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Winter storm to bring ice, snow through Wednesday

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An unseasonably strong winter storm could bring up to 8 inches of snow to the Roswell area by Wednesday morning.

A winter storm warning is in effect for much of northern and eastern New Mexico including Chaves County until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Precipitation was forecast to start as sleet and freezing rain late Monday night and then change to snow overnight, with 1 to 2 inches possible by sunrise Tuesday, David Craft, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said.

That combination could make for some dangerous driving conditions.

“I would expect at least bridges and overpasses to be icy, but it’s been cold now for long enough that I would definitely be very cautious on the roadways. There should at least be some icy spots if not a nice glaze on the road. Eventually the snow is going to start falling on top of that and that will be especially hazardous,” Craft said.

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Craft advised drivers to check road conditions at www.nmroads.com or by calling 511.

During the day Tuesday, another 3 to 6 inches of snow is possible, and then 1 to 3 inches Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Craft said while Roswell has seen bigger snowstorms, this one is unusual for the time of year.

“As early in the season it is, especially given that we’ve had such a warm and dry year, it’s making everybody really notice. That’s the hallmark of climate change is more extremes,” Craft said.

Record low temperatures can be expected, he said. Tuesday morning’s forecast low of 22 degrees could give the area its first hard freeze. Wednesday morning, temperatures will likely again be in the 20s.

“The growing season is coming to an end,” Craft said.

The snow could bring a bit of relief for the dry conditions. Craft said colder temperatures often mean a light snow with little moisture, but as temperatures warm to near 30 Tuesday, the snow could be heavier with more moisture content.

The expected snow could bring the equivalent of 0.84 inch of water, he said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.