NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – State health officials are warning New Mexicans to protect themselves against extreme cold temperatures ahead of Christmas as a blast of arctic air moves across the state. Over the next three days, forecasts from KRQE News 13 and data from the National Weather Service indicate that several areas in New Mexico are expected to see frigid temperatures, with some parts seeing temps in the single digits and the teens.

The cold weather is expected to begin creeping into New Mexico tonight (Wednesday,) with hazardous crosswinds and dangerous wind chills. While the cold weather is expected to have impacts statewide, residents in eastern and northeastern New Mexico are expected to see the coldest weather through Saturday morning.

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With strong northerly winds and cold temperatures, the New Mexico Department of Health warns New Mexicans to watch out for hypothermia and frostbite. In 2021, 178 New Mexicans were hospitalized for cold-related illnesses. NMDOH warns New Mexicans to “minimize time outdoors and dress in warm layers.”

NMDOH is also urging New Mexicans to check in on their neighbors, particularly those who live alone. Cold weather is expected to continue in New Mexico through Saturday morning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Another concern comes with the use of heating equipment. NMDOH says there are far more carbon monoxide poisonings that happen in the winter months. A deadly gas, carbon monoxide, can build up in an enclosed space and is not easily detected because it is colorless and odorless. Here’s a list of common sources for carbon monoxide and areas where the gas can build up:

  • Faulty home furnaces, heaters, fireplaces and stoves.
  • In garages, campers, or tents when outdoor appliances are used in an enclosed space.
  • Inside a garage or shed due to a vehicle engine running.
  • In your car, truck or SUV, if the tailpipe gets clogged with mud or snow.