Area Forecast Discussion
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FXUS64 KLUB 160856

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Lubbock TX
356 AM CDT Fri Mar 16 2018


Wind and fire weather are the highlights of the forecast through
the weekend.

Water vapor imagery and observations early Friday morning show a
vigorous, compact cyclone over eastern CO and western KS, moving
northeast. The trailing trough has brought a Pacific-type front
with a strong pressure gradient through West Texas and the
forecast area this morning. Model guidance indicates that a mid-
level speedmax of 65 kts or so at 700 mb will pass West Texas
today centered approximately over the far southern Texas
Panhandle. KLBB VWP and WTM SODAR data from Reese Center show
strong winds already in place just above the surface...poised to
transfer down with the onset of daytime mixing. We expect winds
speeds to increase pretty quickly this morning, and have hoisted a
Wind Advisory for our northern counties starting at 8 am. The
core of the speedmax moves off to the east of the area by mid to
late afternoon but with 25 to 35 kts of 700 mb flow lingering
across the area, it will remain breezy throughout the afternoon.
The winds should be strong enough to gin up at least some light
blowing dust, likely more concentrated across the north. A slight
decrease in heights with the passing trough will be offset by the
downsloping winds, and highs today should be in the 70s on the
Caprock and 80s in the Rolling Plains.

A weak front will push into the area overnight from the
northeast. It will likely pass through most of our counties before
stalling out early Saturday. Moisture pooling along the front may
be deep enough to support some convective development across North
Texas late Saturday, not too far east of our forecast area. The
front will bring Saturday`s high temperatures down into the 70s in
the Rolling Plains.

The forecast weather pattern still appears to support the
development of an old fashioned West Texas wind machine on
Sunday, albeit late in the day. The next upper trough will quickly
swing through the 4-corners and southern Rockies during the day
and then undergo cyclogenesis over the southern high plains late
in the day. The ECMWF remains just slightly slower with the system
than the GFS, but the agreement is pretty good overall. There
will likely be some limited moisture return into the Rolling
Plains, but it should get swept east before the bulk of the lift
arrives with trough. At this time, a 100+ kt 500mb jet core is
progged to pass overhead during the afternoon and evening with the
core of the 700mb winds displaced slightly to the south. This is
expected to result in a rapid increase in wind speeds in the
afternoon after a relatively calm morning. Advisory-range wind
speeds seem nearly assured with some potential for high winds (40+
mph sustained). Needless to say, blowing dust and the fire danger
will also be concerns.

As the upper low moves roughly east across KS and OK Monday,
additional energy wrapping around the low will bring a band of
strong northwesterly winds aloft across the forecast area. Cooler
temperatures will be less supportive of deep mixing, but it
appears that breezy to windy conditions will continue into Monday
before finally relaxing Tuesday into Wednesday behind a weak
front. Highs Monday through Wednesday should be mainly in the 60s
and 70s. Warmer temperatures are expected on Thursday as flow
begins to strengthen again downstream of the next upper trough
moving across the southwest.


...A Critical Fire Danger for today and likely Sunday...

Critical fire conditions are expected to be widespread today and
a Red Flag Warning is in effect for the entire forecast area. ERCs
are above 95 percent on the Caprock and approaching 90 percent in
the Rolling Plains, and the forecast fire danger is in the
extreme category. The belt of strongest winds and worst fire
spread conditions will be across the far southwest Texas Panhandle
and northern portions of the South Plains. The winds will start
to decrease by mid to late afternoon, but will still remain strong
enough to support a critical danger into the early evening hours.

A weak cold front back-dooring through the area overnight into
Saturday will bring slightly cooler temperatures, a modest increase
in moisture, and most importantly a decrease in wind speeds. This
will result in a reduction in the fire danger area-wide. However,
western portions of the Caprock will remain very dry, and the
renewal of southwest breezes in the afternoon may lead to an
elevated fire danger across our western counties.

Sunday, the potential for critical conditions is very high as
another energetic upper-low passing to the north brings very strong
westerly winds across the region. This system is currently forecast
to move out in the plains late in the day, which may lead to a
delay in the onset of critical conditions and a period of higher
moisture levels in the Rolling Plains, but indications are that
the degree of drying and magnitude of the winds by mid to late
afternoon will overwhelm any earlier moisture recovery, except
possibly in the eastern-most Rolling Plains. We have hoisted a
Fire Weather Watch for all our counties into the western Rolling


Red Flag Warning from 11 AM this morning to 9 PM CDT this
evening for TXZ021>044.

Fire Weather Watch from Sunday afternoon through Sunday evening
for TXZ021>025-027>031-033>037-039>043.

Wind Advisory from 8 AM this morning to 2 PM CDT this afternoon
for TXZ021>025-027>031.



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