Winter got a snowy start in 2021-2022 in Rio Rancho. (Garrison Wells/Observer)
Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a colder than normal winter for New Mexico.
“Chilly,” the prediction goes. “Bone-chilling cold.”
“Got flannel? Hot chocolate? Snowshoes? It’s time to stock up! According to our extended forecasts, this winter season will have plenty of snow, rain, and mush — as well as some record-breaking cold temperatures,” the publication forecast said.
This winter, the forecast continues, will take its first bite of winter earlier than last year. December 2022 looks stormy and cold nationwide, with an active storm pattern developing and hanging around for most of the season over the eastern half of the country.
Indeed, according to the extended forecast, “there should be quite a few significant winter weather disturbances nationwide in 2022-2023.”
A few of these dates include:
1) The first week of January in the Rockies and across the plains. During this time, we see good potential for heavy snow that may reach as far south as Texas and Oklahoma, followed by a sweep of bitterly cold air.
2) January 16-23, we’ll raise another red flag for bouts of heavy rain and snow across the eastern two-thirds of the country, followed by what might be one of the coldest outbreaks of arctic air we have seen in several years. How cold? Try 40 degrees below zero.
The National Weather Service has a slightly different take, although both forecasts include the possibility of some major winter storms in the state.
“We are expecting what is known a triple-dip La Nina — very rare — three winters with La Nina in the Pacific Ocean,” said Albuquerque-based meteorologist Brian Guyer. “Typically, La Nina results in drier than normal precipitation for most of New Mexico and that would be from winter through spring.”
Higher terrains of the state, however, will see more normal amounts of rain and snow.
While Guyer said he expects warmer temperatures overall this winter, however, “La Nina does bring some extremely cold air into the region at times as was seen in 2011.”
That year, he said, there was a massive arctic outbreak that hit the U.S. and residents in Red River, and even in Albuquerque, had burst pipes because of the cold.
“It can bring record cold like that,” Guyer said.
This winter makes for a tough prediction, he said, because in modern times there has never been a triple La Nina during a changing climate, so “it’s hard to know.”
In the last two years, he added, the state got a decent start on snowfall, but by February the weather dried out.