Winter storm fades in San Juan County, but more snow on way

Snowfall totals ranged from mere dusting to 9 inches

The Daily Times staff

FARMINGTON — With the sky beginning to clear and a weak sun starting to shine, a 36-hour winter storm that dumped several inches of snow on the region appeared to have played itself out this afternoon in San Juan County.

But the blue skies expected to prevail across much of the Four Corners on Wednesday are likely to be only a reprieve from winter. Another storm is expected in the area Thursday, extending into Friday night.

Piedra Vista High School student Albert Garcia, 15, completes a sled run down a hill near the intersection of East 30th Street and College Boulevard Tuesday in Farmington.

A winter storm warning issued for northwest New Mexico by the National Weather Service in Albuquerque early Monday was set to expire at 5 p.m. today. In most locations, the storm was as good as advertised, heaping snow on an area that has been locked in an extreme to exceptional drought for several months.

WEATHER:Officials: Winter storms help, but drought not over yet

A map of wind and precipitation reports on the NWS Albuquerque web site showed varying snow totals for San Juan County. The heaviest was from a location 8 miles north of Aztec, where snowfall totaling 9 inches was reported. A total of 5 inches reportedly fell at a location 1 mile east-southeast of Cedar Hill, while 6.5 inches of snow was reported at a location 1 mile southeast of Aztec and 7.5 inches was reported 2 miles west-southwest of Aztec.

Canada geese sit along a snow-covered path Tuesday at Riverside Park in Aztec.

Closer to Farmington, there was a little less precipitation. A total of 4.2 inches was reported 3 miles southeast of the city, just north of U.S. Highway 64, and 3.5 inches reportedly fell at a site 3 miles south of Farmington. One report in the city indicated only a half-inch fell, but another report from northwest Farmington showed 2.8 inches had fallen.

The weather led to the cancellation of all public schools in San Juan County, as well as the closure of all campuses of San Juan College.

A horse sculpture on the south lawn of the Farmington Public Library is framed by the snow-covered branches of a tree Tuesday.

The snow's impact on local drivers appeared to be limited. Farmington Police Department spokesperson Georgette Allen said there were three minor vehicle crashes that officers responded to today.

A crash on West Main Street led to one woman being treated by paramedics for minor injuries.

A pine cone clings to a snow-laden pinon pine branch Tuesday at Lions Wilderness Park in Farmington.

Allen said two vehicles crashed on Navajo Route 36, and a few cars got stuck in the snow on the road.

San Juan County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jayme Harcrow said deputies had taken two accident reports over the last day and responded to six vehicle incidents.

A crowd of approximately two dozen people gathered at a snow-covered hill at the northwest intersection of East 30th Street and College Boulevard this morning to get in some outdoor fun.

Brothers Henry and Albert Garcia were among them. Henry, 20, a local lifeguard, and Albert, 15, a Piedra Vista High School student, repeatedly clawed their way up the slick hill and rode either a sled or a large red plastic disc down. But their fun ended when Henry's disc developed a large split down the middle after he hit a bump.

The grounds at Lions Wilderness Park in Farmington are covered in snow Tuesday after a winter storm moved through the area.

Weather conditions are expected to improve Wednesday with mostly sunny skies expected for San Juan County and a high near 30 degrees, according to the NWS forecast. But a 30 percent chance of snow is forecast for Wednesday night, and those odds increase to 50 percent on Thursday and 70 percent Thursday night. The snow is expected to continue into Friday night before tapering off.

RELATED:Latest storm brings minimal moisture to Farmington

Partly sunny to sunny skies are expected for the weekend, with daytime highs in the low 30s.

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Snow clings to reeds growing along the banks of a pond Tuesday at Riverside Park in Aztec.