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Area forecast discussion 
National Weather Service Albuquerque nm
513 PM MST Thursday Feb 26 2015

00z taf cycle
expect widespread IFR to LIFR conditions from central Montana chain
east with Montana obscurations through most if not all of this 24 hour
forecast period. Also patches of -sn to snow. Lvs/tcc will be impacted
most with row also being impacted to some degree. Farther west
areas of MVFR and more localized IFR ceilings can be expected at least
into roughly middle morning Friday. Gap winds into Rio Grande Valley also
to continue through early morning Friday then diminish to some degree.
At and near abq gusts may approach 35 knots at times between 02z or
03z until about 10z. Aww may be issued very early this evening for abq
due to the gusty winds and or snow accumulation potential...but
tough call as confidence for gusts that high or snow accumulate of an
inch or more is not that high. IFR/MVFR ceilings and occasionally visibility
due to snow is expected at abq/saf/aeg mainly between 02z and 09z
and for gup and fmn to a slightly lesser degree.



Previous discussion...333 PM MST Thursday Feb 26 2015...
an unsettled weather pattern will continue over northern and
central New Mexico through the next several days as numerous
disturbances aloft bring precipitation to the state. Temperatures
are currently well below average...especially in the eastern
plains of the state where readings are some 30 degrees below
normal for late February. With colder air in place...snow is
expected to break out over much of central to eastern New Mexico
tonight into Friday as an upper level disturbance approaches.
Several inches of additional accumulation are expected by
tomorrow...especially in the mountains and Highlands of northern
and central New Mexico. As the weekend unfolds...another potent
disturbance will dive into California before slowly spreading over
New Mexico. A prolonged period of high elevation snow is expected
Saturday...Sunday...and into Monday and Tuesday. The highest snow
totals will be found in the San Juan or Tusas Mountains near the
Colorado border where two to four feet of snow could accumulate
above ten thousand feet. Rain will fall in lower elevations during
this weekend to early next week period.


it has been an extremely busy shift today with a focus on winter
highlights in not only the near term...but also for the next
impending upper low that will begin impacting nm this weekend.
Somewhat of a lull or respite has been observed this afternoon
with regards to snow...but it has not fully ended in some of the
northern mountain locales. The next upstream disturbance is
looking healthy on water vapor satellite imagery...currently just
west of The Four Corners area...perhaps a bit farther south than
models have been indicating. This will spread sufficient dynamics
aloft to saturate the middle levels of the atmosphere which will then
seed lower levels and produce significant snow...especially where
east/southeast upslope flow will be running up on the respective
slopes of higher terrain. Sangres and central mountains/Highlands
appear to benefit the most from the upslope while saturated middle
level cloud decks will seed lower layers...inducing snow growth.
In addition the dynamics should be enough to produce significant
snowfall over the higher peaks of the remaining northern
mountains. The easterly flow has been accelerating through
gaps/canyons within the Central Mountain chain...and an early
evening surge should allow speeds to Jump Up several miles per hour at kabq
and ksaf. This should shadow much of the Albuquerque metropolitan area
with regard to highlights were hedged on lower side with
just an advisory.

As this evening's disturbance tracks into Texas on Friday...snow will
begin to taper off toward middle day. Some upslope will continue
though...keeping those favored areas precipitating at light rates.
Some of the highlights will need to be continuously monitored to
decide on earlier expiration Friday. Temperatures will be even
colder in most zones on Friday as the synoptic cold pool continues
seeping westward. This will put most zones at 10 to 40 degrees
below normal Friday afternoon. Interestingly models break out new
batches of precipitation in the northwestern quadrant of the state
Friday afternoon. Without the presence of any blatant perturbation
immediately appears the trigger is some divergence
aloft...associated with jet dynamics far ahead of the next trough
diving into the Great Basin. Have increased probability of precipitation some to reflect
higher probabilities in the northwestern zones...but may not have
raised enough.

Confidence is higher in the elevated probabilities over
northwestern to west central nm Friday night and Saturday as the
aforementioned trough dives southward over California and deepens
into a low...shedding energy into AZ/nm. This will bring a
stiffening southwesterly flow over nm that would have good
orographics associated with it while also acting as a warm
advection catalyst. Have opted to issue Winter Storm Watch for the
San Juan/tusas and jemez zones starting Friday night and running
into Sunday. Quantitative precipitation forecast amounts are very impressive with this feature
Friday night through Sunday. Challenges will arise from the warm
advection...inducing rising snow levels and complicating the snow
ratios. At this point it still appears 2 to 4 feet of new snow
would be reasonable in this scenario near the Colorado-nm border above
10kft. Snow levels would likely rise to near 8000 to 8500 feet
Sunday...and while this might suggest a limiting of accumulations
and impacts...the hydrology impacts will have to be strongly
considered. If healthy rainfall occurs over some of the snow the 7000 to 9000 feet range...some substantial melt and
runoff could occur. Will monitor this scenario closely the next
couple of days.

As the California low finally drags northeastward over nm Monday and
Monday night...another perturbation will drop down on its heels
Tuesday...followed by another on Wednesday. The Wednesday feature
could allow a very cold dome to spill southward into nm...but it
would appear to be the caboose on the recent storm train.



Fire weather...
no fire weather concerns next several days. The active winter
weather pattern will continue through middle of next as a series
of upper level disturbances cross over the state. Temperatures areawide
will remain below normal through Wednesday with unusually high

Gusty gap winds will continue along the central mountains for the
next 24-48 hours. Otherwise...another round of wetting snow will
develop and favor central/eastern areas tonight into Friday
morning. Snow showers should continue across western/central areas
Friday afternoon.

Wetting precipitation will then be confined to over northern and
western areas this weekend. Snow levels will rise during this period
as the atmosphere warms. Models have been trending towards more of
an upper level dry slot impact south central/southeast areas during
this same period. Temperatures will modify some but will remain
below normal. Breezy conditions are expected across western/central
areas especially favoring the high terrain. Windy conditions are
very possible across the high terrain as the flow aloft increases.

More upper level disturbances from the west will follow Monday through
Wednesday bringing more rain/snow showers to western and central
areas. Eastern areas should get into the action by midweek. Temperatures
will be a bit warmer in the east...cooler in the west on Monday and
Tuesday..then cooling all over Wednesday.

Ventilation is expected to lower on Friday due to lower mixing
heights and impacts from the back door cold push. Ventilation will
improve as the weekend progresses...especially on Sunday. Good to
excellent vent rates are expected early next week as the atmosphere
remains unsettled and higher transport winds exist.



Abq watches/warnings/advisories...
Winter Weather Advisory until noon MST Friday for the following

Winter Weather Advisory until noon MST Friday for the following

Winter Storm Warning until noon MST Friday for the following

Winter Weather Advisory until 5 PM MST Friday for the following

Winter Storm Warning until 5 PM MST Friday for the following

Winter Storm Watch from late Friday night through Sunday afternoon
for the following zones...nmz510-511.



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