Area Forecast Discussion
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FXUS64 KLUB 180856

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Lubbock TX
356 AM CDT Sun Mar 18 2018

...Strong winds and an extremely critical fire danger will
develop across the area this afternoon and evening...

Water vapor imagery this morning shows a shortwave trough moving
across the Great Basin toward the 4-corners region. Closer to
home, another wave in advance of that system was lifting northeast
from northwest MX and southwest TX toward the forecast area. Lift
and top-down moistening associated with this wave was producing
some light shower activity in the Permian Basin at 3 am. Most of
the short-range guidance carries a cluster of scattered rain
showers northeast through the morning hours following the track
of the wave. Actual rainfall in our forecast area should be light,
but we could see much of the are up on the Caprock receive a few
hundredths. As the wave encounters a bit more moisture in the
Rolling Plains, some thunder and a bit more rainfall will be
possible. The wave and precip chances are expected to exit our
eastern counties by early afternoon.

Attention will then turn to the west where the other trough will
be swinging across northern New Mexico. As it does, a belt of
strong mid-level winds will spread out of New Mexico into West
Texas this afternoon and on into the Rolling Plains this evening.
Winds at the surface are likely to ramp up very quickly from west
to east in the afternoon and be strongest for several hours from
late afternoon through early evening, then diminish somewhat after
dusk...but it will remain windy through the night. The bulk of
the wind speed guidance suggests that we will be bumping up
against high wind criteria across the western portions of the
forecast area during the time of peak winds, so we have gone ahead
and upgraded the wind advisory to the High Wind Warning for that
area. Sustained speeds out west should reach 40 mph with some
gusts to near 60 or so. It is expected that as winds generally
decrease later in the evening, the high wind warning will be
changed back to an advisory at some point. Blowing dust will of
course be generated by the strong winds - perhaps even enhanced
somewhat by the light rainfall this morning as it may act to break
up the top soil a bit, and then quickly dry out.

The upper trough, now tightly wound up as a vertically stacked
compact low, will move roughly east across the Panhandles and
along the KS/OK state-line tonight into early Monday. This will
maintain a tight pressure gradient across the region through the
day Monday as winds gradually turn to the northwest. A wind
advisory will likely be needed for much of the area Monday before
they finally start to calm down late in the day. The winds
shifting to NW then north will also bring cooler air in from the
north and highs Monday should range from the upper 50s in the
northwest to near 70 in the southeast.

Aside from fire weather concerns, the remainder of the work week
should be pretty quiet. Relatively cool temperatures Tuesday will
rebound quickly Wednesday into Thursday back into the 80s, in fact
there could be some low 90s Thursday underneath a transitory
upper ridge. Another shortwave trough will approach from the west
Friday. The could enhance the winds as it passes, but the wave
will be weaker than today`s. Conditions look dry heading into
next weekend.


Critical to extremely critical fire weather conditions are
expected to develop across the outlook area this afternoon.
There are still some potential negatives that hopefully will
mitigate these conditions resulting in a wildfire outbreak. The
first is the passage of a weak system that will bring some spotty
light rainfall this morning, the second is the arrival of the
strongest winds relatively late in the day, and the third is that
the low-level thermal axis is not particularly pronounced across
the area with temperatures expected to be near average. However
the magnitude of the winds and the state of the fuels, with ERCs
running above 90 percent on the Caprock and not much lower in the
Rolling Plains, suggest that extreme fire behavior is expected
with any fires that develop. The fire danger is expected to last
overnight as windy and dry conditions persist. The wind will begin
to shift from west to northwest early Monday.

Strong northwest winds are likely to start the day Monday and will
support continuing elevated to critical fire weather conditions,
despite cooler temperatures. The Red Flag Warning currently
expires at 7 am, but will likely be extended for at least portions
of the area.

There will be a brief lull in the fire danger Monday evening
through early Wednesday, but we expect a quick return to warm, dry
and breezy conditions Wednesday afternoon heading into the weekend
that will support fire weather concerns.


Red Flag Warning from noon today to 7 AM CDT Monday for

Wind Advisory from 2 PM this afternoon to 7 AM CDT Monday for

High Wind Warning from 2 PM this afternoon to 7 AM CDT Monday
for TXZ021-022-027-028-033-034-039-040.



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