Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 282321 AAA

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
421 PM MST Fri Feb 28 2020

An upper level ridge breaking down over NM tonight will continue to
spread high level cloud cover over the area through Saturday morning.
Stronger zonal flow approaching Saturday will allow surface winds to
increase aft 17Z while skies clear slowly from west to east. Gusts up
to 30 kt are possible in a few wind prone locations like KGUP, KLVS,
and KTCC aft 20Z.



.PREV DISCUSSION...201 PM MST Fri Feb 28 2020...
A beautiful weekend is ahead for the area with temperatures
continuing to warm. However, winds will increase Saturday and
continue to increase on Sunday as a storm system starts to approach
from the west. That storm system will generate rain and mountain snow
showers for central and western New Mexico on Monday. As the storm
system tracks over southern New Mexico Tuesday, precipitation chances
will shift focus to areas south of Interstate 40. Temperatures will
also trend down next week with this system. Some lingering light
showers may impact southeastern New Mexico on Wednesday, but dry
conditions and warming temperatures will be in the forecast for the
remainder of next week.


Considerable high cloudiness has put a damper on the warm-up today
across the west and central areas. The high clouds will thin some
later tonight and pretty much be gone Saturday, but mid level
moisture will be on the increase, resulting in mid cloud formation.
Winds will be on the increase and that will help boost temperatures
upward Saturday, with highs above normal. Saturday should also be
the warmest day of the next seven. Tonight and Saturday night will
be partly cloudy and mild for late February.


Primary forecast concern on Sunday remains increasing winds,
especially across the east. An H5 low over central CA will
strengthen flow aloft as a strong 150+ knot 300mb jet is steered over
the state. 700mb winds across southern NM will strengthen to around
50-60 knots, and a lee-side low will deepen to ~997mb over northeast
NM. Winds on Sunday still look to be sub-advisory with the strongest
wind gusts near 40 knots across southern NM where the flow aloft will
be strongest. A few light showers will remain possible across the
northern Tusas Mountains as moisture ahead of the aforementioned low
is advected into the area. Snow levels will remain above 7500-8000
feet Sunday.

By mid-day Monday, the center of the low will track southeastward
over the AZ and Mexico border. Moisture streaming into western NM
will help introduce chances for precipitation mainly for areas west
of the central mountain chain through Monday afternoon. However,
Monday night and Tuesday, the center of the low will continue to
track to our south near the New Mexico/Old Mexico border which will
shift the focus for precipitation to areas south of I-40 before the
system exits over TX by Wednesday. Snow levels should remain above
6500 feet during the day on Monday and then lowering slightly to
around 5500 to 6000 feet on Tuesday as colder air filters in from
the west. A few inches of snow seem likely for the northern and
western mountains with this system.

Some uncertainty still remains with this system regarding its track
and how much moisture associated with this system will be over the
area. The 12Z operational run of the GFS has more moisture and,
therefore, is more enthusiastic with QPF. The 12Z operational runs of
the ECMWF and Canadian are fairly similar to each other and keep
conditions relatively dry for northern NM on Tuesday, but they also
move the system through more slowly. More uncertainty also exists
with a backdoor cold front that will move through the eastern plains
on Tuesday. The GFS shows more moisture associated with this front
that aids in developing precipitation across the east. The backdoor
cold front on the other operational models remains drier. All in all,
the GFS seems to be an outlier, and with collaboration of
neighboring offices, did slightly lower NBM PoPs in the extended
which seemed too high with the system tracking to the south.

A few light showers may linger across the southeast on Wednesday
depending on how fast the system exits. A weak ridge will then build
over the area through the remainder of the week with temperatures
warming back up.



Some of the critical fire weather conditions will be reached for a
few hours Saturday afternoon centered along I-40 from Clines Corners
to the Texas border.

The upper level ridge moving over NM will shift east and weaken
Saturday with zonal flow taking control. This will mean an increase
in winds and decrease in humidities. Temperatures will be well above
normal as well, but the 4th element, high Haines, will be relegated
to the northeast, where winds and humidities will not quite reach
critical conditions. There will be a small area of overlap in
southern zone 104 where all 4 ingredients will exist (strong wind,
low humidity, above normal temperatures and high Haines). This is
too small an area for hoisting a Fire Weather Watch, but it does
bear monitoring.

Our storm for Sunday through Tuesday is having a difficult time
getting us excited about a good precipitation event. Most models are
tracking the low south of NM, taking most of the precipitation with
it. The GFS is still holding on to a track across southern NM with
precipitation reaching most areas. We will continue with isolated to
scattered POPs, and some numerous POPs in the western and northern

Dry and milder weather returns Wednesday through Friday.





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