Strong Winds Will Usher in Colder Air into the Borderland
POSTED: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 12:07pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 4:56pm
A "Wind Advisory" has been issued from midnight until noon Wednesday for So.Dona Ana County and Western El Paso
Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 — I am doing my normal routine of analyzing the data for today’s weather forecast when I hear the winds pick up. My neighbor’s flag is blowing straight out and is pointing to the southeast, indicting a northwesterly wind. I then check the airport and surrounding weather stations current conditions and sure enough the winds are out of the west to northwest gusting over 30 mph. I like it when the weather is pretty much the same around the region that is nice, but somewhat rare, especially in El Paso with a mountain dividing the city. El Paso has many “microclimates” in different areas of town and different sides of the mountain. Today’s “Weather Talk” I take a closer look at the Borderland’s extended forecast for this week.
A “Wind Advisory” has been issued for Southern Dona Ana County/Mesilla Valley and Western El Paso County Including the cities of Las Cruces, Vado, Sunland Park, Downtown El Paso, West El Paso and the Upper Valley starting at midnight until noon Wednesday. The winds are expected to turn out of the east/northeast at around midnight as the cold front pushes in. The winds will be out of the East/Northeast at 20 to 35 mph with Western slope wind gusts of 45 mph or stronger. The strongest winds are expected from 2 to 4 A.M.. The winds will be dropping off around sunrise.
Let’s take a closer look at what is causing all this wind.
A shortwave upper level low pressure trough is tracking through just to our north. This is like a ditch in the atmosphere way above our heads. An upper level low is moving east out of Utah as a strong cold front pushes is plowing our way from the north and east.
There are some strong easterly winds associated with this front, especially along west slopes of the Franklin, Organ and Hueco Mountains overnight into early Wednesday morning. Temperatures are forecast to be some 15 to 20 degrees colder in the Borderland Wednesday afternoon. Break out the winter jackets! High temperatures in El Paso are expected to drop to 57º for El Paso and 54º for Las Cruces on Wednesday. Not as much of a drop from around Deming to the Arizona border. There may be enough up slope lift to produce some snow flurries along the east slopes of the Sacramento Mountains, probably not much accumulation.
A shift to upper level westerly winds will help temperatures recover for Thursday. The winds will pick up again late Friday ahead of the next weather system. An upper level wave will strengthen as another upper low moves into the region. This low is dropping out of Canada and is forecast to move into eastern New Mexico. This will allow the Borderland to get just the edge of a cold front sliding by to our north and east. There is the possibility of a few lowland rain showers to our east and some areas of light mountain snow in the Area Mountains. We can expect temperatures to cool about 5 to 7 degrees on Sunday.
I am now going take a weather photo of my neighbor’s flag whipping in the wind. We have many visitors in town for the Conference USA Basket Ball Tournament for Men’s and Women’s College Basketball is taking place at UTEP ( University of Texas at El Paso) over the next 4 days. They will get a taste of our Borderland “windy season” and some cold air on Wednesday. Temperatures will warm back up Thursday through Saturday, so they can get a taste of how lucky we have been compared to the rest of the country this winter. We can deal with the winds if we only cool off into the 50’s. Longer range computer forecast models have us in the upper 70’s by next Tuesday!