New Mexico Daily Snow

Heads up, there may be fresher snow! Read the latest New Mexico Daily Snow

By Julien Ross, Forecaster Posted 1 month ago February 26, 2024

Trending up some, but with major caveats

Summary

Monday is a transition day between the warm springlike weekend we just enjoyed and a turbulent storm system that will bring wind and dense snow overnight Monday into Tuesday. If warm temperatures and wind don't wreak too much havoc on the snowfall, Tuesday could be a powder day. Two more storms are in the pipeline for March 4-5 and March 8-9.

Update

After a sunny springlike weekend, we won't see much sun for the next 48 hours.

So here's your dose of the sun from Sandia Peak at 6:30 am Monday before the dense layer of clouds dominates.

Monday is a transition day with clouds, wind, and moisture moving into the state ahead of our next storm that will bring most impacts overnight Monday into Tuesday.

Over the last 24 hours, we have seen an uptick in the northern mountains' liquid precipitation forecast, with high elevations in the Sangre de Cristos approaching or surpassing 1" inch of liquid.

Here is the OpenSnow in-house downscaled GFS Ensemble for Taos showing the uptick over the last few model runs (the black line is the most recent model run).

Normally, a forecast of 1+ inch of liquid in late February would have me giddy for deep fluffy powder.

But I have two major concerns that give me pause with this storm: warm temperatures and extreme winds. 

The latest model guidance has the coldest temperatures remaining well to our north during the majority of the storm cycle and the cold front will barely graze the northern mountains on the tail end of the storm on Tuesday.

Winds will pick up through the day on Monday, and then reach extreme levels on Tuesday.

The combination of warm temperatures and strong wind (which compacts snowflakes together) does not do any favors for the snow-to-liquid ratios or snow quality.

Normally, in February we are stoked to have 15:1 to 18:1 snow ratios in New Mexico (1 inch of liquid = 15 or 18 inches of snow).

The snow quality forecast for Taos Ski Valley is a 9:1 snow-to-liquid ratio throughout the storm for wet, thick snow quality. This forecast takes into account wind which wreaks havoc on snow quality and snow ratios.

Ski Santa Fe, further south away from the grazing cold front comes in even lower in the 7:1 and 8:1 range.

Bottom Line

  • Snow should ramp up late Monday and tee up Tuesday morning for the best chance for powder in the northern mountains.
  • Expect dense, variable wind-affected snow quality and snow drifts on Tuesday morning.
  • Winds will be from the west-southwest so look for northeast and east-facing aspects for the best chance of wind-loaded and protected terrain.
  • Tuesday should be a storm ski day for the first half of the day with wind gusts over 50 mph in the northern mountains.
  • Here are my snowfall forecasts for each mountain through Tuesday that take into account the low snow ratios discussed above:
    • 6-10" Angel Fire
    • 1-4" Pajarito
    • 6-10" Red River
    • 0-3" Sandia Peak
    • 3-7" Sipapu
    • 0-1" Ski Apache
    • 4-8" Ski Santa Fe
    • 8-12" Taos Ski Valley

We will see several days of dry and warming weather from February 28 through March 3rd.

We continue to monitor two storms to round out the first week of March.

Thanks for reading and I will be back with a storm update on Tuesday morning.

Buckle up y'all! The next 36 hours should be one hell of a ride.

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)

About Our Forecaster

Julien Ross

Forecaster

Julien was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was introduced to skiing at age 7 through the public schools subsidized ski program at Ski Santa Fe. It was love at first turn and Julien has been chasing deep powder and good mogul lines ever since. Julien grew up fascinated by weather and studied physical geography with a focus on meteorology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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