My Current Weather

Friday, October 23, 2020

Major Winter-Like Storm For NM Sunday Into Wednesday!

October 18, 2020.
Sierra Blanca Peak West Of Ruidoso, NM.

Major Winter Storm To Hammer Area!

Valid At 6 PM MDT.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

GFS 500 MB (18,000') Forecast.

Valid At 6 PM MDT.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

For days now the computer forecast models have been consistent in developing a Major Winter-like Storm over the Desert Southwest beginning Sunday and continuing into Wednesday. This mornings run of the European and the U.S. GFS models are still holding to their guns on this forecast. If anything they are forecasting a colder and wetter storm. 

The ECMWF is slower and further west with the very cold and strong closed mid-upper level low hanging it back over southwestern New Mexico around sunset Tuesday. The GFS is faster with the storm bringing it right on top of Carlsbad by sunset Tuesday. Historically these types of storms tend to slow down and hang back further west and south so the ECMWF may be the favored model to follow. 

Either way, current model forecast trends are calling for a classic setup to produce a Major Winter Storm over New Mexico and nearby areas Sunday into Wednesday.

For Southeastern New Mexico if the snowfall forecasts verify then the totals of 2" to 12+" would be the highest ever recorded in the month of October since climatological records were first kept locally in 1894. Not only is all-time record snowfall possible but all-time record cold low temperatures may be in the cards for the month of October if the models verify! This one has the potential to be historical and that is saying a lot for so early in the season.

Valid At 6 PM MDT Sunday.

Valid At 9 AM MDT Monday.

A very cold (for this time of the year) arctic cold front is forecast to backdoor southward and westward into northeastern New Mexico Sunday afternoon. It is then forecast to plow southward into Southeastern New Mexico Sunday evening. Depending upon how fast and how far south the front moves will be a key factor in Monday's high temperatures. A slower moving front would mean warmer than currently forecast temperatures for us on Monday. A faster-moving front would mean colder than currently forecast temperatures on Monday.

Valid At Midnight Monday Night.

Valid At 6 AM MDT Tuesday.

Valid At Noon MDT Tuesday.

Valid At 6 PM MDT Tuesday.

A wintry combination of rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow some of which may be heavy is forecast to impact the local area beginning Sunday night. Conditions should deteriorate with time going into Monday afternoon and Monday night into Tuesday. 

Current model forecasts are calling for the potential for a freezing rain (purple shades on the maps above) and sleet event (orange shades on the maps above) over parts of Southeastern New Mexico and parts of West Texas Monday into Tuesday. In combination with this freezing rain and sleet snow which could be heavy is also forecast to fall during this time frame.

With temperatures locally have been in the 90's for nearly the past month it will take some time for our local roads in the lower elevations to become problematic due to the ice, sleet, and snow. However, if the storm is stronger and colder than forecast then they will ice up faster with the potential for significant travel issues area-wide.

Valid Monday Into Wednesday At 6 AM MDT.

Valid Monday Into Wednesday At 6 AM MDT.

GFS Sleet Forecast.

Valid Monday Into Wednesday At 6 AM MDT.

Valid Monday Into Wednesday At 6 AM MDT.

Valid Monday Into Wednesday At 6 AM MDT.

Valid Monday Into Wednesday At 6 AM MDT.

ECMWF Snowfall Forecast.

Valid Monday Into Wednesday At 6 AM MDT.

Valid Monday Into Wednesday At 6 AM MDT.

Valid Monday Into Wednesday At 6 AM MDT.



GFS Low-Temperature Forecast.

Wednesday Morning.

First Freeze Tonight- Hard Killing Freeze Wednesday Morning.

Northern Lea County is forecast to have the first freeze of the season tonight into Saturday morning.

With the invasion of the arctic airmass Monday into Wednesday near-record to record low daytime, high temperatures will be possible locally Monday, Tuesday, and maybe Wednesday. Record low temperatures for the date will be possible Monday night and again Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. A hard killing freeze area-wide looks almost certain Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. 

Prepare Now For Winter To Make A Dramatic Return!

Make plans this weekend to prepare for a drastic change to our local weather beginning Sunday night. If you have animals or livestock and can prepare a shelter for them then this would be a good idea. All of you farmers and ranchers stock up on feed and be prepared to deal with severe winter weather conditions this next week especially the first to at least the middle part of the week. 

With the potential for freezing rain, sleet, and heavy snow damage to vegetation is likely to occur including tree leaves and tree limbs. Power lines and utility poles may also be damaged by the heavy wet snow and freezing rain. They may be some power outages due to the icing. Local and area roads will become extremely dangerous to travel upon especially Monday into Wednesday. Some roads may even become impassable or closed due to the heavy snow, drifting snow, and icy conditions.

Hunters and travelers should stay particularly alert to area forecasts Sunday into Wednesday. Conditions could and will likely change and in some cases, for the worse, it appears. Have backup contingency plans available for the possibility of road closures and becoming stuck in deep snows especially in the mountains and the eastern one-third of the state. 

The exact details of who gets what type of wintry precipitation and how much is still somewhat uncertain but overall this incoming storm looks to be one for the record books. I'll update you with additional blogs throughout this weekend into next week as conditions warrant.

Local National Weather Service Office Forecast Discussions.

FXUS64 KMAF 231943

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Midland/Odessa TX
243 PM CDT Fri Oct 23 2020


Temperatures are struggling to rise from the 50`s this afternoon
behind a strong cold front that moved through this morning. Gusty
winds will decrease through the evening before becoming light and
variable by morning. Skies may remain partly cloudy, but very dry
air should allow temperatures to drop significantly tonight with
most locations seeing their coldest night of the fall season so far.
Much of the Permian Basin and SE NM will be in the 30`s with a light
freeze possible across northern Lea County. With this being the
first freeze of the season, will issue a Freeze Warning for the
Tatum area.

High pressure moves off to the east Saturday and return flow will
help temperatures climb back to seasonal levels by afternoon. Sunday
will be interesting as we could potentially see record highs
ahead of a powerful, Arctic front. Models have slowed this front
down Sunday and have it near Lubbuck by late afternoon. This is
reasonable as these strong fronts fight diurnal heating and
pressure falls during the day. The front will then slam through
the area Sunday night with a sharp drop in temperatures. Many
locations north of I-20 could see their first freeze of the season
by Monday morning with temperatures struggling to warm during the
afternoon. At the same time, an upper trough will dig to our west
early next week transitioning flow aloft to the SW. This will
lead to a period of overrunning with much of the area socked in
with low clouds and light precipitation beginning Sunday night. As
mentioned above, northern portions of the area could drop below
freezing Monday morning which could lead to some light icing
concerns and travel issues. This would be mainly on elevated
surfaces, but this is something to prepare for.

Large scale lift increases significantly Tuesday into Wednesday
as the now cut-off upper low nears and moves across the region.
This will bring our best chance of widespread precipitation in
over a month. Most locations will see rain, but northern and
western areas could be cold enough Monday and Tuesday nights for
wintry precipitation. Forecast soundings indicate freezing rain
will be the primary precip type with some sleet and snow possibly
mixed in. While the ground is still warm, elevated surfaces,
fully leafed trees, and power lines could accumulate ice/snow and
cause issues. It is worth noting that some models show a
significant winter storm with heavy ice and snow accumulations. This
is several days out and we know it`s October, but you should
prepare now for at least very cold temperatures and possible
travel and societal impacts Monday through Wednesday.

The upper low lifts into the Plains later next week with
temperatures warming back to normal Thursday and Friday.

Albuquerque, New Mexico.
FXUS65 KABQ 232145

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM
345 PM MDT Fri Oct 23 2020

After a drastic cool down for the eastern half of the state today,
temperatures rebound tomorrow back into the upper 70s with generally
mid 70s across the central and western areas of the state. Winds will
increase tomorrow with gusty winds continuing into Sunday. Critical
fire weather conditions will be possible for the areas east of the
central mountains as well as the northern mountains into northeast
New Mexico. Given the drought conditions with the low humidity and
strong winds, simply it will not take much for a fire to grow quickly
if one starts. This weekend is a good time to prepare for the
upcoming winter storm expected late Sunday through Wednesday next
week. A strong trough will develop west of New Mexico and move across
the southern Rockies Monday through Wednesday. Expect winter impacts
with very cold temperatures, a mix of precipitation types from rain
to snow which will impact travel through the state. Depending upon
snow amounts, power outages will be a possibility.


Zonal winds aloft will amplify tonight as sfc low pressure lee of
the central mts deepens. This will lead to breezy to locally windy
conditions tomorrow, particularly across the high terrain of the
central mts and eastward. For this reason, issued a Wind Advisory
for the southern and east slopes of the Sangre de Cristo mts,
Central and Northeast Highlands, and eastern San Miguel county.
Temperatures Saturday afternoon will rebound, bringing highs 5 to 10
degrees above normal across the forecast area.

Water vapor imagery shows a weak upper low well of the coast of
California and a strong jet stream up over British Columbia headed
southeast. These features should phase together with a deepening
trough over the Great Basin. This storm system will then dig a little
farther south later Monday spreading a strong SW jet stream over
much of New Mexico. Meanwhile a strong cold front will push into the
state from the NE with temperature dropping below freezing by Monday
morning especially in the Sangre de Cristo Mtns and eastern Plains.
Hard freeze warnings will likely be needed for much of the state
Monday night into Tuesday.

Precipitation will start in the northern parts of the state through
the northern mountains Sunday night into Monday morning.
Precipitation then spreads across much of the state during the day
Monday as the jet stream increases and large scale QG lift increases.
The combination of Q-vector divergence and frontogenesis in 700mb-
600mb layers will allow for banded precipitation across central and
northern New Mexico. This analysis was mainly done with the 12Z GFS
but looking at the ECMWF/Canadian/ICON models, there was not much
difference with the GFS. The ECMWF produced quite a bit more snowfall
and the ICON given its resolution produce finer detailed banded
structures to the precip. So given the forcing, we really need to be
careful Monday night for the possibility of impactful winter banded
precip in which snowfall amounts could quickly increase. The lift in
these bands could lead to much higher snowfall rates than what is
forecast. And these bands are mesoscale in nature so nailing down the
exact location and timing will be difficult in the next couple of
days. Just realize there could be areas that get only 1-2 inches
while not far away areas get 9 inches. For now we are more
conservative with snowfall amounts through the end of the day
Wednesday but that will be re-evaluated in the coming days. For now
some of the higher mountain areas could push 12 inches of snow with
anywhere from 2 to 6 inches possible in some of the lower elevations.
Even the Rio Grande Valley could see 2 to 4 inches of snow during
this time. The good thing is that much of the state will see very
beneficial precipitation.

So when will this event end? Good question. There are still timing
differences in the models with the GFS faster, Canadian slower and
the ECMWF between those two. We lean more on the EC given it has been
more consistent with its evolution of this system so this means
precip could linger into Wednesday with wrap around precip in the
TROWEL as the system wraps up over E NM and W TX. Forecast will hold
onto precip through Wednesday to account for this scenario. The rest
of the week looks cold with below normal temperatures but an end to
the precipitation.

Impacts really depend upon where the snow fall stacks up the most but
travel will be greatly impeded by snow/ice. There could be a mix of
freezing rain/sleet in E NM Monday which could ice over roads and
exposed surfaces. It has been warm of late so that could limit how
much ice develops to begin but there will likely be a quick change
over to where surfaces will be cold enough for accumulating snow/ice.
Finally there could be power outages in the areas of higher snow so
preparations need to be made this weekend. This storm system could
catch people off guard especially those planning any outdoor
activities like hiking or hunting.


El Paso/Santa Teresa.
FXUS64 KEPZ 232149

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service El Paso TX/Santa Teresa NM
349 PM MDT Fri Oct 23 2020

Expect a return of above normal temperatures on Saturday and
Sunday, with breezy to windy afternoons. On Monday, a cold front
approaches the region, bringing us our first real shot of winter
over the first few days of the work week. Lowland rain showers
and mountain snow showers will be possible on Monday and Tuesday
(and possibly Wednesday), with much cooler temperatures to start
the week. As we go into the end of the week, expect dry conditions
and a warm up to near normal.


.SHORT TERM...Tonight and Saturday...
Westerly winds aloft will be increasing as gradients strengthen due
to slow amplification of western United States long wave trough.
Associated downslope winds will consequently support lee cyclone
formation over southeast Colorado by Saturday afternoon with
associated lee surface trough extending through eastern New Mexico.
This scenario will produce a deep westerly flow with transport of
warm dry dry air mass below 500 mb. Thus expect above normal
temperatures and more dry weather Saturday. High level Pacific
moisture advection will result in an increase in cirrus clouds late
tonight and Saturday. Surface winds will approach the breezy
category over much of the CWA during tomorrow afternoon.


.LONG TERM...Saturday night through Friday...
A lot to talk about in the long term, however there is still
uncertainty as we get into next week`s system due to model
differences, which I`ll go over. But the big take away is this:
after many (so many) days above normal this summer, we are finally
going get a quick jolt of winter starting Monday.

But first... Sunday. Expect warm and windy conditions. Upper
level zonal flow becomes southwesterly ahead of trough dropping
south from British Columbia. The aforementioned surface low will
drop into southeast NM by Sunday evening. The pressure gradient
won`t be overly strong, but another day of above normal
temperatures will promote deep mixing to ~625 mb, where 30+ knot
winds will mix down. At this time winds look to stay well below
advisory criteria, but expect windy conditions, with wind speeds
of 20-30 mph through the afternoon. High level moisture will
continue to flow into the region creating continued partly cloudy

Monday: Return of precip (!) with a cold front moving in bringing
cooler temps and a breezy afternoon. On Sunday night the upper
trough drops into Utah, helping a polar airmass to slide south
into the Plains from NE Canada. This airmass/cold front will
approach approach the Sacramento Mountains from the northeast,
where it will push into the Borderland by sunrise on Monday.
Models begin to differ here, causing uncertainty with this system
as we start this week. Depending on how far west the front makes
it, will determine the high temperatures for Monday. The
deterministic EC places the front at peak heating down the Rio
Grande Valley, causing warmer high temperatures west, cooler east.
The GFS and NAM place the front further west, near the
Continental Divide. The takeaway from this is that Monday will be
cooler. Roughly 5-15 degrees below normal and 15-25 degrees cooler
than Sunday. Now let`s talk precipitation. We are having higher
confidence with precipitation starting early Monday morning
associated with an upper wave ahead of the aforementioned upper
trough. The extend of how far south the rain makes through the day
is still questionable, but at least the mountain zones should see
some rainfall on Monday.

Tuesday/Wednesday: Much cooler, with lowland rain and mountain snow (yes, I said
snow) chances. Tuesday will be the coldest day of the week,
Overnight Monday, the upper trough forms into a closed low and
drops into central Arizona, before pushing east directly over the
Borderland on Tuesday. This will place the region in an area of
strong dynamic forcing for ascent to allow for (potentially)
widespread lowland showers and mountain snowfall early Tuesday
morning, through the day. A reinforcing shot of the cold air will
move into the region, making Tuesday morning possibly have some
record- breaking low temperatures. As I said before, there are
still model differences, especially when it comes to
precipitation. The GFS and GEFS solutions trend quicker to move
the low through the region. And, it`s drier, meaning all
precipitation ends by midnight Tuesday. The EC and many of its
ensemble members are a slower solution, keeping the low over the
region a full 24 hours longer. This will contribute to higher QPF
amounts, and snow totals. And dare I say it... possibly a lowland
flurry or two, especially possible Wednesday morning if
precipitation continues. This means, our QPF and snow forecasts
are going to change a lot between now and Sunday.

After this system passes, we`ll warm, dry air moving back into the
region, moderating temperatures and keeping rain out of the
forecast for the end of the week.

The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!

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