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Winter storm brings arctic weather to New Mexico

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A woman struggles to keep her balance while walking on Eubank near Central as a cold front brings frigid temperatures, snow and winds to Albuquerque. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

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Motorists drive on an icy Coors Blvd. NW near Quail. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

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A snowplow works the streets in Downtown Albuquerque. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/ Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A winter storm that hit New Mexico on Sunday may not have brought the biggest snow totals, but it is bringing record-low temperatures, which are expected to last through Monday and create dangerous driving conditions.

Randall Hergert, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said the wind chill factor could leave temperatures in Clines Corners and Clayton feeling as low as the negative teens and 20s Monday.

Road conditions will still be poor on Monday because the low temperatures will prevent snow and ice on the roads from melting, Hergert said.

“If folks can delay their traveling, that’s what we recommend,” Hergert said.

Hergert said there might be some light snow in the mountains near the Colorado border on Monday, but mostly the state will be dealing with bitter cold.

Chuck Jones, another meteorologist with the weather service in Albuquerque, said the foothills and the valley will have a low of 0 degrees on Monday, which would be a record low for Feb. 15. Rio Rancho is expected to have a record low of 3 degrees, he said. Jones says he expects Corrales to have a record low temperature Monday, but did specify a temperature.

Another winter storm will move into the northern and central part of the state Monday night through Tuesday, Hergert said. The storm could bring 6 to 12 inches of snow to elevations above 8,500 feet.

Sunday’s storm caused dangerous driving conditions throughout the state. Southbound Coors was closed at Montaño NW due to multiple crashes Sunday morning but was reopened Sunday evening.

Rebecca Atkins, an Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman, said that she was not informed of any serious crashes Sunday but that traffic on westbound Interstate 40 near Unser was moving slowly. Around 6 p.m. Sunday, APD tweeted that westbound I-40 near Unser was at a “dead stop.”

Westbound lanes of Interstate 40 at Atrisco Vista were closed earlier in the day.

Lt. Mark Soriano, a State Police spokesman, said that on Saturday and Sunday, State Police investigated one fatal crash — a single-vehicle rollover near Deming — 68 crashes with injuries and 50 crashes with no injuries.

The Albuquerque area received 1 to 2 inches of snow Sunday, Hergert said, with Rio Rancho and Kirtland Air Force Base reporting 3 inches.

In the East Mountains, Sandia Park got 12 inches, Edgewood got between 7 and 8½ inches and Sedillo got 7 inches.

In Northern New Mexio, Chama got 13 inches, Taos Ski Valley got 10 inches, Los Alamos got 6 to 8 inches. Various parts of the Sangre de Cristo mountains got 6 to 12 inches.

As for the southern part of the state, Ruidoso got 12 inches, Pie Town got 8 inches and Roswell had between 2 and 3.

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A snowplow works to clear the roadway while Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies divert westbound traffic on Interstate 40 at Nine Mile Hill after the freeway was closed due to treacherous driving conditions. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

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Albuquerque police respond to a car crash on Eubank near Lomas. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

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