Merry Christmas. Warm and sunny today, with highs in the 70’s as a strong winter storm that will bring snow and possible blizzard conditions to the region over the weekend approaches. Travel conditions will deteriorate on Saturday with hazardous conditions through Sunday.
From the National Weather Service:
As of 4:30 AM CST Christmas Day…It won`t feel like
winter today…BUT…an abrupt change is just around the corner.
It will be mild and dry this Christmas with southwest flow aloft
ahead of a deepening trof. Water vapor imagery is showing a deep
trof centered over the Rockies. Comparing the GOES High Density
Winds with model forecasts there is little initial difference
between the GFS and ECMWF.
As the trof continues to deepen and move slowly east a cutoff low
will develop over the triple point of SW New Mexico/SE Arizona/
Northern Mexico Saturday. An arctic front will drop south during
the day Saturday accompanied by strong gusty north winds and
falling temps. High temps on Saturday will be in the
morning…especially over the northern half of the CWA. There
could be a few showers/thunderstorms in the east…with rain
moving into the western CWA.
As the upper low tracks east roughly along Interstate 10 and with
arctic air entrenched over most of the CWA rain will rapidly
change over to snow Saturday evening and become locally heavy at
times into Sunday. With a strong LLJ and deepening sfc
cyclogenesis winds will become strong and gusty. Even though it is
not in the forecast it would not be surprising to even have
thundersnow late Sat night as timeheight x-sections do indc
strong omega and some potential instability. Due to the strong
winds and locally heavy snow have upgraded the Winter Storm Watch
to a Blizzard Watch for SE NM…NW Permian Basin…and the
Guadalupe Mtns. Whiteout conditions are likely at times with snow
drifts greater than 5 feet possible. Have added Pecos County to
the Winter Storm Watch.
Initial mild ground temps will inhibit snow accumulations at the
start of the snowfall. As of now would expect 6-12 inches with
locally higher amounts in the Blizzard Watch area…and 3-6 inches
with locally heavier amounts in the Winter Storm Watch area.
Very cold nights and cold days are expected through most of next
Travel will become extremely hazardous Saturday night and Sunday
as whiteout conditions are possible. Travel should be avoided
unless it is an emergency. With the expected snow and strong
winds pets should be kept indoors.