NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Well it’s here! The arctic blast of frigid temperatures and bitter wind chills is now slamming all of eastern New Mexico this afternoon. Wind chills are between -15° to -30° for Clayton, Raton, and Clovis. Highs will stay in the single digits all afternoon there as the front banks along the central mountain chain. Wind gusts will also be quite strong this afternoon as gusts will peak 50-55 mph for the Sangre de Cristo Mountains south into the Sandia/Manzanos. Conditions will not improve overnight as some colder air works into the Rio Grande Valley. It’ll even get breezier tonight for the metro area with wind chills around 20°. And so high temps will be several degrees cooler tomorrow compared to Thursday.

Forecast Continues Below

It’s not a bad day for western and central NM with temps already at 50° for Albuquerque under mainly sunny skies. Some lighter snow showers are possible far northwest later tonight into the San Juan Mountains, mainly for the ski resorts in southern Colorado. Otherwise sky conditions slowly clear from west to east Friday. But near record cold temperatures are expected for Roswell and southeastern NM! So bundle up if outdoors since frostbite can occur in minutes with wind chills well below 0°.

Christmas Eve will begin the warming trend statewide, with above average temps west and central. Eastern NM will moderate into the upper 30s under sunny skies. Christmas Day we’re finally much warmer east of the mountains, as the ABQ metro will reach near 50°. A ridge of high pressure builds over the desert southwest, setting up a milder week ahead for a few days.