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More snow, cold for New Mexico

A great blue heron perches near a frozen pond close to the Rio Grande in the North Valley on Monday after a cold snap brought frigid temperatures and snow to New Mexico. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Snow and frigid temperatures contributed to power outages affecting about 10,000 customers in New Mexico and will continue to blow through the state this week, as an arctic front brings extreme winter weather to much of the central U.S.

But the worst of the storm systems may be over for Albuquerque.

The National Weather Service office in Albuquerque predicts that the best chances for snow on Tuesday will be in northern, northwest and central New Mexico.

Less than an inch of snow is expected to fall in Albuquerque early Tuesday morning. The city will hit a low of 29 and has a 70% chance of precipitation. Snow will change to rain in the afternoon and the city is expected to see a high temperature of 43.

By Tuesday night, any snowfall in the state will likely be relegated to the northern mountains and eastern New Mexico.

Southwestern Public Service said Monday it had to cut power to about 7,000 customers for a short period in towns including Artesia, Hobbs, Carlsbad, Clovis and Eunice.

Xcel Energy subsidiary SPS, briefly interrupted service to conserve energy after the Southwest Power Pool called on its member utilities in 14 states to initiate controlled outages to relieve demand on the central U.S. grid.

SPS spokesman Wes Reeves said more power cutoffs were possible Monday evening as nighttime temperatures drop even lower.

“We need to get through tomorrow before we’re out of the woods,” he said.

Public Service Company of New Mexico reported scattered outages affecting about 1,500 customers in Deming, 1,700 in Las Vegas, 1,700 customers in Santa Fe; a transmission problem hit about 5,000 customers in Valencia County.

Several places set record cold temperatures on Monday. Rio Rancho hit a low of 7 degrees, breaking the previous Feb. 15 record of 22 degrees set in 2010.

Northeastern New Mexico also broke records Monday with bitter cold temperatures. Clayton’s temperature of -15 degrees beat out the 1936 record low of 1 degree. Raton temperatures dipped to a low of -17 degrees, shattering the previous zero-degree record set in 1960.

The National Weather Service warns that roads with lingering snow and ice will be dangerous this week as temperatures remain cool.

More snow and freezing fog could make roads slick and reduce visibility. Road conditions are updated at nmroads.com.

Warm temperatures are expected to return later this week as the cold front leaves the state. Areas such as Roswell, which plummeted to -6 degrees on Monday, could see high temperatures in the 70s this weekend.


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