The National Weather Service has changed snow amounts required for winter storm watches and warnings and winter weather advisories.
According to the Albuquerque NWS, the new amounts were determined based on climatology and impacts like road closures that occurred with particular snow amounts. In some cases the criteria was lowered, and in other cases some increased by an inch. This effort also allows for more consistency from region to region.
“If we get a snow storm and we are forecasting 2-4 inches of snow, then we will be issuing a winter weather advisory. If we are forecasting snow amounts of 4 inches or more, then we will issue a winter storm watch about 48 hours in advance of the event and then a warning 24 hours in advance. Most of the changes were over the Continental Divide and Gila Region, where some of the higher elevations had 10 inches of snow as the warning criteria, which has been lowered to 6 inches,” Warning Coordination Meteorologist Scott Overpeck said.
Overpeck also said that Rio Rancho will have higher precipitation amounts this winter.
“As for a winter season outlook — with El Nino expected to change the weather pattern for more storm systems moving over New Mexico — there is a 30-40% chance of above-normal precipitation for the winter. How much of that is snow really depends upon temperatures and moisture with each storm system, so we cannot give you an precise amount for the winter,” he said.
Daily weather updates will continue to be published on the Observer website throughout the year.