ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — By the end of the weekend, just about everyone across New Mexico will have experienced several different types of weather – rain, freezing rain, fog, sleet and snow, National Weather Service meteorologists say.
A storm system arriving from Southern California interacting with a cold front entering eastern New Mexico will produce a wide variety of winter weather today through Saturday, ranging from snow and rain across western New Mexico to a more wintry mix with freezing rain and ice pellets likely for the southeast portion of the state.
A chance of rain is in the Albuquerque metro forecast today, with high temperatures reaching only the mid-40s.
A reinforcing shot of cold air tonight could turn precipitation over to snow in north and central New Mexico, including the metro area, where temperatures will drop to around freezing.
And that could cause some traffic difficulties, said Sharon Sullivan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.
“Friday night, we’re expecting a low of 32 degrees – right on the border between rain and snow,” Sullivan said. “Drivers should be cautious.”
Valley rain showers and mountain snow are expected over central and western New Mexico today and tonight. Several inches of snow are possible in the higher terrain, especially above 7,500 feet.
Freezing drizzle and freezing fog along the east slopes of the central mountain chain early this morning will develop into a more widespread area of freezing rain across eastern New Mexico through late morning. A transition back over to rain is expected as temperatures warm. However, if cold air does not retreat from the eastern plains, then freezing rain will persist through the day, with significant icing possible.
Significant snowfall accumulations are possible across the east central and southeast plains of New Mexico through Saturday morning.
A winter storm watch is in effect for portions of southeastern New Mexico from 6 a.m. today through noon Saturday.
The system could significantly affect travel in parts of east-central and southeast New Mexico, including the Interstate 40 and U.S. 70/285 corridors.
Isolated power failures are possible in east central and southeast New Mexico, especially if freezing rain accumulations approach a quarter-inch.
Locally, hazardous travel conditions are possible across western New Mexico, particularly in the higher terrain and near the continental divide.
Residents should continue to monitor weather forecasts in case of changing conditions.
Snow will likely end over New Mexico on Saturday afternoon, followed by cold temperatures Saturday night through Monday.