Warmer temperatures continue; snow possible Friday morning

Jan. 22—The Santa Fe area will further break from the cold snap that for many days coated roads, hills and other surfaces with icy patches.

The area will see highs in the low 40s for most of the week, with a fair chance of snow greeting commuters Friday morning in Santa Fe and Albuquerque as a storm system begins passing through the region Thursday night.

The snowstorm might require the National Weather Service to issue advisories for parts of Northern and Western New Mexico, meteorologist Michael Anand said at the agency’s weekly briefing Monday.

“It’s still too early to determine how impactful that Thursday-night-heading-into-Friday storm system will be,” Anand said. “Something to keep an eye on.”

Santa Fe is forecast over the next several days to get average highs of 43 and lows a bit below freezing, which are slightly cooler than normal but balmy compared with the temperatures that didn’t rise above freezing for much of January.

Tuesday might be damp, but that’s more likely to be rain rather than snow south of Santa Fe, Anand said.

A higher-pressure system is forecast to move into the state from the south over the weekend, warming temperatures to the seasonal average or a little above it, he said.

Santa Fe’s temperatures could reach the 50s by early next week, according to weather data.

The extended outlook for the next two weeks is warmer-than-average temperatures and precipitation across the Southwest, again following the El Niño predictions.

Looking ahead into late February, storms are expected to remain active throughout the country, increasing the probabilities of precipitation across the desert Southwest, Anand said.

Meanwhile, El Niño, a Pacific Ocean climate pattern that often causes wetter Southwest winters, is fulfilling expectations by adding to snowpack in regional mountain ranges. This is a boon to ski resorts and, if it continues, will swell spring runoff to supply water to irrigators, pueblos and cities.

“Definitely exceeding what’s normal this time of year, and that’s really good news,” said Andrew Mangham, a Weather Service hydrologist.

Still, Mangham said he’d like the high-country snow increase in the northern mountains stretching into Colorado to bolster the spring runoff that will flow into New Mexico.

The Santa Fe ski basin received below-average snowfall during November and the first weeks of December, prompting resort managers to crank up snowmaking efforts.

That’s changed in the past few weeks, with a series of storms dropping ample snow on the slopes, said Ben Abruzzo, Ski Santa Fe’s general manager.

Now they plan to produce snow mainly for the heavily trafficked areas, Abruzzo said.

“It was a slow, warm start for sure,” Abruzzo said. “We seemed to have turned a corner.”

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