‘Dicey’ snowstorm skips over Santa Fe

February 20, 2019

A snowstorm that swept through most of Northern New Mexico seemingly skipped right over — or around — Santa Fe.

Meteorologists reported between a half-inch to 2 inches of snow in Albuquerque, about 9 inches in Raton and Aztec and up to a foot in Los Alamos between Sunday night and Tuesday morning.

But for Santa Fe, nada. Or close to it.

“We didn’t even get reports for Santa Fe,” said Jennifer Shoemake, an Albuquerque-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

In some areas within Santa Fe County, such as Edgewood, Shoemake said snowfall ranged between 3½ to 6 inches, and Cerrillos received about 2 inches. However, due to southeasterly canyon winds from Glorieta Pass, which spread over Santa Fe, Shoemake said snow was pushed out of the capital’s downtown area and caused northern areas like Los Alamos to get “dumped on.”

“The same reason Los Alamos gets all the snow is the same reason Santa Fe doesn’t,” she said.

Before the storm hit Monday night, forecasters said Santa Fe could receive between 4 and 9 inches.

Because temperatures south of Santa Fe were in the upper 40s last week — even 59 degrees last Friday in Albuquerque — Shoemake said the ground was warm enough to cause the first round of snow to melt before freezing again, creating slick road conditions.

Albuquerque saw numerous closures due to the weather, with the University of New Mexico, Rio Rancho and Albuquerque public schools, Central New Mexico Community College and government institutions all out before noon.

“It got a little dicey in Albuquerque,” said Shoemake.

In the coming days, Shoemake said temperatures will “remain quite cold” in northern areas and that roads will be “problematic.”

She said another storm system is expected to come through New Mexico on Thursday afternoon, bringing with it “significant snowfall” to the state’s northern and western mountains. Santa Fe could get some of the storm’s precipitation Friday, but Shoemake said it’s too early to predict numbers.