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Area Forecast Discussion (AFD)

Issued by Albuquerque, NM (ABQ)

                            
000
FXUS65 KABQ 191158
AFDABQ

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
458 AM MST Tue Feb 19 2019

.AVIATION...
12Z TAF CYCLE
As an upper low moves slowly eastward across Arizona today, bands of
light to moderate snow will spread across western and central New 
Mexico north of I-40 with light snow to the south of I-40. IFR to 
low MVFR conditions can be expected across these areas with mountain 
obscurations through late this afternoon and early evening. Eastern 
New Mexico will see weaker bands of light snow with IFR conditions 
improving to MVFR during the mid afternoon hours. Gap winds through 
the canyons to the east of Albuquerque and Santa Fe metro areas will 
gust to between 25 and 30 knots through mid afternoon. Ceilings will 
lift to the VFR category by mid evening tonight across the entire 
area.

28

&&

.PREV DISCUSSION...340 AM MST Tue Feb 19 2019...
.SYNOPSIS...
A winter storm will move across the state today into this evening, 
bringing more accumulating snow, continued very cold temperatures and
some significant travel impacts. Look for some improvement 
Wednesday, although temperatures will continue below normal. A second  
winter storm will impact the area early Friday through early 
Saturday, bringing another round of accumulating snow and strong 
winds to the region. Snow may begin as early as Thursday across
far western portions of the state. A cold airmass will be left in 
the wake of the departing system Saturday through Monday, with below 
normal temperatures persisting. 

&&

.DISCUSSION...
Analyzed 00Z upper air data placed the 540dam 500mb upper low over 
far northwest Arizona, with impressively cold temperature aloft 
noted. At 500mb,-35C showed up over Las Vegas(NV), which is the 
coldest 500mb temp so far this season (from memory) across the Desert
Southwest. The combination of this very cold upper low on approach 
and low level upslope flow behind the backdoor front is resulting in 
a band of snow from near Cuba south to near Datil, which is on the 
uptrend and progressing east toward the Rio Grande Valley. Some of 
the snow totals previously forecast may be a little over-cooked, but 
significant impacts are still anticipated due to the very cold 
airmass in place. The Albuquerque and Santa Fe Metros will be 
impacted by moderate to occasional heavy snow during the morning 
commute, which will likely persist through the morning hours. Will 
let the warnings and advisories ride as-is for now, but a few zones 
may need to be extended into the evening hours. Look for significant 
improvement Wednesday in the wake of the departing upper low/trough, 
but daytime temperatures will still be 10-20 degrees below normal. 

The second winter storm of the week will begin impacting western New
Mexico Thursday and will pass over Friday into early Saturday. This
system will be very similar to the first in terms of track and
forecast pressure heights, but will be different in two notable ways
in that it will not be preceded by a backdoor cold front and will
have a higher PWAT atmosphere to work with. Both the 00Z GFS and
ECMWF crank-out more qpf than the early week system across western
and central New Mexico. Additionally, stronger winds will be
associated with this system and will be very noticable on the
backside of the trough across eastern NM early Saturday. Below 
normal temperatures will prevail through the weekend across much of 
the area, with snow on the ground making for very cold morning lows.

11

&&

.FIRE WEATHER...
A deep upper level trough over south central Arizona this morning 
will move northeast across central and northern New Mexico today and 
across eastern Colorado and the western high plains of Kansas 
tonight. Temperatures will be cold enough for snow to fall across 
the entire area with the highest snowfall totals in the central and 
northern mountains. An additional 6 to 10 inches will be possible 
across the higher peaks in the northern and central mountains. 
Strong east to southeast canyon gap winds in the Albuquerque and 
Santa Fe metro areas will diminish early this afternoon. A Pacific 
cold front following the trough passage will produce breezy 
northwest winds across much of western New Mexico this afternoon 
with gusts to 25 to 30 mph in the southwest mountains. High 
temperatures today will be 20 to 30 degrees below normal, and 
ventilation rates will be fair to good across western New Mexico and 
poor to fair across central and eastern portions of the state. 

Drier west to southwest flow aloft on Wednesday will bring some 
moderation in temperatures with temperatures 15 to 25 below normal 
in the western half of the state and 10 to 20 below normal to the 
east. Isolated snow showers are expected across the northern 
mountains Wednesday. Ventilation rates will improve across much of 
the region Wednesday with widespread fair to good conditions, except 
across the northwest highlands and northwest mountains, where poor 
ventilation rates will continue. 

Another strong Pacific storm will track eastward across the 
Southwest late Thursday through Saturday morning. Light to moderate 
snow will spread across the region from west to east Thursday 
through Saturday morning with good chances of wetting precipitation 
from the central mountains westward. Ventilation rates are expected 
to be good to excellent across the region on Thursday. Ventilation 
rates on Friday will be fair to poor across western and north 
central New Mexico and good to excellent across the rest of the 
area. 

28

&&

.ABQ WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
Winter Weather Advisory until 5 PM MST this afternoon for the 
following zones... NMZ508-509-524-533-534-537-539.

Winter Storm Warning until 5 PM MST this afternoon for the 
following zones... NMZ501>507-510>519-521>523-527>532.

&&

$$