Scientific Forecaster Discussion
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Area forecast discussion...updated
National Weather Service Albuquerque nm
1029 am MST Tue Feb 21 2017
18z taf cycle
VFR conditions expected next 24 hrs. Moist Pacific flow in the upper
levels of the atmosphere will take shape later today into tonight.
Cigs will gradually lower starting across The Four Corners area.
Increased wind on Wed.
Previous discussion...336 am MST Tue Feb 21 2017...
the recent warming trend will continue through Wednesday in most
places as a ridge of high pressure finishes crossing the area and
southwest flow aloft strengthens in its wake. A surface Lee trough
will also develop leading to gusty downslope flow with record and
near record high temperatures across much of the east today. Near
record highs will then spread to include much of the west on
Wednesday. Surface winds will become hazardous from the Sangre de
Cristo Mountains eastward on Wednesday, when gusts from 40 to 50 mph
will be possible. Winds will strengthen further Thursday as the jet
stream moves overhead, with gusts from 40 to 55 mph across much of
the area east of the Continental Divide. Fire weather concerns will
accompany the wind Wednesday, Thursday, and also Friday when another
breezy to windy day is expected from the Central Mountain chain
eastward. A Pacific cold front will cross Thursday causing
temperatures to plummet through Friday before rebounding this
a long wave trough over the West Coast will eject a series of
shortwave trough over The Four Corners area and Colorado during the
mid to latter half of the week. New Mexico will be in a deep and
gusty warm sector ahead of the jet stream until the jet stream
finally crosses Wednesday night through Friday. The 700 mb flow is
forecast to bring a broad swath of 50-60 kt winds over much of the
forecast area Wednesday night into Thursday, when surface winds
should be strongest and most widespread. One of the stronger short
waves will pass eastward over the nm/Colorado border with the
aforementioned cold front on Thursday. There could be some rain
showers and mountain snow showers near the Colorado border, but the
main concern will be wind and fire weather. High temperatures should
fall around 7 to 17 degrees below wednesdays warm readings on
Thursday, then another few to 15 or so degrees on Friday.
In the wake of the short wave trough zonal flow aloft will develop,
keeping winds gusty and allowing temperatures to rebound. Windy
conditions should redevelop Sunday across southern and eastern areas
as the next upper level trough causes southwest flow aloft to
restrengthen and steers the jet stream back overhead. Western and
northern areas have the best chance for rain showers and mountain
snow showers Sunday through the first few days of the coming work
week as a deeper upper level trough crosses more gradually from the
..significant period of critical fire weather conditions Wednesday
and Thursday across the east...and in the middle Rio Grande Valley
Confidence remains high for a two day period of strong winds and
very dry conditions across the four eastern fire weather zones on
Wednesday and Thursday. The Rio Grande Valley will also experience
critical conditions Thursday.
The ridge of high pressure aloft will peak over the state today,
providing lots of sunshine, mostly light winds and unusually warm
temperatures. Record or near record highs are likely across much of
central and all of eastern New Mexico. The dry airmass will drop the
relative humidities in the 7 to 14 percent range across the east.
The far northeast will have 3 to 4 hours of single digit humidities.
While winds will be light in most areas, breezy to windy conditions
will continue over the east Central Highlands and plains, focusing
mostly on the area between Moriarty and Santa Rosa. Min relative humidity values
will be low enough over the far western portion of zone 108 to reach
red flag warning criteria for a couple of hours this afternoon. The
Haines index will be moderate in this area. Ventilation rates will
fair to very good, except mostly poor over the northern mountains
and over the east Central Plains close to the Texas border.
The ridge over US now will flatten and shift east Wednesday allowing
the flow aloft to strengthen while a Lee side trough develops, most
noticeable over the northeast. This looks to be the main focus area
for critical fire weather conditions Wednesday afternoon. We will
upgrade the Fire Weather Watch to a red flag warning for zones 103,
104 and 108 with high confidence of occurrence. While zones 103 and
108 are solidly producing critical fire conditions, zone 104 will
have the greatest fire growth risk with several hours of single
digit rh's, unusually high mixing heights, moderate to high Haines
indices and high temperatures over 20 degrees above normal!
The short wave trough approaching the West Coast today will come
inland tonight, cross the Great Basin Wednesday, then cross nm
Thursday. Overall, the models are a bit faster with this trough
and the associated surface Pacific cold front. This means cooler
air will sweep across the state Thursday. Despite this, critical
fire weather conditions will still be attained in the middle Rio
Grande Valley and all of the east. Zones 103 and 107 will be added
to the current Fire Weather Watch for Thursday. Strong to possibly
damaging winds, min relative humidity values of 9 to 14 percent and high mixing
heights will all combine to produce red flag conditions. Haines
values will not be high and maximum temperatures will only be near
normal in the middle Rio Grande Valley to around 10 degrees above
normal in the east. These may dampen the critical conditions some,
but certainly not enough to lower our high level of conference of
widespread red flag conditions.
Models remain consistent showing residual strong winds and low relative humidity
across much of the east Friday. The critical fire conditions have
expanded to include zones 103 and 107. This is a Post cold frontal
scenario, so not expecting to issue a watch as high temperatures
will be below normal and Haines values low or very low.
The stronger zonal flow should remain over the area next weekend.
This means some gustier winds at the surface for most areas. Models
have been trending drier for the Sunday to Monday time frame.
The next trough passage looks to be on Tuesday. Strong winds and low
relative humidity should continue across portions of the east during this period.
red flag warning from noon to 6 PM MST Wednesday for the following
Fire Weather Watch from Thursday afternoon through Thursday evening
for the following zones... nmz103-104-106>108.