Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Amarillo, TX

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FXUS64 KAMA 222250

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Amarillo TX
550 PM CDT Thu Mar 22 2018


00Z TAFs will be VFR, with light and variable winds, mainly a
southerly component, early on for all three sites. By 12Z all
three sites should have more of a southwest wind 10-15kts. By 15Z
WSW winds 20 gusting 30 knots, then W winds 30 gusting 40 a
couple of hours after. DHT will see higher winds at 35 gusting 45
kts by 20Z. Some high level clouds until Friday afternoon, then
mostly clear towards the end of the TAF period.



.PREV DISCUSSION... /Issued 423 PM CDT Thu Mar 22 2018/


Fire weather remains the immediate threat for the forecast area.
Extremely critical fire weather conditions are expected tomorrow.
Followed by elevated fire weather Saturday, and then critical fire
weather on Sunday. Next week we get a shift towards precipitation
chances which would be a very welcoming change to the Panhandles.
Also, it appears we will break some temperature records tomorrow for
March 23rd (See Climate section below).

A surface low will emerge in eastern Colorado and make its way into
western Kansas by Friday afternoon. The pressure gradient across the
Panhandles will not be that strong due to the surface trough
position and isobar spread, however, steep lapse rates will
result in deep mixing and hence strong wind speeds. These strong
westerly wind speeds (approaching possible high wind warning
criteria) of 30 to 40 mph with gusts around 50-60 mph combined
with low relative humidity values will result in extremely
critical fire weather conditions Friday. Forecast soundings
suggest mixing will result in strong momentum transfer to the
surface, and 50 to 60 mph gusts are not out of the question for
perhaps a couple hours tomorrow afternoon. Any fire starts could
result in rapid fire growth. We currently have a high wind watch
out to cover these strong wind speeds, this could easily turn into
a high wind warning or perhaps a wind advisory. The big picture
here is that extreme caution should be used with any activities
which could result in sparks/flames that create a potential fire
start. Please see the Fire Weather section below for more details.

Saturday could turn into an elevated to perhaps spotty critical fire
weather day for far western portions of the Texas Panhandle.
However, Sunday and Monday are more likely our next threat for
fire weather due to breezy wind speeds and low relative humidity
values. Stay tuned. Fire weather focus for the time being should
be Friday afternoon.

Some day-to-day consistency as started to emerge with
precipitation chances for next week. There are some discrepancies
with regards to timing and overall chances, but the big picture is
we have chances Monday night through Wednesday night. We could
actually get measurable precipitation that would be "noticeable"
for much of the drought stricken area. However, don`t get your
hopes up too much, as it appears now we will still end up MUCH
below normal for the month of March. To put this into perspective,
Amarillo city area normal for the month of March is 1.39 inches
of moisture. We would be fortunate to end the month with half of
this value. Anything is good at this point since we have had only
a hundredth of an inch since October around the Amarillo city
area, and the same can be said for much of the forecast area which
is in extreme drought. Also noteworthy is the fact we could see a
mixture of precipitation. Snow, rain/snow, and some thunderstorms
across the Panhandles may result next week over the first three
days. Its too early too say with much confidence, but severe
weather appears unlikely at this time, and its too early to say
weather snowfall amounts will amount to anything.



Extremely critical fire weather conditions are expected tomorrow
for much of the forecast area due to a combination of strong wind
speeds, low relative humidity values, and high energy release
component (ERC) values. Twenty foot wind speeds will be westerly
at 30 to 40 mph with gusts around 50 mph (perhaps as high as 60
mph). A sharp gradient in RH values could result tomorrow due to
the dryline not progressing all the way east of the forecast area,
so some areas across the Texas Panhandle could be as high as 20
percent in the afternoon. Nevertheless, dry conditions are
expected tomorrow. ERC values should easily be in the 85th to low
90th percentile. Given these strong parameters, tomorrow will
result in extremely critical fire weather conditions, especially
across western portions of the Panhandles.



Records in jeopardy tomorrow:

Amarillo  83    (set in 1910/2002)           |    Forecast is 89
Borger    84    (set in 2017)                |    Forecast is 90
Dalhart   88    (set in 2017)                |    Forecast is 84
Guymon    88    (unofficially set in 2017)   |    Forecast is 88


.AMA Watches/Warnings/Advisories...
TX...Fire Weather Watch from Friday afternoon through Friday evening
     for the following zones: Collingsworth...Donley...Gray...

     Red Flag Warning from noon to 9 PM CDT Friday for the following
     zones: Armstrong...Carson...Dallam...Deaf Smith...

     High Wind Watch from Friday morning through Friday evening for
     the following zones: Dallam...Deaf Smith...Hartley...

OK...Fire Weather Watch from Friday afternoon through Friday evening
     for the following zones: Beaver.

     Red Flag Warning from noon to 9 PM CDT Friday for the following
     zones: Cimarron...Texas.



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