FXUS65 KPUB 250526

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Pueblo CO
1026 PM MST Sat Feb 24 2024


- Red Flag warning remain in effect for Huerfano county region
  til late afternoon.

- Red Flag warning issued for tomorrow for most of plains.

- Snow will begin over the ContDvd tomorrow night, then spread
  over all of the higher terrain on Monday. High snow amounts
  and blowing snow expected for the eastern San Juans and
  Sawatch Range.

- Winds will increase out of the southwest by early morning on
  Monday. High Wind criteria will be likely for much of the SE
  plains through early Monday evening.

- Critical (and possibly extreme) fire weather conditions are
  expected to be widespread over much of the plains Monday
  afternoon through early evening.

- Snow will continue over the higher terrain into Tuesday, with
  snow becoming possible over the plains by later in the
  afternoon through early Monday morning, especially for the
  Palmer Divide and southern I-25 corridor.


Issued at 355 PM MST Sat Feb 24 2024


A very nice day over the region at 2 pm. Temperatures were in the
60s across the plains and mid 40s larger valleys. Except for some
high wispy cirrus clouds, skies were clear. The only location where
persistent red flag conditions were ongoing were across the Huerfano
county region (Walsenburg area).

Rest of Today through tonight...

Gusty winds will continue over the lower elevations of Huerfano
county prior to sunset then decrease, however the winds overall will
remain steady from a general westerly component across a good part of
the region tonight, especially at mountain tops and over the greater
I-25 corridor region. This should allow temps to keep up tonight
with lows only reaching into the 35 to 40F range along the
mtns/plains interface and over the greater Raton Mesa region. Over
the remainder of the plains temps will fall into the upper 20s. Over
the higher terrain, the mtns will be in the teens while valleys will
be in the 15 to 25F range. It is expected to remain dry tonight with
passing cirrus.


Winds start to ramp up after sunrise tomorrow across the mtn tops
but then transition downslope and become gusty along the I-25
corridor region by mid to late morning, with gusty winds pushing out
onto the plains by mid afternoon. With dry air already in place, RED
FLAG conditions will develop over most of the lower elevations as
the day progresses. It should be noted that meteorological red flag
conditions will develop over the greater southern mountain/Pikes
Peak region but fuels are not conducive for rapid fire spread per
per phone conversations with fire agencies.

Although it will be windy most areas tomorrow, it will be warm with
readings in the L70s most of the plains, and temps in the 50s
valleys. Overall it will be a mostly sunny day tomorrow although
high clouds will be on the increase by later in the day, especially
over the Contdvd region.


Issued at 355 PM MST Sat Feb 24 2024

Sunday night through Tuesday...

A major shortwave trough upstream that is tapped into a very strong
and well-pronounced subtropical jet is continuing to advance towards
the region. This will allow for very strong winds aloft to mix down
to the surface in the form of brute forcing, that will be coupled
with a tightening pressure gradient at the surface to produce very
strong and gusty winds at the surface towards the early morning
hours. Because of this, there will likely be widespread areas of
High Wind criteria over portions of the southern plains, as well as
the higher elevations of the Sangre de Cristo and Wet Mountains.
SREF model guidance suggests that these winds could begin over the
the lower elevations of southern portions of the I-25 corridor in
the vicinity of Walsenburg as early as 8 am due to gap flow. For the
higher elevations, this might be help off a little later towards
11am. There will be a short-lived break going into the later evening
hours on Monday and through early Tuesday, but then increase again
out of the west above criteria as stronger 700 mb level winds aloft
move overhead as the trough moves over and helps to reinforce the
strength of the winds. They should begin to weaken over the plains
by around 5 pm on Monday, but then will increase out of the west
with another High Wind Warning being needed again for Tuesday as pre-
frontal winds ahead of significant frontogenesis causes the pressure
gradient to tighten again. There is also some indication that winds
could be at High Wind criteria for a few hours over the Pikes Peak
Region (PPR) and portions of Teller County, yet there is not enough
confidence to add this to the High Wind Watch at this time, although
it may be necessary.

For the plains, there will also be significant downsloping and
drying out of the lower levels through adiabatic warming, which will
result in lower RH values and critical fire weather conditions
likely over much of the plains on Monday afternoon. Due to the very
strong wind gusts, with ensembles showing a probability of
exceedance of wind gusts greater than 60 mph over a large swath of
the southeastern plains being greater than 50 percent, which gives
higher confidence of there being extreme fire weather conditions
being possible for some of the areas of southern Pueblo, Otero,
Bent, and eastern Las Animas Counties. There will be a lull in the
winds Monday evening but then they will increase again on Tuesday
over most of the plains, with widespread critical to extreme fire
weather conditions being likely again, and both Prowers and Bent
Counties possibly needed to be added to the High Wind. Temperatures
for both Monday and Tuesday will be very warm over the plains, and
likely getting into the low 80s for some places. The timing of the
front moving through on Tuesday afternoon could be quicker given the
strong frontogenesis and the fact that the trough looks to deepen a
bit as this moves over the region and causes the cold air advection
to be accelerated, which will cool off the plains rapidly going into
the evening hours on Tuesday.

In addition to very strong winds across the higher elevations, there
will also be snow beginning by later in the evening on Sunday, and
this will continue to increase going into Monday through Tuesday,
especially over the eastern San Juan and Sawatch Mountains, where
there could be heavy snowfall at times, especially over the
southwestern facing slopes. These locations will likely need a
Winter Storm Warning, which is why the Winter Storm Watch has been
issued, due to snowfall amounts exceeding 2 feet in some areas, and
very strong and damaging winds with blowing snow being likely. The
Mosquito Mountains may also needed to be included in a Winter Storm
Warning on Tuesday, and the La Garitas will likely need an advisory.
Lesser amounts are anticipated for the Sangre de Cristo Mountains,
given the orientation of the trough. Snow will be possible over the
Palmer Divide by later in the evening on Tuesday, and then move
southward with a rain/snow mix over the plains, and then by late
Tuesday over portions of the southern I-25 corridor/Raton Mesa,
and this will continue to taper off Tuesday night.

Wednesday through Friday...

The ridge will build back in behind the exiting trough with high
pressure conditions returning and warming up. Ensembles show that
the ridge will remain over the area throughout the rest of the
forecast period, although there could be another significant trough
moving in just past the forecast period going into next weekend.


Issued at 1025 PM MST Sat Feb 24 2024

KCOS, KPUB, and KALS: VFR conditions are expected over the next 24
hours. Winds will be the main impactful weather condition through
tomorrow. Winds overnight will remain relatively light, around and
less than 10 knots for all three TAF sites. Then throughout the
morning and into the afternoon, winds will increase area wide, with
peak gusty conditions during the afternoon hours. Given the gusty
winds, pockets of hazy conditions will be possible, though wide
spread blowing dust is not anticipated at this time. Winds will
slowly lessen throughout the evening, with the slowest decrease in
winds expected for KPUB. Otherwise, dry conditions, with mostly high
level clouds, are expected through the this TAF period.


Winter Storm Watch from late Sunday night through Tuesday
evening for COZ060-068.
High Wind Watch from Monday morning through Tuesday evening
for COZ072>075-079-080.
Red Flag Warning from 11 AM to 6 PM MST Sunday for COZ226>233-
Fire Weather Watch from Monday morning through Monday
afternoon for COZ227>237.
High Wind Watch from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon
for COZ086>088-093-094-097.




NWS PUB Office Area Forecast Discussion