A powerful upper level disturbance will approach New Mexico late today, bringing in a fast-moving cold front. Strong winds will take shape late this afternoon and peak as the cold front moves in from the north and northwest tonight.
Occasional wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph will be common in the vicinity of the cold front, and some higher mountain peaks of central and southern New Mexico could observe a few gusts close to 70 mph. The very strong winds will create difficult driving conditions, and could cause damage to utility poles, roof tops, and any frail structures. Strong north to northwest winds are expected across the eastern plains late this evening through Thursday afternoon, as a backdoor cold front moves southward across the area. Wind gusts along and behind the backdoor cold front will gust to between 50 and 60 mph.
The National Weather Service in Albuquerque has issued a High Wind Warning, which is in effect 2 p.m. today to 8 a.m. Thursday. The High Wind Watch is no longer in effect.
- LOCATION…Portions of western and central New Mexico, including the Northwest Highlands, West Central Mountains, West Central Highlands, Southwest Mountains, Jemez Mountains, Middle Rio Grande Valley/Albuquerque Metro Area, Sandia/Manzano Mountains, Estancia Valley-Central Highlands, South Central Highlands, South Central Mountains, Eastern Lincoln County, Southwest Chaves County.
- WINDS…Sustained at 35 to 45 mph from the northwest with occasional gusts to 60 mph. Gusts could even approach 70 mph in some high terrain areas of New Mexico.
- TIMING…Winds will increase late this afternoon in northwestern and west central New Mexico as a cold front slides into the area. Strong winds will then spread into central and south central areas of the state tonight. Winds will likely reach peak intensity during the frontal passage, and will undergo significant weakening Thursday morning.
- VISIBILITY…Blowing dust could reduce visibility to less than 3 miles at times.
- LOCAL IMPACTS…Strong cross winds are expected on southwest- to-northeast oriented roads, and dangerous driving conditions are anticipated, especially for high profile vehicles. Gusts in excess of 60 mph could produce damage to some trees and structures.
- AFFECTED AREAS: MIDDLE RIO GRANDE VALLEY/ALBUQUERQUE METRO AREA … SANDIA/MANZANO MOUNTAINS … JEMEZ MOUNTAINS … SOUTHWEST MOUNTAINS … ESTANCIA VALLEY … NORTHWEST HIGHLANDS … SOUTHWEST CHAVES COUNTY … SOUTH CENTRAL MOUNTAINS … SOUTH CENTRAL HIGHLANDS … WEST CENTRAL HIGHLANDS … EASTERN LINCOLN COUNTY … CENTRAL HIGHLANDS … WEST CENTRAL MOUNTAINS
Remember, A High Wind Warning means damaging winds are imminent or highly likely. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.