The remnants of a slow-moving atmospheric river storm that pummeled California last week delivered the first notable snowfall of the season across eastern New Mexico, with the National Weather Service warning Sunday of snowpacked and icy roads as the system headed toward the Texas Panhandle and central Oklahoma.
A winter storm advisory was issued for eastern New Mexico, including the city of Roswell. The National Weather Service in Albuquerque said temperatures were in the mid-30s, which is up to 25 degrees below normal.
“Hopefully it will diminish by sunset,” Jennifer Shoemake, a meteorologist for the weather service in Albuquerque, said Sunday.
She said the storm system appeared to be headed next to the Texas Panhandle and central Oklahoma, where warnings were already in effect.
The National Weather Service forecast up to 8 inches of snow Sunday in the west Texas city of Lubbock, with 1.3 inches already on the ground in Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle.
The storms stem from a slow-moving system that first hit California early Wednesday. It moved out after days of wind, record rain and heavy snowfall that caused power outages, street flooding and hundreds of destructive mudslides around Los Angeles.
It also dumped 3 feet of snow over three days in northern Arizona before tracking east on Friday and making its way Saturday into New Mexico.
Shoemake said Albuquerque got up to 4 inches (10 cm) of snow Saturday, with the adjacent mountains getting anywhere between 6 inches (15 cm) and 9 inches (22 cm).
“Likely some decent skiing conditions,” Shoemake said.
She was right.
In Albuquerque, Sandia Peak Ski Area has opened up for the first time since 2022 with access to top-to-bottom skiing across 300 acres on all 35 trails.
“It’s like we are in the clouds up there,” snowboarder Jovanni Orozco told Albuquerque TV station KOB. “Literally, it is like low you can’t even see nothing and then the snow just covers your goggles, but it’s fun!”
The Arizona Snowbowl ski resort north of Flagstaff got 55 inches (139 cm) from the recent storms, bringing its snowfall total to 140 inches this season. All lifts and trails at the ski area were open Sunday.
National Park officials closed the Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, New Mexico on Saturday afternoon due to worsening weather, but it was reopened Sunday after snow removal operations.