 50 to 65 mph, and relative
humidity has fallen into the single digits across most of northern
and central NM. In addition to these factors, early afternoon
temperatures have already climbed into the 70s to lower 80s in the
Middle Rio Grande Valley and are mainly in the lower 70s to middle
80s east of the central mountains to the TX border. The combination
of very high winds, very low relative humidity and warm temperatures
has created extremely critical fire weather conditions across much
of central and eastern NM. Temperatures have fallen into the 50s in
far western NM behind a Pacific cold front, while temperatures in
the northwest and west central highlands are still in the 60s. In
western NM, very strong winds and low humidity are creating critical
to extremely critical fire weather conditions. Winds will strengthen
this afternoon, before diminishing gradually this evening. Red Flag
Warnings will continue across the entire area through 9 PM this
evening with the worst conditions this afternoon and evening in the
eastern plains and adjacent highlands.

The air mass behind the cold front will still be lacking in low
level moisture, and while relative humidity will increase slightly,
relative humidity recoveries tonight will be only fair in far
western and far northern and poor across the rest of the region.
High pressure aloft will crest over northern and central NM
Wednesday, and winds will be light from the south and southwest,
peaking between 12 to 18 mph in the afternoon. Relative humidity
Wednesday will be extremely dry in western and central NM with
minimum relative humidity in the 5 to 8 percent range, while values
in the eastern plains will only be slightly higher in the upper
single digits to lower teens. Ventilation rates Wednesday will be
good to excellent in the Sandia, Manzano and Gallinas Mountains and
in the Northwest and West Central Highlands, and fair to poor across
the rest of the region.

A strong upper low will move into the southern Great Basin Thursday,
while a developing surface low pressure area will form in south
central and southeastern UT. This pattern will cause south to
southeast winds between 20 and 30 mph across NM from late morning
through early evening. Low level moisture from the Gulf of MX will
stream northward across areas east of the central mountains
Thursday, keeping minimum relative humidity in in the upper teens to
upper 20s. Drier air will remain entrenched to the west, where
minimum relative humidity will be in the single digits to lower
teens. Critical fire weather conditions are likely west of the
central mountains Thursday afternoon. Ventilation rates across the
area Thursday afternoon will be very good to excellent. Showers and
thunderstorms will develop along and east of the central mountains
Thursday afternoon and Thursday night and continue into Friday.
Wetting rain will be possible late Thursday night into Friday across
these areas. However, lightning associated with this activity, will
present a fire weather threat across the area given the very dry
fuels and antecedent dry conditions.

A Pacific cold front and a backdoor cold front will traverse
northern and central NM early Saturday, bringing much cooler
temperatures to the region Saturday and continued cool temperatures
Sunday. Relative humidity will remain above critical thresholds both
days with light winds Saturday and very light winds Sunday. These
conditions should significantly lower the fire weather risk over the
weekend.

&&

.AVIATION...
18Z TAF CYCLE
Areas of blowing dust already showing up on GOES-16 satellite
imagery late this morning along and ahead of the cold front in
northwest NM. As stronger winds aloft reach the surface this
afternoon, blowing dust is expected across much of northern and
central NM with visibility reductions generally in MVFR category
between 3 and 5 statute miles. Visibility may fall below 3 statute
miles at times in the eastern plains this afternoon through early
evening. West to west southwest winds will gust between 35 knots and
50 knots through late this afternoon west of the divide and through
early this evening east of the divide. Winds will gradually diminish
during the evening and become light after midnight, as high pressure
moves in from the west. Outside of visibility restrictions due to
blowing dust, VFR conditions will prevail through midday Wednesday.

28

&&

.ABQ WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
High Wind Warning until 9 PM MDT this evening for the following
zones... NMZ506>508-510>516-518-519-521>524-526>540.

Red Flag Warning until 9 PM MDT this evening for the following
zones... NMZ101>109.

Wind Advisory until 9 PM MDT this evening for the following zones...
 NMZ517-520-525.

&&

$$



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