Surface frontal boundaries moving south and west across the eastern plains of New Mexico are a welcome sight of moisture return to the area in many cases. These boundaries are well known for producing strong east winds in the Rio Grande Valley as they surge west through gaps in the central mountain chain. Timing onset of these gusty winds can be a challenge for the aviation forecaster producing a terminal aerodrome forecast at KABQ due to the low density of surface observations across much of eastern NM. The animation below is an interesting case of how the surface boundary was well represented by the hybrid water vapor imagery. The SPoRT default color curve was altered in AWIPS to a RAMSDIS color curve. One can clearly see the sharp surface boundary pushing west toward KABQ May 14, 2011 at 0515 UTC. This boundary represents a secondary surge of moisture into the Rio Grande Valley, hence another uptick in east wind intensity. By overlaying the distance speed tool in AWIPS one can better anticipate this secondary surge of stronger winds.
Surface observations at KABQ were generally east southeast at 20 knots through roughly 07 UTC. As the secondary boundary neared the station the wind shifted to the more traditional east direction with sustained winds near 25 knots and gusts to 32 knots. The aviation warning criteria for KABQ is 35 knots so this was a close one. The following two images are the base velocity from KABX valid at 0608 UTC and 0833 UTC from the NCDC archive. Note the difference is east wind strength before and after the boundary passage.