Thursday, February 24, 2011

Potentially Dangerous High Wind/Blowing Dust/Fire Weather Event Sunday!

SW Winds 30-45G60 MPH This Afternoon & Friday!
SW-W Winds 55-75G110 MPH Sunday!

W Winds 35-45G65 MPH!
Wide Spread Areas Of Blowing Dust!

W Winds Sustained 40G70 MPH Sacramento Mtn's Sunday!

Critically Dangerous Fire Weather Conditions Today Into Saturday!
Extremely Critically Dangerous Fire Weather Conditions Sunday!

Mother Nature is going to go on a rampage this weekend as a cold, and very strong upper-level storm sweeps across southern New Mexico on Sunday. This powerhouse of a storm will have incredibly strong mid/upper-level winds associated with it, that will combine with a very tight surface pressure gradient, and an approaching Pacific Cold Front, to produce a Potentially Dangerous High Wind/Blowing Dust/Fire Weather Event across SE NM Sunday.

The latest computer model forecasts indicate that the winds at 850 MB/5,000’ MSL on Sunday, are forecast to be in the neighborhood of 45-55 knots/52-63 mph range. At 700 MB/10,000’ MSL, these winds are forecast to be in the neighborhood of 55-70 knots/63-81 mph range. At 500 MB/18,000’ MSL, these winds are forecast to be in the 110-120 kts/115-140 mph range. At the Jet Stream Level or 250 MB/34,000’ MSL, these winds are forecast to be screaming overhead in the 150+ kt/175+ mph range.

These forecast winds aloft do not reach these types of speeds very often here in SE NM, but when they do, there is always an extreme high wind event associated with them. These very high winds aloft will mix down to the surface on Sunday here in SE NM, as the upper-level storm moves directly overhead, and the Pacific Cold Front moves eastward across the area Sunday afternoon.

These type of winds can and do cause structural damage. Some trees and tree limbs may be blown down, some power lines and other type of cables may be blown down. There may also be some roof damage across the area, and some west facing windows may be blown out. Irrigation sprinklers across the area will be subject to being blown away. Small sheds, barns, and other outbuildings may suffer damage in these high winds.

This afternoon’s forecast discussion from the Midland National Weather Service Office, is calling for southwesterly to westerly winds here on the surface in SE NM, to easily reach sustained speeds of 35-45 mph, with gusts of around 65 mph on Sunday. The forecasters are calling for the southwesterly to westerly winds in the Guadalupe Mountains to be sustained at around 55-75 mph, with gusts in the neighborhood of 110 mph.

Personally, I think that there is a good chance that we could even see these wind gusts in the 65-75 mph gust range, if not higher in a few spots, especially near the foothills and mountains. This event has the potential to be one for the record books.

With these types of winds, and as dry as it is, then we can also expect to see widespread areas of blowing dust. Sudden drops in the visibility down to near zero with little or no advanced warning will be possible across the area. This will be especially true near open, exposed, or freshly plowed farmlands, fields, lots and construction sites. There is the potential for some road closures in the local area due to the extreme winds and blowing dust.

Needless to say that the Fire Danger across the area will be extreme! It is going to continue to be high for the rest of today, tomorrow, and Saturday as well. But Sunday just looks downright scary folks!

The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!
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