FXUS65 KABQ 181220 AAA

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
520 AM MST Fri Jan 18 2019

An upper level trough and gusty Pacific cold front crossing from the
northwest will produce rain and snow with MVFR and IFR conditions, as
well as mountain obscurations, mainly from the east slopes of the
central mountain chain westward this morning. There will be
accumulating snow above 6500 feet and mainly north of Highway 60.
During the afternoon the focus for precipitation will shift to the
central mountain chain, east central and northeast areas as a gusty
back door cold front plunges southwestward through the eastern
plains. The snow level will lift above 7000 feet in the afternoon,
then fall to around 5000 feet in the evening as precip lingers across
the east. A strong jet stream will steer over the state today with
breezy to windy conditions and gusts generally in the 40-50 kt range.
Stronger gusts should be felt along and east of the central and
south central mountains, and in the southwest mountains.



.PREV DISCUSSION...334 AM MST Fri Jan 18 2019...
Unsettled weather is quickly returning to New Mexico today with
areas of rain, snow, and strong to damaging winds as a stout trough
of low pressure swings over the state. Snow will be focused over the
northern mountains of New Mexico with additional batches of rain and
snow working their way near and just south of the Interstate 40
corridor. Winds will strengthen through the day, especially over
central to southeastern New Mexico where gusts may exceed 55 to 65
mph. Rain and snow will shift toward northeastern New Mexico this
evening with winds gradually decreasing into the night. Colder
temperatures will also spill into New Mexico today, running slightly
below average in the western half of the state this afternoon. By
Saturday, clear skies and much more tranquil conditions are expected
with temperatures at or just slightly below normal. Temperatures will
gain a few to several more degrees on Sunday. Unfortunately for much
of northern and central New Mexico, a blanket of high clouds may
obstruct view of the lunar eclipse Sunday evening. Another weather
disturbance and associated cold front will then drop into New Mexico
late Monday into Tuesday, bringing just a little precipitation but
another round of very strong winds.


Deep trough aloft is dropping over the Four Corners, spreading
batches of rain and snow into NM early this morning. In addition, a
stout mid level jet is rounding the base of this trough, and ridge
tops and mountain peaks are observing periodic gusts as the jet
noses its way into the state. The precipitation will continue over
northwestern to north central areas through the morning, racking up a
couple to a few inches in the mountains, and even closer to a foot
in the very high peaks of the Tusas and perhaps on isolated peaks of
the Sangres.

The Pacific front will also sweep in from the west this morning,
inducing banded precipitation over west central to central areas. A
few brief showers/bands may survive south of Interstate 40, but the
bigger concern there will be winds today. Wind highlights appear to
be in fairly good shape, and only minor tweaks are being made with
this forecast package, keeping the strongest gusts primarily focused
over central to south central and southeastern NM. Have opted not to
expand/extend the wind advisories into the far northeast for this
evening when the back door segment of the front plows in, but this
will need to be monitored further by the day/evening shifts.
Precipitation should fully diminish and exit NM by midnight tonight.

The weather pattern for Saturday and Sunday will be much more
subdued with a ridge of high pressure aloft translating east over NM.
Temperatures will not necessarily be cold on Saturday, but the
residual cooling effects of today's front will still be at work.
Readings will rebound nicely on Sunday, boosting several degrees
above average (especially in the eastern plains).

On Monday, the pattern will begin turning again as the flow aloft quickly
buckles. Another Pacific trough will take a fairly similar trajectory
to today's disturbance, again dropping southeastward into NM late in
the day Monday and into Tuesday. This trough might host colder
temperatures, as current 500 mb prognoses indicate a synoptic cold
pool aloft down to -31 C over CO, modifying slightly as it plunges
into NM Tuesday. Strong winds will accompany this feature too, and
more wind advisories and perhaps high wind watches/warnings may be
warranted, given that current 700 mb wind speed projections are
breaching 50 to 60 kt for Monday afternoon. At this point,
precipitation appears to be a bit of a side bar or afterthought late
Monday into Tuesday with minimal QPF not posing as much of an impact
as the colder temperatures and windy conditions.

Thereafter, the northwest flow will be stubborn to leave NM as a
high amplitude ridge arches its way over the west coast of the ConUS.
While no dramatic short waves or perturbations are showing up through
the end of next week, the meridional component to the flow aloft will
make it difficult to observe any appreciable warming trend.



An upper level trough will cross the northern and central Rockies
today and tonight with strong winds and accumulating precipitation.
With the jet stream crossing central and southern areas, and a ~999
mb surface low in the TX panhandle, gusts from 40 to 50 mph will be
common across the forecast area today. Areas of gusts up to 65 mph
are expected on the West Central Highlands, Sandia/Manzano and
Gallinas Mountains, and East Central Plains. Wetting rain and snow
will favor north central, northwest and west central areas,
especially this morning when a Pacific cold front will migrate
through the region. Precipitation chances will increase across the
eastern plains with the arrival of a gusty back door cold front this
afternoon, then linger into the evening as the upper trough shifts
east of NM. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains will be favored for up to
9 inches of snow, with generally a few inches elsewhere mainly in
the mountains north of of I-40.

After near and below normal temperatures central and west today and
Saturday, readings will rebound above normal areawide on Sunday as a
weakening ridge of high pressure crosses from the west. Widespread
poor ventilation are expected Saturday and Sunday.

Another upper level trough will pass eastward over the central
Rockies Monday steering the jet stream overhead again. Windy
conditions are again expected with the strongest gusts potentially
reaching 60 mph along and east of the Sandia/Manzano and Gallinas
Mountains. Temperatures will begin to cool again with the arrival of
a Pacific cold front central and west, but readings across the east
will remain well above normal. With Haines in the 4 to 5 range, and
marginally critical humidities, there will be the potential for
localized red flag conditions on the east central plains during the
afternoon. Rain and snow showers are expected mainly across northern
areas, but wetting precip looks spotty at this time. Some precip and
cold temperatures could linger across the forecast area into Tuesday
as easterly upslope flow from a back door cold front persists.

A third upper level trough may impact the forecast area with
strengthening winds on Thursday.



Lower elevation rain and mountain snow showers will continue to
develop and expand across northwest and north central NM over the
next several hours as a shortwave trough slowly crosses the state. An
associated Pacific cold front will race from NW to SE during the
morning hours Friday. The final bout of precip with this system for
western areas will come along and just behind the front, where a
band of snow is expected. This band will become less intense as it
shifts south and east, perhaps resulting in little precip for KABQ.
Winds will also continue to increase throughout the morning hours
Friday, both ahead of and behind the front. Strong winds and mountain
waves have already been noted across northern NM. On Friday, northwest
to west winds of 25 to 40kt with gusts near 50kt are likely nearly
areawide by the afternoon. The strongest winds are expected south of
I-40. The winds will create areas of BLSN and the potential for LIFR
conditions. Much of the precip will diminish by 18Z, except across
the northern mtns. Late in the afternoon, the back door segment of
the cold front will slide into the NE Plains, and additional rain and
snow showers are likely.



High Wind Warning until 9 PM MST this evening for the following
zones... NMZ508-521>526-533>540.

Wind Advisory until 6 PM MST this evening for the following zones...

Winter Weather Advisory until 8 PM MST this evening for the
following zones... NMZ512>515.

Winter Weather Advisory until 5 PM MST this afternoon for the
following zones... NMZ502>504-511.

Winter Storm Warning until 5 PM MST this afternoon for the
following zones... NMZ510.


Back to Main Forecast Discussion Page