Updated: Tuesday, 29 Dec 2009, 11:11 PM MST
Published : Tuesday, 29 Dec 2009, 11:11 PM MST
ROSWELL, N.M. (KBIM-KRQE) - Southeastern New Mexico saw snow on and off throughout Tuesday, but by evening it was fog causing problems and closing a major highway east of Carlsbad.
At about 5 p.m. the New Mexico Department of Transportation reported U.S. Highway 62-180 was closed about 15 miles east of Carlsbad. A large truck had broken down on the highway, which would not have been a problem except for the dense fog blanketing the area.
Traffic between Carlsbad and Hobbs was being rerouted onto State Highway 31 linking U.S. 62-180 to U.S. 285 south of Carlsbad until the highway reopened late in the evening.
Early Tuesday evening patchy fog was reported on U.S. 285 south of Clines Corners, and the National Weather Service issued an advisory for freezing fog overnight in Eddy and Lea counties. The advisory warned ice was likely to form on bridges and overpasses.
In just a few hours 1-3 inches of snow fell in the Pecos River Valley and surrounding areas. Most of it melted on the street because it was too warm to stick.
Earlier in the day travel on U. S. 285 was slow going at times due to a few slick spots and poor visibility.
Snow plows kept busy clearing the thin blanket of snow on the road. The fresh snow kept some people inside, but others were not fazed by it at all.
Rusty Smith and his son played in the snow near Roswell's Cahoon Park. Smith told KRQE News 13 he travels to New Mexico from Texas each year for winter weather.
"It's better than in San Antonio," he said. "We come over here to play during the winter, and we finally got it this year. So we are just out enjoying it."
Gabriel Posada normally cuts his friends' hair on his Roswell porch, and Tuesday's snow did not stop him.
In the late morning hours he could be seen clipping as both hair and snow flakes fell to the ground. Posada said he prefers working out in the snow and in the cold weather.
He said Roswell is great when it comes to snow because of its timing.
"It just snows one day, and it's gone the next," he said. "That's just how it is, and even if we get 2 feet of snow here, it's gone by the next day."
Even with snow on some roads, Roswell police and the Chaves County Sheriff's Department said the snow did not lead to any crashes.
Later in the day, however, New Mexico State Police reported officers responded to at least a dozen weather-related traffic accidents during the day in Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties. All the accidents were said to be minor, and there were no reported injuries.
Sections of Interstate 40 just east of Albuquerque were hit hard by Tuesday's storm, and the snowy roads forced drivers to slow down.
Around noon snowfall started to taper off in the eastern portion of the state.
I-40 was dicey starting about five miles east of Clines Corners. There a dusting of snow mixed with high winds created limited visibility.
State Department of Transportation trucks were out, but they kept their plows were up while spreading sand on the pavement.
News 13 spotted a few abandoned vehicles on the side of the
interstate, but as of noon there were no accidents reported on the
stretch of road from Clines Corners to Santa Rosa.