Temperatures will drop to freezing or below as a winter storm system moves into Quay County, said Jennifer Palucki of the National Weather Service Albuquerque.
“The actual snow fall will begin Friday evening,” Palucki said. “The heaviest band of snow is expected to pass over Quay County or just to the west of it.”
Palucki said there is a potential for significant snow accumulation from Friday night into Saturday morning.
The NWS forecast show the possibility of 8-to-12 inches falling in Quay County between Friday night and Saturday morning.
“Snow possibilities will continue on Saturday with isolated showers,” Palucki said. “The forecasted temperatures will be highs in the mid 30s and lows ranging mid-to-low teens.
Palucki said forecast models show a secondary cold front will drop the temperatures even more on Saturday. She said this initial band will end Saturday night and another storm system possibly moving in late Sunday or early next week.
“Forecast models show the second system possibly hitting Quay County,” Palucki said. “Though it is still too early to say if it that is for certain.”
In preparation for the storm system New Mexico Department of Transportation crews are gearing up to run 12-hour shifts to keep the roads and bridges safe for travel.
“As long as the storm system is going we will be out there,” said Ed Lafferty, supervisor of Tucumcari's NMDOT yard.
Lafferty said the state’s trucks are being equipped with snow plows and loaded with a salt cinder mixture.
New Mexico State Police are asking people not to travel unless necessary during the storm system.
“If you can avoid traveling during this storm system that would be the best,” said Lt. Lance Baitman.
Baitman said snow and icy road conditions can prove hazardous for travelers. He said drivers should use extra caution while out in the inclement weather.
“Drive at a slower speed,” Baitman said. “Increase the distance between you and the other vehicle. This will give added distance if you need to stop.”
Baitman said motorists wanting to check on road conditions are advised to call the state’s road condition hotline at 800-432-4269.
“We would like people to call the hotline to check on road conditions instead of call the dispatch ,” Baitman said. “We do not want to tie up dispatch with road inquiries while we have officers out on the roads.”
Local residents are also preparing for this wintry storm system flocking to local hardware stores for winterizing material.
“Over the past couple of days we have seen an increase of customers, more so today (Thursday),” said Alan Wright, manager of Ace Hardware.
Wright said customers have been buying items to winterize their homes including door and window coverings, pipe insulators, faucet covers and crack filler.
“We have had several customers come in for equipment to drain their swamp coolers,” Wright said. “They are just now removing them from their windows preparing for winter.”
Wright said with the temperatures dropping the residents are now feeling the urgency of preparing for colder weather.
“Once the snow starts falling I expect we will see an increase of people coming in to buy snow shovels and ice melt.” Wright said.
Road conditions hot lines