Win­try weather to ar­rive in north­ern NM tonight

Record or near record tem­per­a­tures pro­jected Mon­day morn­ing across north­ern, cen­tral NM

Albuquerque Journal - - METRO & NM - BY STEVE KNIGHT

Win­ter is com­ing. Me­te­o­rol­o­gists from the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said on Fri­day they ex­pect an early sea­son blast of win­ter weather to ar­rive in north­ern New Mex­ico tonight into Sun­day, bring­ing bit­ter cold and sig­nif­i­cant snow­fall Sun­day night into Mon­day.

Tem­per­a­tures are ex­pected to plum­met to be­low freez­ing with wind chill val­ues in the sin­gle dig­its across north­east New Mex­ico from Sun­day night into Mon­day morn­ing.

High tem­per­a­tures on Sun­day may not get much above freez­ing across the north­east plains. Tem­per­a­tures will be well be­low nor­mal across the en­tire area by Mon­day, when highs will range from 20 to 35 de­grees be­low nor­mal.

“We see an up­per low take shape over south­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and, at the same time, a very cold early fall trough is go­ing to move down the front range of the Rock­ies,” said Brian Guyer, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist with the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Al­bu­querque. “Those two sys­tems are go­ing to try to phase to­gether and cre­ate some pretty po­tent dy­nam­ics across the state.”

Winds be­hind the front will make it feel even colder, with wind chill val­ues dip­ping into the teens across east cen­tral and sin­gle dig­its across north­east New Mex­ico on Sun­day night.

Fore­cast­ers ex­pect the front to cre­ate strong east canyon and gap winds into the Rio Grande Val­ley from Sun­day night through Mon­day be­tween Santa Fe, Al­bu­querque and So­corro.

In ad­di­tion to much colder tem­per­a­tures, the first snow­fall of the sea­son will come to a num­ber of north­ern and cen­tral New Mex­ico lo­ca­tions be­tween Sun­day and Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to fore­cast­ers.

Sig­nif­i­cant travel im­pacts, in­clud­ing por­tions of the In­ter­state 25 and 40 cor­ri­dors as well as U.S. High­way 64, could de­velop as a re­sult of heavy snow, flash freeze con­di­tions and lo­cally breezy winds. The great­est travel im­pact will likely be­gin tonight or early Sun­day and per­sist through Mon­day.

Snow ac­cu­mu­la­tions of up to two feet atop the peaks of the San­gre de Cristo Moun­tains with sev­eral inches over the ad­ja­cent high ter­rain are pos­si­ble by the end of Mon­day. A foot or more of snow could fall in Red River and An­gel Fire by Mon­day evening.

Snow lev­els will fall sig­nif­i­cantly Sun­day night into Mon­day to in­clude most lower el­e­va­tion lo­ca­tions near and north of In­ter­state 40, in­clud­ing the Al­bu­querque and Santa Fe metro ar­eas.

Rel­a­tively warm ground tem­per­a­tures will likely limit any snow ac­cu­mu­la­tion in the Al­bu­querque and Santa Fe ar­eas to el­e­vated and grassy ar­eas.

The sys­tem could po­ten­tially bring the first freeze to the metro area early next week.

Af­ter a high tem­per­a­ture near 60 de­grees on Sun­day, metro Al­bu­querque res­i­dents can ex­pect tem­per­a­tures to drop with the front into the mid 30s Sun­day night and only warm into the mid 40s on Mon­day.

“If Al­bu­querque freezes on Mon­day morn­ing, that will be ear­li­est freeze here since 1986,” Guyer said. “If we pick up a tenth of an inch of snow or more, it will be the third ear­li­est snow­fall on record. This is re­ally a rare event for the mid­dle of Oc­to­ber.”

Pre­cip­i­ta­tion chances grad­u­ally de­cline into the mid­dle of next week with tem­per­a­tures re­main­ing be­low nor­mal.

Res­i­dents should con­tinue to mon­i­tor weather fore­casts for watches, warn­ings and chang­ing con­di­tions.

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