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Low temperatures, snow and high winds will sweep across New Mexico this week.
Daniel Porter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said a “deeply cold air mass” will drop statewide temperatures 20 to 30 degrees below normal on Wednesday.
“That’s going to set the stage up for significant snowfall accumulations, because the atmosphere will be plenty cold enough to support snow for most locations across New Mexico,” Porter said.
Albuquerque could experience gusty winds Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Wednesday will be the coldest day of the week for much of the state.
Albuquerque is expected to have a low of 24 degrees and a high of 43 Wednesday, with cloudy skies and a 70% chance of precipitation.
“There will be probably some periods of precipitation moving through the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho metro areas,” Porter said. “But do keep in mind that the ‘snow hole’ effect might limit the amount of snow accumulation.”
The snow hole effect occurs when cold air and high canyon winds converge, causing air to sink and compress as the winds move through the valley. The result is snow-free areas over most of Albuquerque, with the most snow piling up west of the city.
About an inch of snow is expected in Albuquerque from Tuesday to Thursday.
Areas east of the central mountains will likely receive the most snow from the mid week storm. Las Vegas could get about 8 inches, and up to 9 inches could fall in Angel Fire.
Traces of snow are also expected near Clovis and Portales.
“The question across the far eastern plains of New Mexico is if the temperatures will be warm enough in those areas to switch over to a rain-snow mix,” Porter said.
Icy conditions are possible on major highways this week, along with freezing fog, blowing snow and reduced visibility.
Albuquerque is forecast to have a high of 53 degrees Thursday as the cold front exits the region.
Another storm system will bring snow showers to northern New Mexico and the Four Corners area Thursday night, the weather service said.
Weather across the state will calm down Friday. The Albuquerque area will be sunny this weekend, with temperatures in the high 60s.