Major Winter Storm Bearing Down On Us.
RAP 700 MB (10,000') Analysis.
Valid At 4:00 AM MST Wednesday, December 30, 2020.
Upper-Air Analysis Of The Storm.
A couple of important developments are occurring with our powerful mid-upper level winter storm located to our west early this morning. I've posted an analysis of the storm starting at the 18,000' level with the first map. Interestingly enough a "low" appears to be trying to close off over southwestern New Mexico as of 4 AM. Along with the possibility of a second low developing further south in northern Mexico.
This is important because the storm may be trying to develop further north than what the models have been forecasting. This potentially could mean heavier snow for southern and Southeastern New Mexico. This continues to be a developing situation with many details of the storm's track, speed, and eventual strength to yet be resolved by the forecast models.
As I stated yesterday a subtle shift in the storm track of 50 to 100 miles to the north would place SE NM in the heavier snowfall area. This will need to be watched today.
Low-level moisture has increased significantly across SE NM and W TX overnight in the low-level easterly upslope flow behind the frontal passage. Cold air is settling in over the area and will continue to deepen through the day. Both the mid-level water vapor satellite image above and the 700 MB and 850 MB maps depict additional rich mid-level moisture streaming northeast around the low towards the area.
Updated Snowfall Forecast At 3:20 PM MST.
Valid Today Through Saturday.
SREF Forecast Snowfall Totals.
Valid Today Through 5 PM MST Thursday Evening.
One thing is certain early this morning and that this incoming winter storm has the potential to be historic for much of the local area. What isn't so certain is how much snow falls exactly where. The computer forecast models still have not resolved this issue. They are all over the place with their forecast totals with their latest runs last night.
For now (as of early this Wednesday morning) we are still only looking at a dusting to perhaps an inch or two of snow in Eddy County. Southern Lea County is under a Winter Weather Advisory and they are forecast to get 1" to 3" of snow.
Rain is forecast to change over to snow this morning across Southeastern New Mexico. Wind chill values will drop down into the teens and 20's this afternoon into Thursday morning.
Much of West Texas is under a Winter Storm Warning and they are expecting to see 4" to 7" of snow with local totals of 12" to 17"....and believe it or not but a few places could get even more than this. Blowing and drifting snow will also cause additional problems on roadways with the visibility severely limited in some areas in the heavier snow bands.
Travel across a wide swath of the West Texas area is expected to become difficult to impossible in many places today into Thursday. Expect road closures. Click on this link to my Winter Weather Page for additional information on road closures and more.
This winter storm has the potential to have widespread significant impacts with life-threatening conditions in some areas across West Texas.
Again should this mid-upper low to our southwest shift a little further north today into tomorrow then the potential for heavier snowfall will go up across Eddy, Lea, Chaves, Lincoln, and Otero Counties, as well as across southern New Mexico.
Should this happen then heavy snow would have major impacts upon travel locally.
I'll post additional updates as needed today into Friday.
The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!