Cold temperatures, snow arrive in San Juan County

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Snow covers a rabbitbrush on Oct. 28 in Sheep Springs.

FARMINGTON — Cold temperatures and snow arrived in San Juan County at the start of this week as a recent storm system impacted New Mexico and Colorado.

The National Weather Service reports total snow accumulation up to an inch in the county, with close to an inch and a half near Aztec.

Although the recent system exited the afternoon of Oct. 28, the extended forecast for Farmington shows daytime temperatures in the lower 50s on Oct. 29, the mid-30s on Oct. 30, the lower 40s on Oct. 31 and the lower 50s on Nov. 1.

The overnight temperature for Oct. 29 will be in the lower 20s as the next system arrives, according to Sharon Sullivan, a Weather Service meteorologist in Albuquerque.

That system will keep temperatures low and conditions dry, she said, then added the temperature for Halloween evening is forecast in the mid to upper 30s.

While the storm on Oct. 28 brought snow to the northwest region, it did not impact drought conditions, Sullivan said.

The U.S. Drought Monitor classifies San Juan County as being in a severe drought.

Sullivan said so far, the winter outlook is above normal temperatures and a "mixed bag" of precipitation.

Cedar berries are covered by snow south of Farmington on Oct. 28.

Winter preparedness urged

Snow blanketed Farmington, Aztec, Bloomfield and Shiprock as well as communities along U.S. Highway 491 on the Navajo Nation on the morning of Oct. 28.

In comments to the Navajo Nation Council during the fall session on Oct. 21, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez reminded delegates and audience members about the incoming winter weather.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

"As we approach the winter season, let us work together to prepare our people for the cold weather and all the challenges that come with it," Nez said.

He added that last winter his administration declared an emergency in advance of snowstorms that brought flooding and muddy conditions to several communities.

"It is incumbent upon us to remind our people, chapters and others to prepare ahead of time to ensure that our children, elders and disabled are taken care of for the winter season," Nez said.

Winter shelter replaces The Roof

Animal tracks are seen in snow south of Farmington on Oct. 28.

The winter shelter at Totah Behavioral Health Authority will open on Nov. 1 and will operate through March 31, 2020.

It is replacing the service provided by The Roof, which is no longer in operation, according to Kristine Carlson, program and clinical administrator for Totah.

The shelter's hours of operation will be from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily and located at Totah's campus at 1615 Ojo Court in Farmington.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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