The highest elevations around Taos Ski Valley received another dose of light snow accumulation on Friday and Saturday. A cold front dropping down from the Great Basin could graze northern New Mexico around September 22nd bringing another chance for high-elevation snowflakes. Late September likely returns to a calmer, more typical Fall pattern in the Land of Enchantment.
Short Term Forecast
September snowfall in the Land of Enchantment isn't super common so let's celebrate it while we can!
Here are a few photos from the second dose of light snow that fell on Friday and Saturday around Taos Ski Valley and the Wheeler Peak Wilderness. I wasn't able to confirm if any other high peaks to the south like Truchas received snow so if you have any field reports please let me know.
Here is Wheeler Peak from the Taos Highline Cam on Saturday morning.
Highline Ridge with clouds draped over Kachina Peak on early Saturday morning.
Snow-capped Wheeler from down low (photo credit: @dbrtrujillo).
More light precipitation is on the way
Late Sunday and into Monday, September 18th rain showers will favor the southern half of the state though we could see a few sprinkles in the northern mountains on Monday.
Then on Thursday, September 21st, and Friday, September 22nd, an unseasonably cold trough will drop down across the Great Basin.
The coldest temperatures and most precipitation will stay well to our north around Idaho but we could awake on Saturday morning to more snow-grazed peaks in the northern Sangre de Cristos.
Here is the total liquid precipitation forecast with some of this falling on Sunday-Monday favoring the south and the rest of the light precipitation on Friday favoring the north.
We should return to a more typical calm and quiet pattern for September in the Land of Enchantment from September 23rd through the end of the month.
El Niño Update
In case you missed my last post, NOAA just published the latest El Niño forecast on September 14th and we have a 95% probability of El Niño hanging around through January - March 2024.
In October, I will devote a few posts to El Niño and what history tells us about potential implications for New Mexico's 2023-2024 snowfall season.
Generally speaking, El Niño patterns are more favorable for precipitation and snowfall in New Mexico and the southwest than La Niña patterns, but it is always more nuanced and there are always other factors at play that we cannot predict. We saw these nuances play out in the last two seasons when the northern mountains fared quite well and we climbed out of an extreme drought even amidst a moderate La Niña.
For this reason, I don't like to make any blanket predictions or statements or get too bummed or excited based on La Niña or El Niño.
That being said, after three consecutive La Niña seasons it will be a welcome shift to El Niño, especially for the southern half of the state that suffered the greatest snowfall deficits in the last three seasons.
Look for more El Niño analysis in October, and I will also post as the weather warrants it.
Thanks for reading!
New Mexico Geography Key
→ 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)
→ Sandia Peak (Sandias)
→ Mt. Taylor backcountry (San Mateos)
→ Ski Apache (Sacramentos)
→ Ski Cloudcroft (Sacramentos)