Record New Mexico Snowstorm

December 28-30, 2006

Driving to Santa Fe for the New Years holiday, we were fortunate to arrive just ahead of the record snowstorm that has impacted most of northern New Mexico since Thursday. We arrived midday Thursday, December 28, to occasional snow showers. The accumulating snow began around 7:00 p.m. Thursday and snow has fallen almost continuously since them up to the time I am writing this, 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Winter storm warnings continue through tonight.

At our location, I have measured 20 inches, but the actual amount is probably more, as the snow on the ground has compacted somewhat. There are reports of up to 25 inches in parts of Santa Fe and 24 inches even in parts of Albuquerque, which usually does not get a whole lot of snow. At the Albuquerque airport, yesterday broke the record for one-day snowfall, with over 11 inches. In the mountains, some ski areas have received 25-30 inches. And ALL of these totals are with snow still falling. As of this morning, Interstate 25 is closed from Albuquerque to somehwere in Colorado, and Interstate 40 from Albuquerque to Amarillo. Had we been 12 hours later than we were driving here, we would have been stuck for days.

The following sequence of photos of the snow accumulating on a patio table and chairs and a chiminea (the object near the middle) shows how the snow piled up.

7:00 a.m. Friday

6:00 p.m. Friday

8:00 a.m. Saturday

Here are a couple other pics that give a good sense of the amount of snow:

UPDATE - January 2, 2007 - Storm totals in Santa fe ranged from around 22 to over 25 inches. I measured 21 here, but the total was almost certainly more because when I took the first measurement Friday evening, it had already been snowing 23 hours, so the amount on the ground would have compacted somewhat by then. Hence, the true total snowfall here was likely between 22 and 24 inches, pretty much in line with other reports. The local newspaper reported a record snowfall of 25.3 inches, but I do not know if that is an official total. Around 15 miles south of Santa Fe, where the most intense part of the snow band lingered the longest, 27-31 inches fell, and some ski areas got even more, including 58 inches at Angel Fire and 36 inches at Pajarito.

In Albuquerque, the 24-hour snowfall record was broken, and the 16+ inches that fell at the airport contributed to making December the snowiest month on record there. In the northeast heights and foothills, up to 2 feet of snow fell. The storm caused extended closures of interstate highways and secondary routes, with Interstates 40 and 25 closed on and off over a period of 3 or 4 days. Even now, a few roads remain closed, especially in northeast New Mexico where strong winds whipped up to 30 inches of snow into 14 and 15 foot drifts.

A detailed report on the storm from the National Weather Service in Albuquerque can be found here - read the section titled "Final Storm of 2006 - An Impressive One."

Check back - Within the next few days I will be posting some additional photos showing the beauty of the snow from this storm in New Mexico's deserts and mountains.

FINALLY - As promised, the above-promised photos can be seen here. Enjoy!