Snow, high winds in store for New Mexico - Albuquerque Journal

Snow, high winds in store for New Mexico

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Thanksgiving will be cold, snowy and windy in New Mexico, as at least three separate storm systems will blast the state this week.

The first storm moves in Tuesday with powerful winds. In Albuquerque, afternoon winds will be around 30 mph.

Winds could gust at more than 65 mph in the eastern plains Tuesday afternoon, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer Shoemake.

“Anyone traveling on north-south roadways can expect really strong crosswinds with dangerous travel for vehicles,” she said. “That includes the Highway 285 corridor from Roswell to Clines Corners and even up through Santa Fe.”

Temperatures will drop Tuesday, with Albuquerque highs in the low 40s. The Albuquerque area likely won’t get above 50 degrees all week.

Snow will start falling Tuesday in northern New Mexico. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for the Tusas Mountains near Chama and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. High winds and up to 9 inches of snow are possible for elevations above 7,500 feet.

Tuesday’s snow will be isolated to the mountains, but temperatures across northern and western New Mexico probably won’t get above freezing.

Another snowstorm will start Wednesday afternoon in eastern New Mexico and go through midday on Thanksgiving.

“We’ll have poor visibility, slick roads, the whole nine yards,” Shoemake said.

Light to moderate snow is likely for the northern mountains and eastern plains Wednesday night, with potential for freezing rain.

Gino Rinaldi, director of the Mary Esther Gonzales Senior Center in Santa Fe, clears snow from their entrance Thursday November 21, 2019. A storm dumped a couple inches of snow on the City Different. (Eddie Moore/ Albuquerque Journal)

Over the two days, Clines Corners could receive 4 to 6 inches of snow and freezing rain. Fort Sumner is expected to receive 3 to 4 inches, Clovis 4 to 6 inches, Portales 3 to 4 inches, Santa Fe 3 to 4 inches, Las Vegas 4 to 6 inches, Los Alamos 4 to 6 inches, Roswell 3 to 4 inches and Rio Rancho 1 to 2 inches.

Albuquerque could see a light dusting of snow on Thanksgiving, but the holiday will likely just be cold and rainy in the metro.

That means slick road conditions are possible Wednesday and Thursday morning along Interstates 25 and 40, with the greatest impacts in the northeast.

On Thursday, a mix of rain and snow will persist across the southeastern plains. But temperatures will rise by the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day, and snow will turn to rain. Shoemake said any travel problems Thursday should be limited to higher terrain.

Shoemake said Friday could have the most significant travel problems for the holiday week. New Mexicans who plan to do Black Friday shopping should check road conditions before venturing out.

Another storm will bring snow to lower elevations in northern and western New Mexico, with more than a foot possible in the highest elevations. Major highways will likely be slick, with poor visibility.

Weather in the Land of Enchantment will calm down by the weekend. Temperatures will still be low, but any winter precipitation will stay in the higher northern elevations.

Linda Mickle walks her dog Velvet Elvis through Bicentennial Park in Santa Fe, Thursday November 21, 2019. A storm dumped a couple inches of snow on the City Different. (Eddie Moore/ Albuquerque Journal)

Drivers planning to travel this week should pay attention to weather forecasts. Travelers should be prepared for sudden changes in temperature or road conditions. Weather service meteorologist Daniel Porter suggested holiday travelers keep a winter survival kit in their vehicles, slow down, don’t use cruise control, and leave plenty of distance between other vehicles and theirs.

“These storm systems are dynamic, which means they are all different, and it’s hard for us to pinpoint exactly where we’ll see snow and where it will be freezing rain,” he said.

Winter storm information is available at weather.gov/abq, and highway conditions and road webcams can be viewed at nmroads.com.

Travelers can also call 511 or 1-800-432-4269 for New Mexico road conditions.

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