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Area forecast discussion 
National Weather Service Albuquerque nm
524 am MDT Wednesday Apr 23 2014

12z taf cycle
strengthening SW to west winds as an upper trough sweeps from west to
east over the central and southern rockies and surface Lee trough remains
across eastern Colorado and nm today. Localized areas of 5sm bldu after 18z NE
and east Central Plains. Lingering middle level moisture to be
shunted east but isolated showers or thunderstorms possible northern mts and
northeast nm...especially after 24/00z as surface front pushes into that
portion of the state.


Previous discussion...340 am MDT Wednesday Apr 23 2014...
strong southwest winds aloft are moving into New Mexico as a
trough of low pressure inches toward the Rocky Mountains. Mostly
dry conditions are expected today with windy conditions across most
of northern and central New Mexico. Temperatures will cool a few
degrees in western New Mexico this afternoon with eastern areas
remaining above average. All of northern and central New Mexico
will observe seasonal temperatures and dry conditions on Thursday
with lighter winds. Winds will begin to increase on Friday...and
will be especially strong and perhaps even severe on Saturday and
Sunday as a vigorous low pressure system approaches the state. In
addition to the very windy conditions...the low pressure system
will also bring cooler temperatures and batches of rain and snow
to the land of enchantment this weekend.


currently some elevated showers and storms are progressing over
eastern New Mexico with middle to high level cloudiness still
covering most of the forecast area. A quickly approaching dry
slot can be seen close to the upper level trough axis on water
vapor imagery...and a dispersion of much of the cloud cover over
nm is expected into the late morning. It was a welcome feat to
have 30s dewpoints over central nm and 40s in the east the past
few days...but these are also expected to scour out eastward as
vertical mixing transports the drier air aloft toward the surface.
This will set the stage for fairly widespread critical fire
weather amidst the low humidity and strong winds this afternoon
and early into the evening. Winds are going to approach close to
the 30 miles per hour sustained wind speed threshold needed for a Wind
Advisory...but have opted to stand down on any issuance at this
time. Some blowing dust is expected in lower elevation areas that
are prone to dust...but widespread visibility restrictions are not
anticipated. Temperatures will take a notable drop in western
zones while the eastern plains continue to rise above average.

Trough axis will exit east of nm tonight with a short-lived back
door front sliding down the plains. The temperatures be set back
several degrees in the eastern zones going into Thursday...but the
entire forecast area should still remain a couple degrees either
side of normal. With the flow aloft turning zonal a continued dry
airmass will choke out any hope for precipitation Thursday...and Lee side
troughing will quickly allow winds to turn more southerly in the

By Friday the winds aloft will already begin turning southwesterly
in response to the next approaching low pressure system. Winds
have been increased some for Friday due to projected higher speeds
aloft and sufficient boundary layer temperature lapse rates for
efficient vertical mixing. The Lee side surface trough will also
deepen and help the temperatures will rise 5 to 10
degrees above normal in most zones with critical fire weather
possible again.

The weekend looks highly entertaining from a meteorological
spectating standpoint...but quite abysmal from a resident
standpoint. The approaching low pressure system will take a track
over Southern California and Arizona before hitting west central nm and then
lifting to the northeast corner of the state early Sunday. Rapid
cyclogenesis near the West Coast will turn this feature into an
anomalously deep and cold low that will bring very strong to
severe winds to the state...cooler than average temperatures...and
precipitation. The extent of precipitation appears to be farther
south on latest model runs due to a slight shift in track...but
agreement among model members is fairly good through the weekend.
The pattern looks to shift to a high amplitude one through next
week with the European model keeping the north northwest flow a
bit more conducive to short wave energy into parts of nm.



Fire weather...
..critical conditions today and returning central and east Friday...

Little change for today through Thursday. Upper trough to sweep
through the region...bringing windy and drier conditions. Most of
the lingering moisture will be shunted out today...and a drier air
mass evident on satellite imagery headed our way...with the exception
of a slight chance for showers/storms northern mountains and
northeast today and tonight. Ended up dropping the existing Fire Weather
Watch for zones 101 and 102...high temperatures cooler than or near
normal...and Haines low to moderate. That said...winds and min relative humidity
may exceed critical criteria for some portions of those two
zones...especially at the lower elevations. Otherwise...the red flag
warning for today remains unchanged.

Relative humidity recoveries tonight will be poor to fair at the lower elevations
southwest of a line from The Four Corners through Fort Sumner. A
front in the northeast/east central will allow some higher
humidities to slosh west and southward but this mixes out later in
the day Thursday...with most areas forecast to see min relative humidity values of
less than 15 percent. Winds will not be strong enough to trigger
critical conditions over a large area...although the Las Vegas area
may see spotty critical conditions Thursday afternoon.

Due to the drier air mass...relative humidity recoveries Thursday night will be
pathetic for the middle Rio Grande Valley with some maximum relative humidity values
not even reaching 25 percent. The majority of the lower
elevations...including the eastern plains...may see maximum humidities
in the 30 to 40 percent range. This leads into Friday...which now
looks much windier than previously forecast.

Have opted for a Fire Weather Watch for the area from the middle Rio
Grande Valley and northeast Highlands eastward to the Texas border Friday.
Single digit min relative humidity will be widespread over this area...along with
Haines of 6 and warmer than average high temperatures. Winds will
likely stay gusty across some of the higher terrain Friday
night...leading into a very windy day Saturday...with potential for
gusts to 60 miles per hour over central areas south of Interstate 40. Critical
conditions look to be widespread from the Rio Grande Valley eastward
Saturday...with chances for showers increasing over the west and
north. The weekend storm system looks to be much colder aloft...with
700 mb temperatures falling to -5 to -8 degree c Saturday
potential precipitation would fall as snow. Sunday could be quite
windy also...but much cooler than average for late April. Highs
slowly recover into the middle of next week with northwest flow
aloft...and slight chances for precipitation north central and


Abq watches/warnings/advisories...
red flag warning from 11 am this morning to 8 PM MDT this evening
for the following zones...nmz103>109.

Fire Weather Watch from Friday afternoon through Friday evening for
the following zones...nmz103-104-106>108.