By Emily Crowe
CMI staff writer
The season’s first dose of winter weather is headed toward eastern New Mexico this evening.
That means freezing temperatures and a chance of snow.
Meteorologist Jason Frazier, who works at the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said the system will likely begin late this evening and stick around until Sunday evening or early Monday.
“As we get into daytime Friday, we’re looking at temperatures being upwards of 20 to 30 degrees colder than Thursday’s highs,” Frazier said. “We’re looking at temperatures around the mid-30s for a high.”
Frazier said with the cold weather will come a chance for freezing rain and sleet.
“This is not a phenomenon we see very often here in New Mexico,” he said.
Freezing rain could turn to a snow mixture Saturday before becoming mostly snow Sunday.
The weather situation is fluid, so Frazier recommends monitoring the weather and local news outlets to see what potential hazards the system might bring.
He also recommends completing any cold weather home preparations before the weekend as pipes could be tested with the freeze.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation has advised its snowplows and trucks are loaded and ready to apply salt and cinder to icy roads where needed.
Clovis Emergency Management Director Dan Heerding said residents should practice basic precautions in case the weather brings power outages.
He recommended making sure vehicles are full of gas, alternative heat sources are available and extra food and water is readily available.
“Just be prepared if anything happens,” he said.
Additional precautions and preparations for cold weather
• Winterize your home, outdoor shed or any structure that may provide shelter to family, livestock or equipment.
• Clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
• Protect pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
• Have sufficient heating fuel as regular fuel sources may be cut off.
• Never use a gas range or oven for heating in the case of a power outage.
• Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
Source: National Weather Service