Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 171815 AAB

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1215 PM MDT Sat Mar 17 2018

Winds will be gusty this afternoon. They will stay gusty in the
mountains tonight, while lower elevations decouple from the stronger
flow aloft. Winds will become strong Saturday with the highest gusts
potentially reaching 50 kt in the afternoon along and east of the
central and south central mountains. 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. Further, blowing dust may produce MVFR
and IFR visibilities and or ceilings Sunday afternoon at lower
elevations along and east of the Rio Grande and from the I-40
corridor southward.



.PREV DISCUSSION...320 AM MDT Sat Mar 17 2018...
Temperatures will be warmer today as breezy conditions prevail and
skies become mostly sunny. Critical fire weather conditions are
expected in the northeast this afternoon. A storm system swinging
over northern and central New Mexico Sunday and Sunday night will
bring rain, snow and a few thunderstorms to the northwest and north
central, while very strong winds rake locales along and south of
Interstate 40, and critical fire weather conditions redevelop over
the Northeast and East Central Plains. Colder temperatures will
invade the region from west to east and accumulating snow will be
possible over the San Juan, Chuska, Sangre de Cristo and Jemez
mountain peaks. Strong west to northwest winds will persist Sunday
night and into Monday over portions of the central and northeast
while chances for precipitation taper off. Early next week will be
cooler than normal, but temperatures will rebound and dry weather
will prevail during the middle of next week. Unsettled weather could
return next Thursday and possibly next weekend.


Warmer today with breezy conditions developing. Cloud cover over the
southeast half of the region should gradually exit from west to east
during the morning, leaving skies mostly sunny for the afternoon.
HRRR and RAP13 were hinting at a few sprinkles under the thicker
cloud cover this morning south central and southeast so didn`t zero
out pops there but with rather low dew points, would be surprised if
0.01 of an inch reached the ground.

A cold storm system will make it`s way into the Great Basin and
towards New Mexico tonight, then swing across northern and central
New Mexico Sunday and Sunday night. This will be a late winter/early
spring type system with a plethora of weather to deal with, ranging
from accumulating snow in the northwest and north central, along
with a few thunderstorms, to very strong and possibly damaging winds
generally along and south of Interstate 40, as the upper jet passes
over central New Mexico from west to east, and critical fire weather
conditions in the eastern plains, as temperatures will remain near
to above average and humidities low on Sunday afternoon. About the
only thing missing is the potential for severe storms along our
eastern border with Texas, thank goodness. This appears to be a
quick hitting system, so tapered down some of the precipitation
amounts to get some reasonable snow accumulations over the
northwest/north central mountains. Amounts are worthy of a winter
weather advisory for the Chuska, San Juan and possibly the Sangre de
Cristo and Jemez mountain peaks but will hold off issuing for now,
as forecast QPF may differ with the 12Z models. Also decided the
potential for very strong and possibly damaging winds was the more
significant feature, so a high wind watch was issued. Blowing dust
may also be a concern Sunday afternoon in portions of the RGV and
eastern plains. Will also be issuing an SPS to sum everything up.

Winds don`t appear to diminish much Sunday night in the northeast as
northwest flow strengthens behind the departing system. In fact,
isolated high winds could occur there Sunday night, while
precipitation chances taper off. It will be colder Sunday night and
Monday, but still breezy to windy for portions of the central and

Winds taper off and temperatures start to warm Tuesday and more so
Wednesday. Another quick moving system could affect the region
Thursday and maybe next weekend.




A deep upper low will move southeastward today from northern CA into
the western Great Basin. The upper level circulation around this
large storm will produce a southwest flow aloft across northern and
central NM. Southwest winds at 700 millibars Saturday afternoon will
range from 20 to 30 knots over NM. A lee surface trough over
southeastern CO Saturday afternoon and evening will allow stronger
winds aloft to reach the surface across northeast NM and the higher
terrain of southwest and west central NM. Relative humidity in the
lower to mid teens in northeast NM will combine with 20 to 25 mph
winds to produce critical fire weather conditions. A Red Flag
Warning is in effect for FWZ103 and FWZ104 from noon to early
evening today. Ventilation rates today will be excellent across most
of the region.

The upper low will move from the Four Corners across northern NM
Sunday, bringing light snow to western and north central NM. Several
inches of snow are likely in the higher elevations of the Jemez
Mountains, Chuska Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains with
up to 6 inches in the higher elevations of the Tusas Mountains. A
strong Pacific cold front will move into western NM Sunday morning
and sweep rapidly eastward to the eastern plains of NM by mid
afternoon Sunday. Strong surface low pressure will also develop
Sunday in southeastern CO. Winds at 700 millibars Sunday will
increase to 40 to 55 knots from the west. West winds will range from
30 to 45 mph west of the central mountains Sunday afternoon and
early evening. Winds east of the central mountains will be stronger
due to the strong pressure gradient closer to the location of the
deep surface low in southeastern CO. West winds east of the central
mountains are expected to be 30 to 45 mph with winds gusts up to 65
mph, especially in the eastern foothills of the central mountains.
Relative humidity will increase from west to east across NM, as the
upper low pushes moisture across the state. The drying effect of
downsloping west winds and weaker low level moisture transport in
the eastern plains will keep relative humidity near to slightly
below 15 percent Sunday afternoon and evening. A Fire Weather Watch
has been issued for the eastern plains from noon Sunday through
early evening. Ventilation Sunday will be excellent.

A backdoor cold front will move southward across the eastern plains
Monday with breezy north to northeast winds expected in northeast
NM. Higher relative humidity behind the backdoor cold front will
remove the threat of critical fire weather conditions. Monday will
be cooler than normal across the entire area. Relative humidity
values below 15 percent will occur south of the backdoor cold front
across portions of south central and southeastern NM, but winds will
be below critical thresholds.

A ridge of high pressure aloft will move toward NM from the west
Tuesday and crest over NM late Wednesday. Winds will be lighter both
Tuesday and Wednesday with a gradual warming trend. An upper level
trough will move from the central CA coast and across AZ Thursday
and Friday. This system will produce increasing wind across NM
Thursday and Friday with critical fire weather conditions possible
across the eastern plains both days.



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

High Wind Watch from Sunday afternoon through Sunday evening for
the following zones... NMZ521>526-529-532>540.

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


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