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FXUS65 KABQ 231742 AAB

Area Forecast Discussion...UPDATED
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
1142 AM MDT Wed Oct 23 2019

VFR conditions prevail, but deterioration is forecast overnight into
Thursday morning behind a strong cold front with potential for more
significant aviation weather-related impacts across eastern NM. In
particular, IFR conditions are likely at KLVS in snow with potential
for short-lived LIFR conditions. MVFR conditions are more likely at
KSAF and KTCC, with a change over from rain to snow at KTCC. MVFR
conditions in rain are less likely at KROW Thursday morning, but
confidence was high enough to include in a TEMPO group. The front
will result in an east canyon/gap wind at KABQ overnight, but gusts
are expected to remain below aviation weather warning criteria.
Otherwise, VFR conditions are forecast to persist across much of
western NM.



.PREV DISCUSSION...215 AM MDT Wed Oct 23 2019...

Enjoy one more day of pleasant weather over New Mexico today as an
early winter visit arrives through eastern New Mexico late tonight 
through Thursday. Snowfall will begin at Raton Pass late this
evening, spreading through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and
northeastern New Mexico through Thursday morning. Snowfall
accumulations of 3 to 9 inches are forecast over the Sangre de Cristo
Mountains with higher amounts of up to a foot likely impacting travel
through Raton Pass. Lesser amounts of 1 to 4 inches will also likely
impact travel along I-25 from Las Vegas to Raton. Very cold 
temperatures with struggle to reach the 40s through the east. 
Meanwhile, central and western New Mexico to include Santa Fe and 
Albuquerque will likely miss out on much if any precipitation and 
only see a drop in temperatures Thursday. A warming trend returns 
Friday to at least Saturday. 


Today...One more day of fairly tranquil weather with relaxing NW 
flow aloft. Daytime highs will climb to near normal over northern NM 
and several degrees above normal south of I-40. The leading edge of a
backdoor front will bring a NE wind shift into far northeastern NM, 
but the switch to wintry weather won't arrive until tonight. 

Tonight/Thursday...The season's first significant winter storm system
will arrive tonight into northeastern NM, first via a reinforcing 
backdoor cold front bringing a sharp drop in temperatures overnight. 
As an upper-level trough digs down the inter-mountain west, snowfall
will begin at the Raton Pass area late tonight increasing in 
intensity into Thursday morning. As the trough axis reaches over the
San Juan Mtn Range sfc upslope flow behind the backdoor cold front 
will interact with the forcing aloft to drive snow over the Sangre de
Cristo Mountains after midnight through Thursday morning. Snowfall 
accumulations here will range from 3"-6" over the southern Sangres 
and 4"-9" over the northern Sangres, with locally higher amounts up 
to a foot over Raton Pass. Lesser amounts of 1"-4" will likely 
impact travel along the I-25 corridor from Las Vegas to Raton. The 
trough axis will move through central NM during the day as the 
backdoor cold front will dive through eastern NM and to or just west
of the central mtn chain. An east canyon gap wind is likely at Santa
Fe and ABQ but any wintry precipitation will be hard to come by any 
further south than I-40. A light dusting to an inch of snow is 
possible over the Jemez and Tusas Mtns as the stronger backdoor push
just isn't expected to get that far west. Winter Weather Advisories 
will be issued for the Sangres and adjacent high plains and Union 
County with a Winter Storm Warning for Raton Pass and Johnson/Bartlett

Temperature wise, daytime highs across eastern NM will struggle to
reach 40 with long-duration sub-freezing temperatures likely for
Raton to Capulin/Des Moines starting Wed night and going until Fri
morning. 700mb Ts will be well below freezing -6 to -9C even during 
the day suggesting evaporative cooling. So although daytime highs 
will reach above 40 through the Canadian River Basin through eastern 
San Miguel and Quay Counties and areas south of there, precipitation 
will likely be a rain-snow mix favoring snow melting on the ground. 

Long Range...As the ECMWF has trended to a more progressive track for
the Thursday system and the GFS continues to hold the system as a
trough through the TX/OK Panhandles, have elected to go with an
earlier ending for precipitation over eastern NM Fri morning. Morning
lows Fri will likely be the coldest of the forecast period with near
zero possible at Angel Fire and single digits at Raton to Springer.
Places that haven't yet seen their season-ending freeze (parts of
ABQ, Socorro, and Roswell) will likely see it Fri morning.
Temperatures trend back up through at least Sat, but then models go
right back into inconsistencies by Sun. The GFS shows another quick-
hitting storm with similar yet less extensive impacts on Sun, while
the ECMWF continues to show a more amplified jet pattern and develops
the trough into a closed low that moves over CA and delays the onset
of any sensible weather impacts until Mon. Needless to say, Sun and
beyond looks up in the air for now. 



Dry and warmer conditions are forecast today with high temperatures 
meeting or slightly exceeding normal and afternoon humidity 
plummeting to near 15 percent or less in most of the forecast area. 
Moderately breezy conditions will develop this afternoon with the 
strongest gusts expected in northwestern to central high terrain 
areas, but critical wind speeds are not anticipated. It should also 
be noted, a wind shift will also be observed in northeastern NM 
ahead of a stronger cold front. Overall smoke ventilation rates will 
improve slightly today, but it will still be mid to late afternoon 
before mixing heights rise high enough to support decent dispersion.

Into tonight, a sudden pattern shift will begin unfolding and this 
will carry over to Thursday as the deep trough of low pressure aloft 
sags southeastward with an unseasonably strong cold front associated 
with it. While windy conditions will cover much of eastern NM as the 
cold front invades Thursday morning, a gusty canyon/gap wind will 
also surge into central valleys. Despite the windy conditions, the 
cooler air statewide and precipitation over north central to 
northeastern NM will alleviate any threat for critical fire weather 
conditions. However, very low afternoon RH is still anticipated in 
far western zones Thursday afternoon. Friday will be characterized 
by more tranquil conditions, but chilly temperatures. And just as 
temperatures begin to rebound Saturday, another cold front is 
forecast to impact NM Sunday into Monday. Gusty winds could briefly 
precede and accompany the Sunday front, but otherwise no blatant 
critical fire weather threats appear.



Winter Weather Advisory from midnight tonight to 6 PM MDT Thursday 
for the following zones... NMZ213>215-228>230.

Winter Storm Warning from 9 PM this evening to 6 PM MDT Thursday 
for the following zones... NMZ227.


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