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Area forecast discussion...updated
National Weather Service Albuquerque nm
1151 PM MDT Wed Apr 26 2017

06z taf cycle
a weak disturbance will brush northern nm overnight increasing the
chances for low elevation rain and mtn snow across north central and
northwest nm. Isold ts is also possible. Areas of MVFR to IFR cigs
are expected to develop as well as mtn obscurations. Precip will
diminish in the aftn with cigs lifting to VFR. Winds will be the
other main story today. Winds will increase by mid morning, and by
mid aftn, gusts between 40 and 50kt are expected. Localized areas of
bldu are possible. Winds will decrease around sunset, except across
the south central and southwest mtns where winds will continue
through much of the night.



Previous discussion...342 PM MDT Wed Apr 26 2017...
west winds will gradually pick up overnight as a Pacific storm
system moves through northern New Mexico. Scattered showers will
spread eastward across the northern third or so of the state
overnight. Snow levels will drop to near 7500 feet. A rather windy
day is in store Thursday ahead of an unseasonably strong and cold
Pacific storm system expected to impact the region Friday afternoon
through Saturday. Dry northwest flow returns Sunday and continues
into early next week.


90kt nwly jet over the pacnw very apparent on water vapor imagery
this afternoon. The nose of this jet combined with a mid-level
baroclinic zone will bring good chances for showers to the northern
third or so of the state overnight. Snow levels will be around 7500
feet with a few inches of accumulation likely in the Tusas Mountains
east of Chama and Tierra Amarilla. As the above mentioned nwly jet
moves overhead late tonight through Thursday night, strong west
winds will be prevalent, with very strong to high winds possible in
the higher terrain. Held off on upgrading the high wind watch given
the 12z model suite shifting the core of the highest wind speeds
near mountain top level to the southern third of the state on
Thursday and Thursday night.

An impressively deep/strong and cold upper level closed low remains
on track for Friday through Saturday evening. NAM, European model (ecmwf) and Canadian
models now dropping the upper low slightly farther south out of
southwest Colorado early Saturday morning before moving it ewd through
central nm Saturday afternoons. Models coming in line for the most
part but subtle changes in the track make major differences in where
precipitation sets up west of the Central Mountain chain. All models
continue to nail the northeast third of the state Friday night and
Saturday. Main challenges across northeast and east-central areas
will be accumulating snow levels during the day Saturday. Forecast
700mb temps are highly dependent on the track of the 700mb low. The
farther south this low is as it moves east through eastern nm Saturday,
the more cold air gets drawn in from the north to lower snow levels
across east-central nm including the I-40 corridor from near Santa
rose to the Texas line. At any rate, still a fair amount of uncertainty
with regard to not only how far south the upper low drops but where
it drops in from the northwest or north. Trended the forecast toward
the farther southern track given the good agreement from all
operational runs less the GFS. Wrap-around snow showers remain
across the northeast Saturday night with freezing temps or colder for
most locations. A hard freeze looking likely across much of northern
and portions of eastern nm Saturday night/Sunday morning with
perhaps a few hours of near freezing temps in the abq Metro possible.

Dry northwest flow aloft moves overhead Sunday into early next week.
GFS and to a lesser extent the European model (ecmwf) bring an upper level short-wave
trough and associated backdoor cold front through nm Tuesday night
or Wednesday.



Fire weather...
not a clear-cut scenario for thursday's forecast critical fire
weather conditions. Limiting factors include borderline minimum
humidity, smaller portions of forecast zones impacted, increasing
cloud cover related to an approaching jet stream and mixed Haines of
4-5 although an area of Haines 6 is forecast across a small portion
of the Sandia/Manzano/Gallinas mountain zone. Sufficient cloud cover
may be present Thursday to limit fire behavior, so will defer
upgrade decision to later shifts. Otherwise, Thursday is looking
rather windy, with chances for wetting precipitation across the
north and relatively dry conditions across the south.

A cooling/moistening phase is forecast to begin areawide Friday as a
cold front makes southward progress across the area and an
anomalously cold upper low retrogrades then deepens across Colorado
to near The Four Corners by 12z Saturday. Impacts associated with
these two features will ramp-up Friday night and peak Saturday, with
snow levels falling and significant snowfall accumulation likely
across much of northern New Mexico. In particular, the northern
mountains and Raton ridge/Johnson Mesa could pile-up a foot or more.
Temperatures will plummet Saturday, with much of the area forecast
to dip below freezing Saturday night into Sunday morning. Many lower
elevation locales across northern New Mexico will experience a hard

A warming/drying trend will begin Sunday and continue into Tuesday
with, but with temperatures across most of the area remaining at or
below normal under dry northwest flow aloft. Although not forecast
at this time, there is some potential for critical fire weather
conditions Tuesday generally south of Interstate 40. Both the 12z
GFS and European model (ecmwf) show a northern stream shortwave trough moving out of
The Rockies into the plains on Wednesday, pushing a cold front down
our eastern plains and bringing chances for wetting precipitation
back to the Front Range.



Abq watches/warnings/advisories...
Fire Weather Watch from Thursday afternoon through Thursday evening
for the following zones... nmz106>109.

High wind watch from 10 am MDT Thursday through Thursday evening
for the following zones... nmz521-523-524-526-539-540.

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