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Snow day

Fritz and Grecia Palacios, from Austin, Texas, walk along a snow covered sidewalk next the Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe, on Thursday, January 16. The snow started falling around 9 a.m. and is expected to last into Friday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A snowstorm in north and central New Mexico on Thursday forced early closures of state offices, national monuments and several schools.

The city of Albuquerque and all APS schools will be operating on a two-hour delay on Friday due to anticipated freezing road conditions. Mayor Tim Keller tweeted Thursday night that nonessential services will be on a weather delay with offices opening at 10 a.m.

Albuquerque reached the mid-50s Wednesday, but temperatures plummeted by more than 25 degrees the next morning, and snow began falling.

Many state agency offices in Santa Fe closed before noon and sent employees home as the snow piled up.

Valles Caldera National Preserve and Bandelier National Monument also closed early. Bandelier staff said in a news release that the closure may remain in effect Friday, depending on the weather. Valles Caldera will delay opening until 11 a.m. Friday.

Bernalillo County canceled a Friday groundbreaking event on the championship field for the Mesa del Sol Regional Sports Complex.

Rio Rancho Public Schools closed all schools at noon and canceled after-school activities.

Snow and poor road conditions prompted early closure of the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College Rio Rancho campuses, and Santa Fe Public Schools canceled all after-school athletics and club activities Thursday.

The main UNM campus in Albuquerque announced a campus closure at 3:30 p.m. At least half an inch of snow was reported in parts of the Albuquerque area.

A winter weather advisory is in effect until 8 a.m. Friday for Albuquerque and Santa Fe. But high temperatures in Albuquerque will steadily climb into the high 40s by the weekend.

A winter storm warning is in effect for the northern mountains and the Sandia and Manzano mountains until 5 p.m. Friday. The Sandias could receive as much as 5 inches of snow from the storm.

The state Department of Transportation has advised drivers to avoid unnecessary travel during winter weather. Travel conditions are available at nmroads.com.

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