New Mexico Daily Snow

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Storm #1 exits, storm #2 Tuesday night

Summary

Storm #1 delivered 9" to Ski Apache, 4" to Angel Fire, 3" to Sipapu, 2" to Ski Santa Fe, and 1" to Pajarito. Storm #2 will arrive late Tuesday with 2-6" by Wednesday morning favoring the northern mountains. A dry pattern settles in from Thursday through the weekend. A storm is possible around January 31.

Update

On Tuesday morning, storm #1 is exiting stage right and snowfall has wrapped up for the central mountain chain.

Monday's storm was a wild ride and mostly performed as we expected, but with a few surprises.

As expected, Ski Apache was the big winner with .6" of liquid equivalent precipitation overnight (SNOTEL sensor data) which is approximately 9" of snow (15:1 ratio). 

During the day on Monday, the counter-clockwise wind field was so large around the storm that orographic lift kicked in across parts of the northern mountains that can do well with south, southeast, and east flow.

This resulted in 4" at Angel Fire, 3" at Sipapu, 2" at Ski Santa Fe, 2-3" at Sandia Peak, 1" at Pajarito, and a "heavy dusting" at Red River and Taos.

It was fun to check the webcams at Angel Fire and watch it snow pretty much all day Monday thanks to the eastern upslope flow generated by a storm centered over Arizona!

One big question we had going into storm #1 was whether overnight the snow bands from the southern storm would make it to the northern mountains and that answer was no. All of the new snow in the northern mountains fell during the day on Monday.

Here is the "keep me honest" report for storm #1.

Storm #2 overnight Tuesday

Snow should start late afternoon or early evening in the northern mountains. This is a meager storm in terms of moisture, however, the optimal cold temperatures (5-15 F) for parts of the storm should make it an efficient snowmaker with high snow-to-liquid ratios. At some points overnight Tuesday it could get too cold for optimal snow approaching 0 degrees F above 10,000 ft elevation.

Here is a reasonable liquid precip forecast and multiply by about 15 for snowfall.

The University of Utah Ensemble is pretty locked in on 4-5" for Taos by Wednesday morning for a low-end powder day.

Bottomline for Storm #2

  • Most snow will fall overnight Tuesday, although some snow showers could linger on and off through the day Wednesday with perhaps a bit more accumulation.
  • Prepare for bitterly cold temperatures on Wednesday in the single digits.
  • Here are my snowfall forecasts in alphabetical order for Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday. 
    • 2-5" Angel Fire
    • 1-3" Pajarito
    • 2-5" Red River
    • 0-2" Sandia Peak
    • 2-5" Sipapu
    • 0" Ski Apache
    • 3-6" Ski Santa Fe
    • 3-6" Taos Ski Valley

Wednesday morning should be fun with some fresh snow to enjoy.

From Thursday through the weekend, we will have a dry pattern. But temperatures will remain cold.

I am eyeing a storm around January 31.

Thanks for reading! I will post again on Wednesday to see how storm #2 performs.

¡Viva la nieve!

JULIEN ROSS
[email protected]

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New Mexico Geography Key

Northern Mountains
→ Red River, Taos Ski Valley (north side of northern mountains - Sangre de Cristos)
→ Angel Fire (northeast side of northern mountains - Sangre de Cristos)
→ Sipapu (middle of the northern mountains - Sangre de Cristos)
→ Ski Santa Fe (south side of the northern mountains - Sangre de Cristos)
→ Pajarito (southwest side of the northern mountains - Jemez)

Central Mountains
→ Sandia Peak (Sandias)
→ Mt. Taylor backcountry (San Mateos)

Southern Mountains
→ Ski Apache (Sacramentos)
→ Ski Cloudcroft (Sacramentos)