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Weather Service: Sleet, snow could arrive today

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Chaves County could experience freezing rain starting this morning, with the possibility of snow tonight and continuing through Saturday morning.

But a Roswell Independent School District official said there seems to be little chance of freezing conditions in this area to deter normal bus routes and school starting times today.

Chad Cole, vice president of operations, said the information the district had by Thursday afternoon showed that the most severe conditions would likely be experienced in west Texas, and moving toward the Clovis area.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service ssued a winter storm watch for six counties in southeastern New Mexico, including the plains and southwestern portions of Chaves County, which includes Roswell. Other counties in the watch include Curry, Roosevelt, DeBaca, Lincoln and Quay.

“A storm system approaching from southern California will interact with a cold front entering eastern New Mexico (Thursday) to produce a wide variety of winter weather Friday through Saturday,” the advisory read.

The National Weather Service indicated that drivers should plan on slippery road conditions and added, “Significant travel impacts are possible over southeastern New Mexico, including parts of Interstate 40, U.S Highway 285 and U.S. Highway 70.”

The area forecast included the possibility of 4 inches of accumulated snow during the period in some areas of the region, but the zone forecast for the Roswell area predicted primarily light sleet and snow possible through Saturday afternoon.

If sleet and snow arrive, drivers are advised by the New Mexico Department of Transportation to drive slowly, leave plenty of room between their car and the vehicles in front of them and around any snow plows, and use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and darkened areas where ice is likely to form. As always, drivers and passengers are urged to wear seat belts.

Area residents also should consider the possibility that power could go out if ice forming on power lines or tree lines causes damage to electrical lines, poles or other equipment, said a statement from Xcel Energy. The company said it is moving crews and supplies in response to possible stormy weather.

“Anyone staying in a home without power should keep a supply of batteries, food, water and warm blankets, and use extreme caution with candles or (open-flame) heating devices,” Xcel’s announcement said. “Customers should also be careful to properly vent portable generators and gas heaters.”

People are cautioned to stay away from areas with downed electrical lines and to contact their electricity provider in the event of power outages or damaged lines or equipment.