2016 rolls in with cold, sunny weather

Hannah Grover
Derrell Cohoe, front, checks his handiwork after replacing a tire at the start of a family bike trip on Saturday at Berg Park in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – After experiencing a white Christmas, the Four Corners region returned to sunny conditions for the New Year, but meteorologists predict this winter will receive more moisture than previous years.

The sunny but cold weather follows a wet and warm December. In mid-December, a storm system brought rain and snow to northern New Mexico. That was followed by what the National Weather Service has described as the biggest storm of the year, which rolled into the state around Christmas.

While this weekend has been sunny, chances of precipitation appear in the forecast for the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service. NWS officials predict that up to four moderate storm systems could pass through the area between Monday and Saturday.

"Those will provide the chance for some rain or snow," said Chuck Jones, a meteorologist for the NWS in Albuquerque.

But he said the individual storms do not look like they will bring "a heck of a lot" of moisture.

'I'm always careful!' 7-year-old Skyler Cohoe says to his mom, Ali Cohoe, before hopping on his bike and heading down the trail on Saturday at Berg Park in Farmington.

Last year brought an end to the drought in New Mexico, but San Juan County and other portions of northwest New Mexico remain classified as abnormally dry by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Jones said the El Niño weather patterns will help provide more moisture for the area. The El Niño is caused by warm temperatures near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, which increases the amount of moisture in the air. Jones said the moisture is picked up by the jet stream and carried to the southern United States.

While the El Niño will affect southern New Mexico more, Jones said it will also bring moisture to the San Juan River valley.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.