Winter Storm Watch Tonight Into Weekend

NWS News:

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Watch including heavy snow for tonight into the weekend for the northern and central portions of New Mexico.

Winter Storm Watch

A SLOW MOVING PACIFIC STORM SYSTEM HEADING FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND WESTERN ARIZONA WILL BRING COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF MOISTURE TO THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT. ADDITIONALLY…A SURFACE COLD FRONT ARRIVING TODAY WILL COOL TEMPERATURES CONSIDERABLY. 

THE GREATEST IMPACTS FROM THIS LONG DURATION WINTER WEATHER EVENT WILL BE FELT ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS WHERE SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATIONS ARE EXPECTED. SOME UNCERTAINTY REMAINS WHETHER PRECIPITATION WILL BE MAINLY SNOW OR MAINLY RAIN AT LOWER ELEVATIONS. PRECIPITATION WILL COME TO AN END BY LATE SATURDAY AS THE STORM SHIFTS FURTHER SOUTH AND EAST ACROSS NORTHERN MEXICO AND DRY AIR MOVES ACROSS THE STATE FROM THE NORTHWEST.

JEMEZ MOUNTAINS-WEST CENTRAL HIGHLANDS-SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-WEST SLOPES SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS-NORTHERN SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS ABOVE 9,500 FEET/RED RIVER-SOUTHERN SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS ABOVE 9,500 FEET-EAST SLOPES SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS-UPPER RIO GRANDE VALLEY-LOWER CHAMA RIVER VALLEY-SANTA FE METRO AREA-ESTANCIA VALLEY-CENTRAL HIGHLANDS-SOUTH CENTRAL HIGHLANDS-UPPER TULAROSA VALLEY-RATON RIDGE/JOHNSON MESA.

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS…SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 INCHES OR MORE ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE NORTHERN MOUNTAINS. SOME HIGHER PEAKS ABOVE 10,000 FEET MAY SEE UPWARDS OF ONE FOOT OF FRESH SNOW ACCUMULATION. AMOUNTS OF 4 INCHES OR MORE ARE POSSIBLE AT LOWER ELEVATIONS … ESPECIALLY THE ESTANCIA VALLEY AND CENTRAL HIGHLANDS.

* TIMING…SNOW WILL START EARLY FRIDAY MORNING AND CONTINUE THROUGH MUCH OF THE DAY ON SATURDAY BEFORE GRADUALLY TAPERING OFF SATURDAY NIGHT.

* WINDS…EAST TO SOUTHEAST 15 TO 25 MPH FRIDAY INTO THE SANTA FE METRO AS WELL AS PORTIONS OF THE JEMEZ OTHERWISE LIGHT WINDS ARE EXPECTED.

* SNOW LEVELS…SNOW LEVELS WILL FLUCTUATE…RISING TO NEAR 6,500 FEET DURING THE AFTERNOONS…AND FALLING BACK TO NEAR 5,000 FEET DURING THE LATE NIGHTS AND EARLY MORNINGS.

* LOCAL IMPACTS…HEAVY WET SNOW MAY ACCUMULATE ON ROADWAYS…ESPECIALLY AT HIGHER ELEVATIONS…MAKING TRAVEL DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE OVER SOME MOUNTAIN PASSES AND OTHER HIGH ELEVATION ROADS. THE HEAVY WET SNOW COULD COMPROMISE THE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OF SOME ROOF TOPS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS

REMEMBER…A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR A HAZARDOUS WINTER WEATHER EVENT IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH AREA. MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS AT WEATHER.GOV/ABQ…LISTEN TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR YOUR FAVORITE MEDIA OUTLET.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK

JEMEZ MOUNTAINS-NORTHWEST PLATEAU-CHUSKA MOUNTAINS-FAR NORTHWEST HIGHLANDS-NORTHWEST HIGHLANDS-WEST CENTRAL PLATEAU-WEST CENTRAL MOUNTAINS-WEST CENTRAL HIGHLANDS-SOUTHWEST MOUNTAINS-SAN FRANCISCO RIVER VALLEY-SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS-WEST SLOPES SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS-NORTHERN SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS ABOVE 9,500 FEET/RED RIVER-SOUTHERN SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS ABOVE 9500 FEET-EAST SLOPES SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS-UPPER RIO GRANDE VALLEY-LOWER CHAMA RIVER VALLEY-SANTA FE METRO AREA-ALBUQUERQUE METRO AREA-LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY-SANDIA/MANZANO MOUNTAINS-ESTANCIA VALLEY-CENTRAL HIGHLANDS-SOUTH CENTRAL HIGHLANDS-UPPER TULAROSA VALLEY-SOUTH CENTRAL MOUNTAINS-RATON RIDGE/JOHNSON MESA-FAR NORTHEAST HIGHLANDS-NORTHEAST HIGHLANDS-UNION COUNTY-HARDING COUNTY-EASTERN SAN MIGUEL COUNTY-GUADALUPE COUNTY-QUAY COUNTY-CURRY COUNTY-ROOSEVELT COUNTY-DE BACA COUNTY-CHAVES COUNTY PLAINS-EASTERN LINCOLN COUNTY-AND-SOUTHWEST CHAVES COUNTY.

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR PORTIONS OF NORTH AND CENTRAL NEW MEXICO.

TODAY AND TONIGHT

WIDESPREAD PRECIPITATION WILL DEVELOP TONIGHT IN ADVANCE OF AN UPPER LEVEL STORM SYSTEM MOVING TOWARD SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. THIS COMBINED WITH A BACK DOOR COLD FRONT MOVING THROUGH THE AREA TODAY WILL YIELD THE POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT AND HEAVY SNOW ACCUMULATIONS. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ACROSS THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL MOUNTAINS WILL BEGIN TONIGHT.

FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY

PRECIPITATION WILL EXPAND FRIDAY ACROSS ALL OF NORTHERN AND CENTRAL NEW MEXICO AND THIS WIDESPREAD AND OCCASIONALLY HEAVY PRECIPITATION WILL CONTINUE THROUGH SATURDAY. SNOW LEVELS WILL FLUCTUATE…THUS LOWER ELEVATIONS…MAINLY BELOW 7,000 FEET…MAY SEE A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW. HEAVY WET SNOW MAY COMPROMISE THE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OF SOME ROOF TOPS…ESPECIALLY AT ELEVATIONS ABOVE 9,000 FEET WHERE GREATER THAN A FOOT OF SNOW IS POSSIBLE.

WEATHER CAN CHANGE VERY RAPIDLY. ALWAYS USE THE LATEST FORECASTS…WATCHES AND WARNINGS FOR PLANNING PURPOSES.

SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT

SPOTTERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO REPORT SNOWFALL AMOUNTS THROUGH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ALBUQUERQUE WEB SITE AT WEATHER.GOV/ABQ OR BY CALLING 1.888.386.7637.

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