Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Pueblo, CO

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FXUS65 KPUB 231815

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Pueblo CO
1215 PM MDT Fri Mar 23 2018

Issued at 1208 PM MDT Fri Mar 23 2018

Extended the expiration of the high wind warning until 6 pm mdt as
HRRR suggests winds will remain strong into late afternoon,
especially around Walsenburg. Have seen a couple 50 kt gusts
around El Paso county the past hr or two, but with most mesoscale
model guidance suggesting a slow decrease in wind speeds through
the afternoon, will refrain from a high wind highlight here. Over
the mountains, appears main band of precip shifting north and east
away from the Continental Divide, so may end winter wx advisory a
little earlier than scheduled, though will wait until snow ends
around mid-afternoon to make the change.


.SHORT TERM...(Today and tonight)
Issued at 414 AM MDT Fri Mar 23 2018

Main concerns for today include high fire danger and strong winds,
along with snow amounts along the Cont Dvd.  An upper level
disturbance will be moving acrs CO today.  This system will continue
bringing snow to the Cont Dvd, with the best chances and heaviest
snow expected this morning and into the early afternoon.  The snow
is then expected to increase later in the afternoon as the
disturbance moves east. Some precip is also expected over portions
of the Sangres, especially the northern Sangres and Pike Peak, with
maybe just some light snow accumulations.   Very windy conditions
are expected acrs southern CO today.  The HRRR is showing gusts of
50+ kts from around 15Z thru about 19-20Z from southwest Pueblo
county, south to the state line.  Will issue a High Wind Warning
would be a good idea for these areas given the danger to high-
profile, lightweight vehicles.  The other concern is the high fire
danger with the strong winds acrs the southeast plains, and
humidities expected to fall below 15 percent.  The current Red Flag
Warning still looks good for timing and areal coverage.  Temps today
will be well above average in most areas, with mid 70s to lower or
mid 80s acrs most of the southeast plains, 60s in the San Luis
Valley and mostly 50s in the Upper Arkansas River Valley.

Tonight, with the upper disturbance moving out of the area, chances
for precip will end, and the winds will decrease.

.LONG TERM...(Saturday through Thursday)
Issued at 414 AM MDT Fri Mar 23 2018

Saturday and Sunday...A large upper trough sitting off the West
Coast Sat morning will move onshore and into the Great Basin through
Sun. This will keep strong southwest flow aloft as well as elevated
temperatures in place across the region over the weekend. Dry
conditions will persist for the forecast area, with isolated snow
showers returning to the Continental Divide by Sun evening. Critical
fire weather conditions remain a primary concern, but will leave the
Fire Weather Watch in place for Sat as is for the time being.
Slightly cooler and more moist air is forecast to move in from the
east Sat morning, so the only area that would reach critical fire
criteria with respect to RH levels would be along the I-25 corridor,
which is currently the watch area. Southerly sfc winds are expected
to strengthen and get gusty at times through Sat aftn, but they are
still somewhat of a question so feel another model run or two is
needed before any sort of upgrade. As for Sun, temps warm back up
and there looks to be a more uniform southwest wind component across
all of the plains so another critical fire weather day may be in the
offing. Expect highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s for the high
valleys both days, while the plains will see mid 60s to lower 70s on
Sat, and upper 60s to upper 70s on Sun.

Monday through Thursday...EC and GFS models are in good agreement on
a split flow solution developing for the next work week. The upper
trough over the Great Basin on Mon will split into an upper
shortwave over the northern Rockies, and a closed low dropping south
into AZ Mon night. The low tracks across southern AZ and NM Tue into
Wed, reaches the TX Panhandle Wed night, then rejoins the northern
wave over the central US on Thu. Mon is expected to be the last warm
day as west-southwest downslope winds will still be in place for
much of the day, as snow increases over the higher terrain. Pcpn
chances start to increase across all of the forecast area starting
Mon night and lasts through Wed, as well as increased cloud cover
and much cooler temps for Tue and Wed. By Thu northwest flow aloft
settles in, with pcpn tapering off across the southern portions of
the forecast area through the morning. The best pcpn chances fore
the area will be Mon night through Tue morning, then again Wed aftn
and evening right before the closed low rejoins the northern wave.
Pcpn amounts will become more clear as the event nears. Look for
maximum temps in the 50s for the high valleys and upper 50s to lower
70s for the plains on Mon, mid 40s to mid 50s for most areas Tue and
Wed, then 50s to near 60F for most areas on Thu. Moore


.AVIATION...(For the 18Z TAFS through 18Z Saturday afternoon)
Issued at 1136 AM MDT Fri Mar 23 2018

VFR conditions expected the next 24 hrs at all terminals, although
some patchy blowing dust and brief MVFR vis may occur at KPUB and
KALS. Strong west winds, with gusts ranging from 35 to 45 kts,
will continue at all terminal forecast sites until early evening.
Winds will decrease this evening. Over the mountains, -shsn and
even some isolated -tssn will continue into the afternoon, then
improving conditions this evening and overnight as precip ends and
cigs lift.


Red Flag Warning until 7 PM MDT this evening for COZ226>237.

Fire Weather Watch from Saturday afternoon through Saturday
evening for COZ227>233.

High Wind Warning until 7 PM MDT this evening for COZ086>088.

Winter Weather Advisory until 9 PM MDT this evening for COZ060-



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