Will The Blizzard Of 2011 Be A Repeat Of The 1997 Blizzard?

Blog updated at 1:24 PM MST.

Note: I will set in (via phone & computer) on a special web conference briefing hosted by the Albuquerque National Weather Service Office at 2 pm, concerning our next Dangerous Winter Storm that is going to have huge impacts across parts of the state tonight into Tuesday. I will post an updated blog on my web page by sometime around 6 PM this evening, with the very latest on this Potentially Dangerous Winter Storm.

Note: The Albuquerque NWS Office has removed De Baca, Curry, and Roosevelt Counties from the Blizzard Watch. These counties are now under a Winter Storm Watch. The Blizzard Watch continues in effect for northeast, and east-central New Mexico.

Valid From Monday Morning - Monday Night.
Widespread Heavy Snow-Blowing Snow-Drifting Snow!
8" Of New Snow Or More Is Forecast!
Snow Drifts Of 5'-10' Are Possible!
Life Threatening Travel Conditions!
White Out Conditions In The Blizzard!
North Winds 20-30G40+ mph!
Significant Impacts To Livestock!
Zero Visibilities At Times.

Lincoln County.
Valid From Midnight Sunday - 5 AM Tuesday.
8" - 12" Of New Snow-More Across Higher Peaks.
Snow Levels Falling To 7,500' Tonight.
Snow Levels Falling To The Surface Monday Night.
Dangerous Travel Conditions.
Reduced Visibilities.

Otero County.
Valid 11 PM Saturday Evening - 5 PM Monday.
6" - 12" New Snowfall Above 7,000'.
Lesser Amounts Below 7,000'.
Dangerous Travel Conditions.
Reduced Visibilities.

Chaves County.
Valid Monday Morning - Monday Night.
4" Or More Of Snow Below 7,500'.
8" Or More Above 7,500'.
North Winds 15-25G35 mph.
Dangerous Travel Conditions.
Reduced Visibilities.

Its not often that we see Blizzard Watches issued for New Mexico, but we now have one that remains in effect for all of northeastern and eastern New Mexico for Monday. Please take these watches and warnings that are being issued by our local National Weather Service Offices seriously folks. Very Dangerous and Potentially Life Threatening Winter Weather Conditions will develop over parts of New Mexico and surrounding areas starting tonight and continuing into Tuesday!

Let me be very specific here folks, if you are planning on traveling anywhere across the "Blizzard Warned Area" across eastern and northeastern New Mexico Monday into Tuesday, you could very well be putting your life at risk, as well as anyone who may be traveling with you.

I realize that this is a pretty bold and harsh statement, but trust me you do not want to get trapped or stranded in your vehicle in these areas during a raging blizzard. Life threatening conditions will become a reality in these areas during the expected White Out Conditions that will develop during the Blizzard.

Significant impacts are also expected to affect livestock in these areas as well. Wide spread heavy snow, blowing snow, and drifting snow, blown about by northerly winds at around 20-30G40+ mph will create snow drifts of around 5' to 10' (feet folks) in these areas. Zero visibilities are expected as well in White Out Conditions. Livestock may suffer in these areas for days due to the expected heavy snowfall, deep snow drifts, and bitter cold.

Southeastern New Mexico.

A very complex and powerful winter storm is forecast to hammer much of New Mexico tonight into Tuesday. Current thinking is that Eddy and Lea Counties will be on the warmer, southern side of the powerful closed upper-level as it slowly crawls overhead Monday afternoon. This may change.

A strong arctic cold front is forecast to surge as far south as I-40 my around noontime on Monday. It will then continue southward into southeastern New Mexico by Monday evening. Early this morning the large cutoff upper-level low was centered over Mexicali, in the northern Baja Region of Mexico.

If current model trends are correct, then this large upper-level storm should start its eastward crawl later today. It is forecast to be located near Tucson, Arizona later this afternoon. Late tonight it is it forecast to be centered over northern Chihuahua, Mexico south of El Paso, Texas. By Monday afternoon it is forecast to be located over Artesia, and should move northeastward and into the Texas Panhandle by Tuesday morning.

Current model trends and National Weather Service forecast call for an increasing chance of rain showers, and perhaps a few thunderstorms tonight into Monday. Locally heavy rain will be possible in some areas. Rain is forecast to change over to snow in Eddy and Lea Counties by Monday evening. Its possible that we may pick up an inch or two of snow from this storm.

Deteriorating weather and road conditions are forecast as you head west towards the Sacramento Mountains, and from Chaves County northward on Monday. Its very important to note here folks that any change in the forecast track and speed of the powerful upper-level storm approaching the area from the west, and the arrival time of the strong cold front moving southward down the eastern plains, will have huge impacts upon on our local weather.

Please Note-

If the colder air arrives sooner than forecast, and the upper-level storm is slower in moving east than forecast, and if it tracks a little further south than current forecast indicate, then our chances for seeing significant snowfall in Eddy and Lea Counties would increase.

Should the cold front be delayed until later Monday night, and the upper-level storm track a little further to the north, along with a faster forward speed than current model trends indicate, then we would end up with more rain than snow here locally.

Please keep checking back here often and I will keep my web page updated with the very latest information from our local National Weather Service Offices. You can visit their web pages by clicking on these links-

How many of you remember the five day Christmas Blizzards of 1997?
An incredible 15" - 31" of snow fell across parts of central, eastern and southeastern New Mexico from the 20th through the 25th. Snow drifts in the area reached 6' - 10', with reports of snow drifts burying telephone poles in some areas.

Road crews were overwhelmed by the heavy snowfall and deep drifts. Road closures lasted 10 -14 days into January. Total monetary losses were estimated at $6.5 million, with the cost of clearing roads across the area at $20 million. Some 10,000 head of sheep and cattle were lost. This included 3,000 yearly calves at a dairy in Dexter that bunched up together to try and stay warm, and suffocated. The New Mexico National Guard was activated to perform aerial drops of 400 tons of hay to cattle, sheep, deer, and antelope to keep them from starving to death in the deep snow and drifts.

Motorists were stranded in their vehicles near Queen along State Highway 137 and had to be rescued by Eddy County Sheriffs Deputies. Governor Gary Johnson declared a state of emergency across Eddy County and surrounding areas. Hope which is located 20 miles west of Artesia picked up 29" of snow from the three storms when it was all said and done.

Some of the colder low temperatures during the period include -9 at the Bitter Lakes Wildlife Refuge, -8 at Lakewood, -5 at Artesia, and 2 at Roswell.

Storm Total Snowfall Amounts-

5 Miles South Fort Sumner 31"
Cloudcroft 30.5"
Hope 29"
Corona 28"
Yeso 28"
Capitan 23"
Elk 23"
Ruidoso 22.5"
Portales 21.8"
Roswell 21" (Public reported 26")
Bitter Lakes Wildlife Refuge 19"
Mountain Park 19"
Picacho 17.8"
Fort Sumner 17.5"
Brantley Dam 17.5"
Santa Rosa 16.8"
Lakewood 16.4"
Elida 14"
Artesia 14"
Maljamar 12"
Clovis 11.5"
Crossroads 9"
Carlsbad Airport 7"
Tatum 5"
Hobbs 4"
13 West of Hobbs 2.9"
Ochoa 2.5"
Carlsbad Caverns Trace
WIPP Site 1.60" of rain

Snowfall Data is courtesy of-

The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!


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