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Winter to the North; Red Flags to the South

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The Albuquerque metro area can expect a slightly above-normal high temperature of 53 under partly sunny, partly cloudy skies today, with a 20 percent chance of isolated showers after 11 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

But look to the north and west for a winter weather advisory, in effect for the San Juan Mountains near the Colorado border from noon today to 6 a.m. Friday, with possible snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches below 7,500 feet and 3 to 6 inches above 7,500 feet.

Snow could cause travel difficulties on highways 64 and 84 between Tierra Amarilla, Chama and Dulce, as well as N.M. 17 between Chama and Cumbres Pass, the weather service said.

The slow-moving Pacific storm currently over Arizona will then move eastward across the Sangre de Cristo Mountains later today, then expand into the northeast plains overnight and into Friday morning, according to the advisory, which is in effect for the Sangre de Cristos from noon today to 6 p.m. Friday.

Cold air will plunge south as the storm moves east, bringing north winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts to 40 mph, developing behind the cold front, the weather service said.

Meanwhile, to our south, a red flag warning will be in effect from noon to 8 p.m. today thanks to strong winds and low humidities in southwest and south-central New Mexico and into far west Texas.

A red flag warning means that critical weather conditions are either occurring now or will be present shortly, meaning any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly, the weather service said. Outdoor burning is discouraged.

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