Area Forecast Discussion
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FXUS64 KLUB 220909

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Lubbock TX
409 AM CDT Thu Mar 22 2018

A progress upper ridge passing late today and early Friday coupled
with continued southerly to westerly low-level flow will provide
near record to record warmth today and tomorrow. Today will be the
"cooler" of the days with highs generally in the middle 80s. The
lowest readings are expected over the southeast zones where
moisture levels will be somewhat higher. Today will also be the
light wind day of the next two, though southerly winds will be on
the breezy side in the Rolling Plains. Low-level moisture will
briefly improve for most of the CWA early Friday as another stout
southerly nocturnal LLJ develops. However, the flow will quickly
veer as a shortwave trough currently approaching California races
from the Four Corners into the central High Plains on Friday. The
recent guidance has trended a bit stronger with this wave and thus
the dry downslope winds that will overspread the Caprock.
Although it currently appears the strongest wind fields will be
directed from northeast New Mexico into the northwest Texas
Panhandle, our northwestern and western counties may venture
toward advisory levels. In addition to propelling temperatures
toward and above the 90 degree mark in many spots, these warm/hot
and dry winds will result in critical fire weather (see the FIRE
WEATHER section for details). Regarding the warm temperatures, the
current records for the next few days are:

            Thu (Mar 22)      Fri (Mar 23)      Sat (Mar 24)

Lubbock    87, set in 2016   87, set in 2015   88, set in 1929
Childress  94, set in 1907   92, set in 1907   92, set in 1929

A weak cold front will slip in the South Plains behind the
disturbance early Saturday, providing lighter winds and 5 to 10
degrees of cooling. This front should wash out under deep
southwesterly flow the second half of the weekend as broad troughing
moves into the west. There are indications that a lead disturbance
embedded in the southwest flow will draw abundant amounts of middle
and upper level moisture off the Pacific and up and over West Texas
late Saturday and early Sunday. At minimum this will provide plenty
of cloud cover, but very dry conditions below 700 mb will keep the
prospects for measurable rain very low. These clouds could help
temper the downslope breezes and heating a bit Sunday, though at
this point it appears they will clear the second half of the day.

Attention will then turn to our western storm system. Medium range
NWP is in good agreement that a closed low will develop over the
Desert Southwest early next week and then translate slowly east
through much of the week before passing as an opening wave Thursday
or Friday. Well in advance of the trough, another sub-tropical
disturbance is forecast to race by on Monday. This wave could help
spark thunderstorms along/near the dryline that will likely reside
somewhere in or just east of the FA late Monday. Enough instability
and shear will be present along and east of the dryline to support
strong to severe convection late Monday. We may largely get
dry-slotted on Tuesday before the upper low and a cold front
moving in from the north renew shower/storm chances during the
middle of the week. Unfortunately, the latest NWP now favor some
form of a positively tilted trough/low as it approaches, which
would make it difficult/impossible for deep Gulf moisture to be
drawn this far westward. So, unlike 24 hours ago, the prospects
for widespread significant rainfall on the South Plains does not
look as good, though periods of precipitation will still be
possible. Ultimately it will depend on how the upper low unfolds.
For now, we have maintained slight chance to low chance PoPs
Tuesday night through Thursday. Regardless, temperatures will
trend downward through much of next week.


Near record to record warmth will affect the region today and
tomorrow. Where the driest air (RH values below 15%) resides this
afternoon on the Caprock, westerly breezes should be light enough to
preclude more than briefly elevated fire weather.

Tomorrow will be even warmer, and after a moist start to the day,
gusty and dry southwesterly winds will spread out of New Mexico
and across the Caprock. Widespread critical fire weather is
expected, with the strongest winds across the southwest Texas
Panhandle and western South Plains. Given this, we have upgraded
the Fire Weather Watch to a Red Flag Warning (RFW). There is some
uncertainty how far east the dry and windy conditions will spread,
and the RFW may have to be expanded slightly eastward should
confidence in a stronger push to the dryline develop.

Beyond Friday, elevated fire weather may visit locations near the
TX/NM line Saturday afternoon, with fire weather concerns
potentially expanding further eastward Sunday and persisting into
early next week for locations west of the dryline.


Red Flag Warning from 1 PM to 9 PM CDT Friday for TXZ021>024-



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