...Arctic air to arrive early in the coming week followed by a potential winter storm around the new years Holiday...
At least two distinct periods of winter weather will impact northern and central New Mexico during the coming week. First...a strong back door cold front will usher Arctic air with sharply colder temperatures and some light snow accumulation from the Central Mountain chain eastward late Monday through mid week. Once the cold air is in place...an upper level low pressure system will then cross from the west with the potential for significant snow accumulation over a broad area starting new years eve and continuing through Friday night.
The Arctic airmass will work its way over New Mexico from the northeast Monday through Tuesday morning. After today... temperatures will probably not rise above freezing again across the far northeast Highlands and northeast plains until Thursday afternoon. Places like Tucumcari...Clovis and Roswell will probably drop below freezing Monday night until Thursday. The coldest temperatures across eastern areas are expected Tuesday...when temperatures in the area from Raton to Clayton may not rise out of the single digits. The back door cold front will push through gaps in the Central Mountain chain with a brisk East Canyon wind in the Central Valley Monday night through Tuesday night.
Accompanying the cold temperatures will be easterly upslope snow. A few inches of snow accumulation will be possible across the Central Mountain chain and much of the eastern plains Monday night through Wednesday. Though snow amounts will be somewhat light...the very cold temperatures will enable the snow to stick and could lead to significant travel impacts due to snow packed and icy roads. As the upper level low pressure system begins to head toward New Mexico...the snow could change over to sleet and freezing drizzle across parts of the east central and southeast plains Wednesday through Thursday morning making new years eve travel treacherous.
Models are agreeing increasingly well on a potent upper level low pressure system then crossing squarely over New Mexico from the west around the new years Holiday. Snow should develop over western areas new years eve...then intensify and become widespread over northern and central New Mexico New Years Day and night. Lingering precipitation may continue to wrap around the system over New Mexico as it slowly exits eastward Friday and Friday night.
Those with travel or outdoor plans will want to monitor the latest National Weather Service forecast on our website at www.Weather.Gov/abq or from your favorite media outlet.