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Frigid temperatures, more snow could be on the way

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FARMINGTON — Winter weather arrived in the Four Corners area late Thursday, resulting in snow and temperatures remaining in the 20s today.

Sharon Sullivan, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said the Farmington area received up to two inches of snow overnight, with the possibility of more snow tonight.

According to the NWS, Aztec received four inches of snow, while Bloomfield, Kirtland and Waterflow received two inches.

Shiprock received light snow and not much accumulation, Sullivan said.

A winter storm warning for New Mexico remains in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday, she added. The weekend forecast calls for overnight temperatures in the single digits and daytime temperatures in the upper 20s to lower 30s.

"We've been in an active pattern," Sullivan said adding the next chance for snowfall is New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

The Four Corners Regional Airport reported a wind chill of 12 degrees at 2:53 p.m. today.

Residential streets in Farmington were icy and snowpacked this morning. Heavily traveled areas, like Main Street, were wet with slush by midmorning.

Chad Fuller, streets superintendent for the city of Farmington, said the department's on-call employee began calling personnel at 1:30 a.m. today, and employees have been plowing and using deicer on streets.

"We'll definitely continue as needed, for sure," Fuller said.

Farmington Police Department Lt. Chad Byers said officers responded to 11 vehicle crashes reported today, and only one crash resulted in minor injuries.

Byers said that side streets in Farmington remained icy, but thoroughfares like Main and 20th streets should be clear.

Patrol officers were partnering to ride in the department's patrol SUVs in response to the road conditions, he added.

San Juan County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jayme Harcrow said the agency started responding to calls around 5:54 a.m. today for vehicle-related incidents on county roads.

A deputy got her patrol vehicle stuck while trying to go uphill along County Road 350 near Crouch Mesa, Harcrow said. The patrol vehicle slid and briefly blocked traffic, she added. Two citizens exited their vehicle and helped push the patrol car so it could back down the hill, Harcrow said.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation reported difficult driving conditions for U.S. Highway 64, U.S. Highway 491, U.S. Highway 550, N.M. Highway 371, N.M. Highway 516 and N.M. Highway 170.

The winter weather also caused a few delays and closures for government offices and services.

The Navajo Nation executive and judicial branches issued two-hour delays for their divisions and offices.

Other closures included the 11th Judicial District courts in Farmington and Aztec, San Juan College's Health and Human Performance Center, the Social Security Administration office in Farmington and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomfield.

Not everyone found the weather an inconvenience. Farmington resident Ken McDonald was taking advantage of the snow by sledding with his 3-year-old granddaughter at Kiwanis Park on 30th Street. McDonald was using the Flexible Flyer sled he received as a Christmas present 50 years ago in Connecticut.

"Some antiques are better if they're used," McDonald said, adding the sled has been used by four generations of his family, and his granddaughter is the latest member to ride it.

"We are loving the snow, and now we're going to get some hot chocolate," McDonald said.

Natasha Young brought her sons and nieces to sled at the park. Young and her family arrived from San Diego on Christmas Eve to visit family in Farmington.

When visiting the area, she said they pack winter clothing, and this time, Young brought the sled.

"It's nice. I miss it. I've been in California for 18 years now. All my kids, they were born and raised there. They love this," she said about the snow.

Reporter Joshua Kellogg contributed to this report.

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

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