Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 211739

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1139 AM MDT Wed Mar 21 2018

Large ridge of high pressure aloft across the interior western U.S.
will produce generally light winds and VFR conditions across NM today
through midday Thursday. Mid and high level clouds will move across
northern and central NM through the period. Winds will be southwest
to west today with sustained speeds across most of the area less than
12 knots. A few higher gusts between 20 and 25 knots are expected
this afternoon with peak mixing across the western central highlands,
including KGUP, and across the northeast highlands, including KLVS.



.PREV DISCUSSION...312 AM MDT Wed Mar 21 2018...
The warming trend will continue today and Thursday, with record
highs possible Thursday afternoon across the east. A shortwave trough
will cross northwest New Mexico Friday increasing the potential for
showers and perhaps a few thunderstorms across northwest and north
central areas, while winds will pick up area wide. Critical fire
weather conditions are looking increasingly likely for the plains
Friday afternoon as temperatures soar again near record levels. Dry
and breezy conditions are expected Saturday, and on Sunday, winds
should pick up more. Thereafter, all eyes will be on an upper level
low pressure system next week that could bring much needed
precipitation to the state.


An upper level ridge will continue to build over NM through the day,
with the ridge axis cresting over NM early Thursday morning.
Temperatures will continue to warm as heights rise. Most areas will
be 3 to 10 degrees above normal today, and 10 to 20 degrees above
normal on Thursday. A few record high temps will be in jeopardy
Thursday afternoon, especially across the plains.

Models continue to show a weak shortwave trough moving across
northwest NM on Friday. Showers and perhaps a few thunderstorms will
be possible across northwest and north central areas. Snow levels
will remain very high, so snow is likely only for the highest peaks.
700 mb winds will increase between 30 and 40kt while the surface low
over eastern CO/western KS deepens to 995 mb. Breezy to windy
conditions are expected area wide, with the strongest winds
anticipated across the plains. Another round of wind advisories may
be needed. Downsloping will allow temperatures to soar, potentially
near record highs once again. Precipitation and winds will diminish
quickly during the evening.

Dry southwest flow will be on tap for Saturday. Breezy conditions
will persist as a surface low re-develops over eastern CO. As a large
upper level trough develops over the western U.S. on Sunday, the
gradient will tighten over NM, and another round of widespread breezy
to windy conditions will be in store.

Thereafter, all eyes will be on the progression of the upper level
trough. Models in general agreement that as additional energy dives
southward on the back side of the trough, a closed low will form over
the southwest U.S. by Tuesday morning. Meanwhile a strong back door
cold front will slide down the plains and through the gaps of the
central mountain chain. With lot of forcing in place, it looks like
it will all depend on how much moisture is available. Models are
generally suggesting that Tuesday through Thursday could be a wet
period, but we are remaining cautious as this time. Cross your



Upper ridge moving over New Mexico today through Thursday. Warmer
today and Thursday, overall Thursday may turn out to be the warmest
day with highs about 10 to 20 degrees above average and potential
for a few near to record high temperatures. Humidities across the
east and much of central New Mexico fall to below 15 percent this
afternoon but winds will be relatively light for mid to late March.
Fair to poor humidity recoveries tonight across the eastern plains
and portions of the Middle Rio Grande Valley. Expect an uptick in
southwest winds Thursday afternoon, but again not strong enough for
more than very localized critical conditions in the eastern plains.
Good to excellent vent rates forecast for this afternoon with
widespread excellent rates Thursday.

Fair to poor overnight humidities plague the east Thursday night
while potential increases for scattered to numerous showers from the
west central to north central late Thursday night and Friday. Highs
cool west and central Friday but remain about 10 to 20 degrees
warmer than average in the east. Stronger westerly winds Friday will
lead to widespread critical fire weather conditions across the
eastern plains in the afternoon but forecast Haines so far is low to
moderate. Despite that, decided to go ahead with a fire weather
watch for zones 104 and 108 Friday afternoon/early evening.
Excellent vent rates Friday area wide.

Any precipitation tapers off Friday night. Temperatures Saturday
remain warmer than average, especially for the east. Humidities
trend downward Saturday night, and low enough for poor overnight
recoveries in the east and Middle Rio Grande Valley. Lower RH Sunday
overall and combined with strong west winds and moderate to high
Haines, widespread critical fire weather conditions return to the
east, with spotty critical conditions west.

Forecast models in agreement, at least for now, for a storm system
impacting New Mexico early next week, with widespread wetting


Fire Weather Watch from Friday afternoon through Friday evening for
the following zones... NMZ104-108.


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