Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Albuquerque, NM

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FXUS65 KABQ 211103 AAA

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
503 AM MDT Wed Oct 21 2020

Weak surface boundary located from about KRTN-KLVS-KTCC at 11Z won`t
sag much farther south and west before stalling. Areas of IFR
cigs/vsbys in br/fg and possibly drizzle will exist from about KRTN-
KTCC and nwd, as well as east of the Pecos Valley to the TX border in
east central and se NM until around 15Z. Swly winds increasing aft
18Z over ne NM as sfc low pressure develops over sern CO. Potential
for low clouds and br/fg east of the Pecos Valley and south of I-40
aft 22/03Z.


.PREV DISCUSSION...256 AM MDT Wed Oct 21 2020...
Near record to record high temperatures are expected across many
areas of northern and central New Mexico today. In fact, parts of
the east central and southeast plains will be in the upper 80s to
lower 90s. Winds will increase Thursday and this will create high
fire danger conditions along and east of the central mountains. A
strong but dry backdoor cold front will invade eastern New Mexico
Thursday night, bringing notably cooler air and gusty winds in its
wake. This front could make its way into the Rio Grande Valley on
Friday. Readings warm for Saturday, but winds will increase once
again, creating another round of fire weather conditions over the
northeast plains. A significant pattern change is forecast for the
early and potentially middle portion of next week, where readings
will fall below seasonal averages. Precipitation chances increase
and a winter weather scenario is looking plausible for the higher
terrain as well as northeast and east central New Mexico.


Low clouds have developed along and north of a line from Sugarite to
Amistad in northeast NM early this morning. Low clouds and fog have
not yet developed over far east central and southeast NM, although
the dew point at KHOB is a whopping 59 degrees, so there is still
potential early this morning. Otherwise, today will be another warm
day, aided by afternoon southwest breezes. Near record highs are
possible for many areas as afternoon temperatures vary from about 10
to 15 degrees above normal. Low level moisture will return tonight to
portions of the eastern plains east of the Pecos Valley, where some
late night low clouds and fog are again possible. Winds will
strengthen late tonight over the higher terrain, and gusty southwest
to west winds to around 40 mph will become more widespread over the
central mountain chain eastward Thursday afternoon. This will lead to
another round of near record high temperatures from portions of the
RGV over much of the eastern plains.

Following the fire weather hazards on Thursday afternoon, a strong
backdoor cold front along the Colorado front range will invade the
eastern plains of NM Thurs night. There is a relatively high degree
of consistency with respect to the timing of this front. With that
said, local research has shown that models have a propensity to be
too slow with the progression of backdoor fronts, and as a result,
nudged forecast winds closer to the slightly faster NAM12 guidance.
A strong surface pressure gradient behind the front will support a
6-9hr period of gusty conditions. In fact, the MAV/MET MOS suggest
near Wind Advisory criteria may occur from KCAO-KCVS, and localized
areas of blowing dust cannot be ruled out. Meanwhile, increased sky
cover considerably Thurs night into Fri morning across the eastern
plains as moistening occurs around 800mb.

The front will progress its way westward into the Rio Grande Valley
by Friday morning, but models suggest the boundary will struggle to
make its way toward the Cont Divide. A light or possibly modest gap
wind may develop, but headlines are unlikely. Temperatures on Friday
will be below normal along/east of the central mtn chain compliments
of cold air advection and cloud cover, with readings at/above normal
in western NM.

Upper level flow tightens on Saturday as a trough starts to carve a
path across the northern Rockies/Plains. 700mb winds are progged to
increase into the 35-50kt range across the forecast area, strongest
along/east of the Sangres and Sandia/Manzano Mountains. This should
also promote leeside cyclogenesis with a 994mb low developing across
southeast CO. As a result, have increased wind speeds and lowered RH
values to near or exceeding critical thresholds, especially from Las
Vegas to western Union County.

A significant pattern change is still on tap for early next week as
an upper low in the eastern Pacific is tugged eastward while energy
over southwest Canada dives southward toward the Desert Southwest. A
potent backdoor front will also invade the eastern plains of NM. Per
reasoning mentioned earlier, nudged forecast toward the faster fropa
solutions. There is very high variability in the high temp forecasts
across the eastern plains for Sun/Mon in the ensemble guidance, but
pattern recognition favors the lower end of the guidance envelop. A
challenge with recent storm systems has been the lack of appreciable
moisture. Fortunately, this system will be able to take advantage of
sub-tropical moisture advection in advance of the aforementioned low
in the eastern Pacific. As a result, precip is forecast to increase
across the northern high terrain on Sunday, then expand in coverage/
intensity on Monday. With a notably colder air mass in place, winter
weather could be a concern across the higher terrain and the eastern
plains. While there is surprisingly good model consensus, the finer
details will play a significant role on precip amounts, precip type
and related impacts. While forecast confidence is growing, it still
remains in the low to moderate category at this time.

Models start to diverge somewhat for Mon night into Tuesday as the
energy originating from southwest Canada evolves into a closed low
in the southwest U.S., then eventually shifts eastward across NM or
northern Mexico. Best scenario for NM would favor the deterministic
ECMWF and Canadian models in which residence time of upper level
divergence is maximized. Meanwhile, the deterministic GFS and GEFS
ensemble mean provide a weaker, more progressive solution. DPorter



As dry west to northwest flow aloft persists, near record high
temperatures are again expected today for many areas, and on
Thursday from portions of the RGV over much of the eastern plains.
Southwest breezes this afternoon will produce some locally critical
fire weather conditions from the Las Vegas area toward Raton,
Capulin and Clayton. Breezy to windy conditions Thursday will lead
to more widespread critical fire weather conditions from the central
mountain chain over the Northeast and East Central Plains. The
strongest winds will likely reach around 40 mph along the I-40
corridor from Clines Corners to San Jon. Consequently the Fire
Weather Watch remains in effect for Thursday.

A strong and gusty back door cold front will plunge through the
eastern plains Thursday night and Friday morning.  High temperatures
on Friday will be 10-15 degrees cooler than normal over the east,
while the west will remain 5-10 degrees warmer than average.
Increasing westerly winds combined with a rapid recovery in
temperatures will produce critical fire weather conditions over
portions of northeast and central New Mexico.

Temperatures take a dive Sunday and Monday, especially over the
east, and by Tuesday could be 15 to 30 degrees colder than normal
area wide. Forecast models are becoming more consistent with
potential for a storm system early to mid next week. This system
could bring wetting precipitation in the form of mountain snow and
lower elevation rain and snow, but models continue to vary with the
finer details.


Fire Weather Watch from Thursday morning through Thursday evening
for the following zones... NMZ103-104-107-108.


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