Weather Service Report

FXUS65 KABQ 231807 AAC

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1207 PM MDT Thu Mar 23 2017

An upper level low pressure system will reach the Four Corners this
afternoon, pass eastward along the CO/NM border tonight, then deepen
remarkably in the lee of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains early Friday.
A Pacific cold front will also cross from the west today, before a
strong back door cold front plunges southward through the eastern
plains on Friday morning. Scattered to numerous rain and mountain 
snow showers along and west of the central mountain chain today will
spread eastward along the CO/NM border tonight with mountain 
obscurations, then favor the northern mountains eastward on Friday.
There will also be isolated thunderstorms today along and west of the
central mountain chain. Wind gusts from 35 to 55 kt are expected in 
many places today and Friday, except for gusts to 60 kt possible over
northeast areas behind the cold front on Friday. Blowing dust will
probably create areas of MVFR and IFR conditions across the eastern 
plains this afternoon and Friday. Further, a few inches of snow is 
expected in the northern mountains tonight into Friday, except for 
several inches near the CO border.



.PREV DISCUSSION...1109 AM MDT Thu Mar 23 2017...
Raised temperatures across central and eastern zones for this
afternoon. Strong cold front a little slower than anticipated.
Could be damaging wind gusts in the stronger showers and isolated
thunderstorms developing just ahead of the cold front this 
afternoon. CHJ


.PREV DISCUSSION...327 AM MDT Thu Mar 23 2017...
Big weather changes such as windier, cooler, and possible wetter 
condtions will follow as a series of incoming storm systems 
impact New Mexico. The first storm system will impact the state 
today through Friday with strong winds central and east followed by 
precipitation favoring northern and western areas. The northern 
mountains will be favored for snow showers tonight. The second storm 
will clip the northern tier producing some snow showers across the 
northern mountains Saturday night into Sunday. The third more 
potent, long living system will impact the state Tuesday through 
Thursday of next week. 


The first incoming storm system will deepen this morning as it dives
across the Great Basin, crossing NM this aftn before exiting 
tonight. Strong to damaging winds will develop this aftn across 
central and eastern areas where several wind and fire weather 
highlights have been issued through Friday (see fire weather 
discussion below). 

Meanwhile, precipitation will develop north and
west today as the storm bears down on the state...with snow showers 
favoring the higher terrain/mountainous areas north and 
west....moreso the northern mtns tonight into early Fri. Some 
isolated thunderstorms could develop this aftn along and west of the 
centrl mtn chain and the extreme far SE Plains. As the system passes 
across the state before exiting tonight, look for temps to plummet at
least 20-30 degrees today and Friday. 

Sat will see a brief break in unsettled weather as an upper level 
ridge builds over the area allowing temps to rebound 10-20 degrees. 
The second storm system will clip the northern half of the state Sat 
night into Sunday...with some precipitation favoring northern areas 
followed by breezes central and east. The third more potent storm 
system looks to be long lasting with widespread impacts across the 
state Tues through Thursday. It is possible that this system could 
produce widespread rain/snow showers along and north of the I-40 
corridor. By the time the system exits out, another one will follow 
giving NM another persistent round of unsettled weather through the 
end of the week. 


Weather conditions will deteriorate today as an upper level trough 
races toward New Mexico. A cold front will approach from the west 
with showers and thunderstorms taking shape in central, north 
central, and west central portions of NM this afternoon. However, 
ahead of the frontal boundary, warm and well above average 
temperatures will prevail in the eastern plains of NM with a 
pronounced dry slot aloft moving overhead. In addition, a belt of 
very strong winds aloft will work into this area and mix down to the 
surface. This will exacerbate the warm, dry and critical to severe 
nature of this event. There is some uncertainty on the extent of how 
dry the atmosphere will get over the eastern plains, especially 
since very high surface dewpoints are currently in place. Yet, with 
gusts of 60 to 65 mph and the above normal temperatures and 
sufficient fuel loading, a Red Flag warning seems prudent for 
eastern NM zones today. 

The cold front will sweep into eastern NM tonight into Friday, 
finally dropping temperatures back below normal, and ultimately 
raising humidity. Temperatures will turn cold enough for some of the 
lingering showers to also change over to snow before they exit, 
mainly in the northern mountains and toward the Raton Pass. While 
humidity will raise and temperatures will be cooler in eastern NM on 
Friday, the winds behind the cold front will be brutal with gusts of 
60 and perhaps 70 mph possible along the eastern tier of NM into 
west TX. Winds will also stay strong farther west to the central 
zones of NM, albeit not nearly as severe as in the eastern plains. 
The temperatures cool some in the Rio Grande valley, but conditions 
will remain quite dry in addition to the strong winds, and thus a 
Fire Weather Watch will be hoisted for FWZ106 with this forecast 

A welcome, albeit brief, respite from the strong winds will arrive 
on Saturday as a short wave ridge aloft traverses NM. Temperatures 
will rebound back above normal by 5 to 10 degrees across the 
forecast area, and good to excellent smoke ventilation is expected 
amidst the rising mixing heights. 

The next Pacific disturbance will be a fast-moving system, crossing 
NM Saturday night with winds aloft spiking again and another shot of 
cooler temperatures and precipitation. The drop in temperatures and 
the attendant precipitation will not be as substantial as 
today/tonight's system. Winds and humidity could briefly kiss 
critical thresholds in some east central zones Sunday afternoon. 

The repetitive cycle will continue into next week as another short 
wave ridge builds in early Monday, only to be followed by another 
disturbance during the middle of next week. This trough would have 
better potential to dig slightly farther south and be a bit 
deeper/stronger, potentially yielding more precipitation.


High Wind Warning until 9 PM MDT this evening for the following 
zones... NMZ521-523-526>529-531>540.

Red Flag Warning until 7 PM MDT this evening for the following 
zones... NMZ103-104-108.

Wind Advisory until 9 PM MDT this evening for the following zones...

High Wind Watch from Friday morning through Friday evening for the 
following zones... NMZ527-530-531-534-535.

Fire Weather Watch from Friday afternoon through Friday evening for 
the following zones... NMZ106.



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Western Regional Climate Center,