A strong winter storm system will bring heavy snow, wind, and rain to parts of New Mexico into the New Year with travel problems likely on New Year’s Day.

Most of New Mexico remained relatively quiet and cool today. It was another breezy afternoon in the eastern half of the state. Moisture is starting to stream into southwestern New Mexico this evening with lower elevation rain and mountain snow. Moisture will make another push into the state from the southwest early Friday morning bringing moderate rainfall and heavy mountain snow to southern New Mexico. Rain and mountain snow will increase in coverage and intensity across the western and norther parts of the state into the Rio Grande Valley. That will continue to increase in intensity into the overnight as a Pacific cold front sweeps across the state. This cold front will also drop snow levels down to valley floors as it moves through. Precipitation will taper off through the morning on New Year’s Day, but a backdoor cold front will bring snow chances to northeastern New Mexico through Saturday afternoon before moisture from the storm system exits by Saturday night.

Travel problems will be likely where heavy snow falls New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day. This will especially be true in parts of western and northern New Mexico, along with areas into the East Mountains. Once the snow moves out, bitterly cold air will settle in for the first weekend of the new year. Wind chill values on Sunday morning will range from teens above zero to teens below zero.

Our active weather pattern comes to an end though after this winter storm system as high pressure returns early next week. This will keep drier conditions in place and also allow high temperatures to climb back above average for early January.