FXUS65 KABQ 052334 AAA
Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
534 PM MDT Fri Jun 5 2020
00Z TAF CYCLE
Although VFR conditions prevail and are forecast to persist through
the TAF period, there will be aviation weather-related impacts due to
convection and strong/erratic wind gusts both this evening and
Saturday afternoon/evening. Stronger S-SW winds will develop Saturday
as an upper level trough swings northeast from AZ into western NM
and southwest CO.
.PREV DISCUSSION...332 PM MDT Fri Jun 5 2020...
Light precipitation will continue to increase in coverage across
western New Mexico this evening as a storm system migrates towards
the Four Corners region. By Saturday afternoon, this activity will
shift into north central New Mexico. The threat for severe weather
appears low, although lightning strikes and gusty winds may occur.
The bigger concern will be the increasing winds and the threat for
critical fire weather conditions. A significantly drier air mass is
expected to invade the Land of Enchantment through early next week,
with strong winds and low humidities creating critical fire weather
conditions each afternoon and early evening. Expect a cold front to
sweep through the state Monday night and Tuesday, pushing readings
about ten degrees below normal. High pressure builds over the area
for mid- to late week, with weather models suggesting some moisture
migrating northward into New Mexico.
SHORT TERM...(TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT)...
Despite a dome of high pressure currently moving into NM, unsettled
weather will be overtaking the state over the next 24 to 30 hours. A
cut-off low over the eastern Pacific has been spinning aimlessly to
the west of the Baja for days, but another low offshore of British
Columbia has finally sagged far enough south amid the polar jet and
it has finally set the former into motion. As the southernmost
Pacific low continues to make landfall in southern CA a stream of
mid to high level moisture will be drawn ahead of it into AZ and
Storms have already begun blossoming this afternoon courtesy of this
mid level moisture, but sub-cloud layer air remains dessicated,
leaving much of the showers and thunderstorms as virga or dry.
Farther east, the higher dewpoints that sloshed back into the
eastern plains this morning have been mixing back eastward this
afternoon, but again a few high-based storms have redeveloped
along/near the central mountain chain. This activity near the
central mountain chain will fizzle this evening while the western
third of the forecast area continues to observe a slow increase in
coverage of storms, some slowly turning more efficient at getting
rainfall to the ground overnight.
By Saturday morning the southernmost Pacific low will be crossing
the lower Colorado River basin and southern NV as a vigorous
negatively tilted shortwave trough. The axis of mid level moisture
ahead of it will expand slightly and make a small shift eastward,
keeping the western two-thirds of NM under isolated to scattered
showers and thunderstorm with a higher concentration in the
northwestern corner of the state. The focus will shift more toward
the northern mountains of NM and more-so into CO during the mid to
late part of Saturday, and throughout Saturday the relatively high-
based character of showers/storms and their fast movement will limit
measurable rainfall. Temperatures will undergo a couple to a few
degrees of cooling across the entire forecast area Saturday, but
will still be several degrees above average in the eastern plains.
The other concern will be the strong winds due to the increased
gradient aloft and at the surface with deep vertical mixing
expected. A high wind watch will be issued for the I-25 corridor of
northeast NM, and several wind advisories will likely be added for
surrounding zones by subsequent shifts. 52
LONG TERM...(SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY)...
A deep longwave trough will slowly move across the Intermountain
West through the weekend. As the Pacific system advances, a
tightening 500mb height gradient will position itself over the Land
of Enchantment, strengthening winds aloft and injecting a drier air
mass. Surface cyclogensis develops each afternoon lee of the Rockies
Sunday and Monday. The combination of a tightening pressure gradient
and strong winds aloft will create breezy to locally windy
conditions across NM Sunday and Monday along with single digit
relative humidities, increasing fire weather concerns. More
information can be found in the fire weather discussion. The base of
the trough pushes towards NM on Monday. By Monday night, a Pacific
front will slide through the state bringing cooler temperatures in
its wake. Moving into Tuesday, the flow aloft becomes more zonal with
temperatures below normal. An upper level high begins to build over
northern Old Mexico on Wednesday, with winds beginning to relax.
Models begin to hint at mid to low level return flow by midweek, with
the ECMWF being the least aggressive, keeping dry air situated over
the state. Chances of showers and thunderstorms increase on
Thursday/Friday, but the timing and intensity will be dependent on
the orientation of the high and the quality of moisture return. The
GFS has had little commitment in terms of PWATs from run to run and
there is little agreement between the models on coverage and
intensity, reducing confidence in precipitation potential. 12/46
Through the evening, concerns with dry thunderstorms will loom,
especially over the western third of counties and also along and
near the central mountain chain where new cloud-to-ground lightning
ignitions will be possible.
Dry lightning will continue to be a threat in western and central NM
into Saturday, especially near and south of I-40 where storms will
be less efficient at producing measurable rainfall. The concerns for
strong winds will also be present over much of central and northern
NM, however low humidity will be most prevalent in western parts of
the forecast area. Confidence was high enough to convert the Fire Wx
Watch to a Warning for Saturday, and there is still potential for a
couple to a few hours of critical conditions in the east central
plains, but Haines indices are modeled to be more moderate there.
The stretch from Sunday into Monday will also be plagued with
critical fire weather potential. At this point Sunday appears to be
the most obvious and widespread candidate, so a watch will be issued
for the highest confidence zones where strong winds will be
juxtaposed with low humidity, warm temperatures, and deep mixing.
Windy conditions will not relent on Monday as the next disturbance
aloft treks north of the Four Corners. Temperatures will be cooling
a few more degrees Monday, but temperatures will likely still be too
warm to mitigate the critical threat much.
The cooling trend will continue into Tuesday as a northwesterly flow
regime brings another cold front into NM. Gusty conditions and low
humidity will accompany, but overall conditions will be more stable
in a pattern that typically does not lend itself to fire weather
growth. Thereafter the arrival of a building ridge of high pressure
should offer a respite from the strong winds. 52
Red Flag Warning from 1 PM to 8 PM MDT Saturday for the following
Fire Weather Watch from Sunday morning through Sunday evening for
the following zones... NMZ101>105-107-108.
High Wind Watch from Saturday afternoon through Saturday evening
for the following zones... NMZ227>229.
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