ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Summer may be only a month away, but winter doesn’t seem to want to lose its grip on the northern mountains of New Mexico.
Up to a foot of snow was forecast by late this morning from an unseasonably strong system moving through the southern Rockies that also brought rain, low temperatures and high winds to much of the state Monday.
The storm system – which spawned tornadoes in parts of Texas and Oklahoma – brought snow to lower elevations in Farmington, Gallup and Zuni, which recorded between 2 to 3 inches. It brought rain to Albuquerque and thunderstorms to the eastern part of the state, where 1½-inch hail was reported southeast of Tucumcari.
Six inches to more than a foot of snow was expected over the San Juan Mountains, the Jemez Mountains and much of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The heaviest snow was expected on west-facing slopes. Travel could be difficult through mountain passes. Gusty winds could down tree branches and result in reduced visibility from blowing snow in higher terrain.
The precipitation is supposed to move out of the state today, but lower temperatures and high winds are expected to persist for the next couple of days.
“Temperatures are expected to stay well below normal in the western half of the state, with some areas 20 to 30 degrees below normal in places like Gallup and Farmington,” National Weather Service meteorologist Randall Hergert said. “We’re expecting warmer temperatures at the end of the week, especially in the south and east. Roswell will be the hot spot in the state, in the mid-90s.”
Most areas in the northern part of the state received some type of precipitation. Rainfall amounts varied in the Albuquerque area from 0.1 inch to 0.77 inch near Edgewood. High temperatures in the Albuquerque area today are expected to be in the mid-60s after a high of 66 in Albuquerque on Monday. Highs in the 70s are forecast for Wednesday through Friday before reaching the 80s over the weekend.
Much of the eastern part of the state was under a high-wind warning Monday, and wind gusts are expected to reach 50 mph or higher in portions of the eastern part of the state and central mountains today and Wednesday.
Hergert said wind speeds are expected to decrease toward the end of the week.
“But it will still be windy,” he said.
Because of above-normal precipitation, rivers in many areas are filled to the banks and bulging. And even though temperatures will climb into the 80s and 90s throughout much of the state over Memorial Day weekend, water temperatures will remain in the 40s and 50s, forecasters said.