Southwest winter storm moves into New Mexico; up to foot of snow possible in northeast mountains


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A series of slow-moving winter storms that wreaked havoc in Southern California and left 3 feet (91 centimeters) of snow in northern Arizona made its way Saturday into New Mexico, where a stretch of U.S. highway south of the Colorado line was closed and as much as a foot (30 cm) of snow was possible in some mountain areas.

A winter storm warning remained in effect for parts of north-central and northeast New Mexico until 5 a.m. Sunday. That included the Sante Fe area, where up to 14 inches (36 cm) of snow was possible in the mountains to the east and up to a half-foot (15 cm) in the upper elevations to the west, forecasters said.

National Park officials closed the Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, New Mexico Saturday afternoon “due to worsening weather.” The city of Albuquerque closed most city parks, golf courses and recreation areas.

Most interstates and highways remained open, but a 40-mile (64-kilometer) stretch of U.S. Highway 64 south of the Colorado line was closed because of blowing snow in near-blizzard conditions, the New Mexico Department of Transporation said.

“Winter weather travel impacts will become widespread today and tonight, then linger over east-central and southeast areas on Sunday,” the National Weather Service in Albuquerque said Saturday afternoon. It said travel would be difficult to impossible Saturday night into Sunday along some stretches of I-25 and likely affected along the I-40 corridor from Albuquerque east to the Texas line.

The storm system slowly moved out of California early Wednesday after days of wind, record rain and heavy snowfall that caused power outages, street flooding and hundreds of destructive mudslides around Los Angeles. It dumped 3 feet (91 cm) of snow over three days in Flagstaff, Arizona, closing long stretches of interstate before tracking east on Friday.

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