Scientific Forecaster Discussion
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Area forecast discussion...updated
National Weather Service Albuquerque nm
1032 PM MST Sat Feb 24 2018
06z taf cycle
an upper level trough will reach The Four Corners during the late
night hours, then pass eastward along the Colorado/nm border on Sunday.
The system will steer strong west winds aloft over the area with gusty
winds at times at axx and srr overnight. A gusty Pacific cold front
will then cross from the northwest on Sunday with strong winds lingering
until around mid day along the east slopes of the central and S
central mountains. Along and west of the northern mountains tonight into
Sunday morning, the storm system should produce areas of MVFR
conditions and localized IFR conditions with periods of light snow
and mountain obscurations.
Previous discussion...303 PM MST Sat Feb 24 2018...
the next storm system is approaching from Utah this afternoon and
will deliver another round of light snow to the northern mountains
late tonight into Sunday morning. More wind and cold is in store for
Sunday with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees below normal. Sunday night
will be the coldest night for much of the area since late January. A
warming trend will occur Monday and Tuesday with very dry southwest
winds. Elevated fire danger will impact much of eastern New Mexico.
Another storm system will move into New Mexico Tuesday night and
Wednesday with much colder temperatures and more wind. This storm
will increase the potential for light snow for most of central and
western New Mexico on Wednesday morning. A slow warming trend will
develop toward the end of the week.
widespread windy conditions over eastern nm will taper off through
sunset. The current wind highlights will be allowed to expire at 4pm
however a few spots may remain close to advisory levels through 6pm.
The latest water vapor imagery is showing a well defined upper wave
racing southeast toward nm from the Great Basin. Very dry air ahead
of this wave has forced surface dewpoints into the single digits and
teens below zero over the area. This system is already moisture
starved so snowfall will be orographically forced along west facing
slopes of the northern high terrain. The 12z href-2, local WRF, and
hrrr guidance have low quantitative precipitation forecast values in line with wpc quantitative precipitation forecast. Last nights
system was an underperformer and this one will likely not make any
impressions either. Temperatures however will be very cold so any
accumulations could cause slick travel in the northern high terrain.
Very dry air with strong surface high pressure and clearing skies in
the wake of this system will lead to the coldest low temps since
late January for much of the area on Monday morning. The abq Metro
will see lows along the valley floor in the middle to lower teens.
Flow aloft quickly backs to the southwest Monday as a 540dm 500 mb low
develops over Southern California. 700-500mb layer flow increases to
near 30 kts with strong warm advection. A dry slot ahead of this wave
will elevate fire danger across eastern nm both Monday and Tuesday.
High temperatures will trend closer to or even slightly above normal.
Southwest winds will be strongest on Tuesday.
12z model guidance came into better agreement with the next storm
system Tuesday night and Wednesday. The aforementioned upper low is
expected to move slowly east across Arizona Tuesday night and fill to
near 545dm over nm Wednesday. There is meager low level moisture
advection so the system will rely on mid/upper level moisture,
frontogenesis, and cold core instability. 700mb temps are shown to
fall to near -10c over western nm with snow spreading east toward the
central mtn chain through Wednesday morning. This will allow for
snow in all areas with potential for slick travel.
..Fire Weather Watch in effect for much of eastern New Mexico
As one upper-level trough exits to the east another approaches from
the northwest tonight. Strong west to northwest winds along and east
of the Central Mountain chain this afternoon will subside after
sunset but brisk west winds will continue overnight in the higher
elevations. Light snow amounts will favor the far northwest plateau
and Tusas Mountains late tonight into Sunday morning. Widespread
brisk west to northwest winds will develop once again Sunday
morning, continuing through early afternoon. Wind speeds on Sunday
are forecast to remain below critical thresholds. The exception will
be in Curry and Roosevelt counties where an hour or two of critical
By Monday, temperatures warm and winds increase once again. Critical
fire weather conditons are likely across much of the area along and
east of the Central Mountain chain Monday afternoon and a Fire
Weather Watch has been issued as a result. Stronger winds aloft sag
over southern nm Tuesday so critical condtions will be harder to
Models are now in good agreement with regard to a cold upper low for
Tuesday night and Wednesday. Associated surface cold front along
with areas of snow are forecast to race eastward across western nm
Tuesday evening and across the remainder of the state late Tuesday
night. Significant snow and blowing snow are possible in the western
and northern mountains Tuesday night into wedenesday morning. Drier
and warmer weather returns underneath zonal flow aloft for Thursday
Fire Weather Watch from Monday morning through Monday afternoon for