Scientific Forecaster Discussion

Return to Local Conditions & Forecast
Area forecast discussion...updated 
National Weather Service Albuquerque nm
1130 PM MDT Thursday Apr 24 2014

06z taf cycle
a Lee side surface trough that developed today will deepen Friday
as winds aloft strengthen. Southwest winds will begin to gust in
the 25 to 40 knots range by middle day Friday. Windy to very windy
conditions are expected areawide Saturday with areas of blowing
dust. Showers and thunderstorms will also move in from the west.



Previous discussion...328 PM MDT Thursday Apr 24 2014...
after a tranquil weather day Thursday we will see breezy to windy
and warmer conditions Friday in advance of a potent weather system
headed for New Mexico this weekend. The main impacts with the the
weekend system will be strong winds and blowing dust initially...
followed by continued strong winds on Sunday with much cooler
conditions. In addition...precipitation chances with this system
will trend up Saturday and continue into Sunday...favoring the
western and northern mountains. Accumulating snow is likely in the
northern mountains...especially over the peaks and along west
facing slopes. Windy conditions will persist into early next week
as temperatures remain below normal with the potential for an
unsettled weather pattern to continue into middle/late week.


shortwave ridging currently over the area will be replaced by
increasing west-SW flow overnight into Friday. West-SW winds aloft will
mix down to the surface Friday afternoon as temperatures reach
above normal. At the same time...Lee-side troughing will deepen
to near 995mb at the surface resulting in breezy to windy
conditions area-wide and critical fire weather conditions (see
fire weather discussion below for details).

Winds aloft will continue to increase Friday night in advance of a
potent Spring weather-maker...forecast to impact our area through
the weekend. Strong winds to be the featured impact Saturday...
with blowing dust central and east...and showers west. The 12z
model solutions show the core of strongest winds in the middle levels
of the atmosphere oriented from SW to NE across central portions
of the state 00z Sunday. This looks to be a classic Spring
southwest wind event Saturday for much of the south and east...
complete with northeast transport of sand out of White Sands over
the Sacramento Mountains and into the eastern plains and Texas
Panhandle. Will issue a high wind watch for some of our south
central and central zones where our forecast confidence is highest
on hitting warning thresholds. This watch may be expanded later
and other zones will likely require advisories. Precipitation will
begin Saturday afternoon out west and gradually transition east
Saturday evening ahead of the potent upper low and attendant
Pacific cold front. Isolated thunder is likely Saturday afternoon
and evening with this system as well...but lightning activity
should remain relatively low given lack of deep layer convection.
By late Saturday night...the upper low will be moving east-northeast out over
the NE plains with precipitation locked onto the northern and west
central mountains. Snow impacts with this system will generally
be confined to areas above 8500 feet in the northern mountains.
The higher west-facing slopes of the tusas...jemez and sangre Delaware
cristo mountains could pick-up 4 to 8 inches of snow with this
system. A much colder airmass will move in behind the front
Saturday night...with temperatures trending well below normal on
the maxes Sunday and Monday.

Windy conditions look to persist early next week with strong
northwest flow behind the departing upper low. Some precipitation
potential north and east as well with additional shortwave energy
moving around the upper low. Forecast confidence decreases
significantly beyond Tuesday with a highly amplified synoptic
pattern projected and differences in the details among the medium
range model solutions.



Fire weather...

..critical conditions for central and eastern New Mexico Friday
through Saturday...followed by strong winds and cooler temperatures

After the frontal passage this morning...dry west to southwesterly
flow took over during the afternoon period...with a few gusty winds
east of the Central Mountain chain creating a few spotty critical
conditions near Las Vegas.

Friday...with temperatures above normal...high Haines...and moderate
to strong southwest winds...critical fire weather conditions will
develop around midday and continue through early evening for central
and eastern New Mexico. Issued red flag warning for middle Rio
Grande Valley...primarily for the southern half of the zone. Not
expecting more than local critical conditions from Belen northward.
Winds will gusts up to 40 miles per hour across the eastern plains and southern
mountains. Excellent mixing heights and ventilation expected during
the afternoon.

Saturday...Fire Weather Watch in effect from middle morning through middle
evening for most of central and eastern New Mexico. Strong to
perhaps damaging southwest winds expected for the south central
mountains and adjacent Highlands with strong winds elsewhere. Wind
gusts could reach 50 to 60 miles per hour in the south central mountains and
adjacent Highlands. A very dry air mass ahead of storm system will likely
lead to another critical fire weather day for the central and
eastern part of the state. As the storm system approaches from the
west...a strong surface cold front will sweep from west to east
across the region Saturday evening. A much colder airmass will push
into the state Saturday night...following isolated wetting
precipitation for the northern mountains...mainly in the form of

Sunday to the upper low lifts northeastward over
northern New Mexico...isolated snow showers are possible across the
north central mountains east to the plains. Min relative humidity values will range
from 20 to 30 percent across the northern mountains Sunday but will
remain poor elsewhere. Strong to perhaps damaging northwest winds
are expected area wide Sunday afternoon. Although very dry airmass
and strong winds will combine to create critical fire weather
conditions...temperatures will be below seasonal normals.

Strong northwest winds will continue into Monday through Wednesday
with below normal temperatures and low Haines values. Ventilation
rates will remain excellent areawide until Wednesday...with poor to
fair expected thereafter.



Abq watches/warnings/advisories...
red flag warning from noon to 8 PM MDT Friday for the following

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

High wind watch from Saturday afternoon through Saturday evening
for the following zones...nmz523-524-526-539-540.