Winter storm brings snow to San Juan County

Navajo Nation's Commission on Emergency Management declares state of emergency for tribe

Joshua Kellogg
Kyle Mcliverty rides his sled down a hill as Chase Barlow looks on at Kiwanis Park in Farmington on Tuesday.
  • The storm brought 9 inches of snow to an area five miles southwest of Toadlena.
  • CCSD has rescheduled its high school parent-teacher conference for Wednesday.
  • Along with school districts and San Juan College, the Aztec and Farmington magistrate courts were closed today.

FARMINGTON — A winter storm that brought several inches of snow overnight to San Juan County prompted public school districts and San Juan College to cancel classes today.

There were reports of 3.5 to 4.8 inches of snow around Farmington and 3 inches near Bloomfield from Monday night's storm, according to Troy Marshall, a meteorological technician with the National Weather Service office in Albuquerque.

Nine inches of snow were reported about five miles southwest of Toadlena, Marshall said.

The inclement weather led the Aztec Municipal School District, Bloomfield School District, Central Consolidated School District and Farmington Municipal School District to cancel classes today.

Parent-teacher conferences for CCSD high school students have been rescheduled for Wednesday,  from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to a district press release.

Due to the schedule change, high school students will not have class Wednesday.

San Juan College campuses in Aztec, Farmington and Kirtland were also closed today, along with the Aztec and Farmington Magistrate Courts.

Megan Riggs prepares to sled down a hill with her daughter, Chloe Schlotthauer, and dog, Maddie, while Eric Schlotthauer looks on at Kiwanis Park in Farmington on Tuesday.

The Navajo Nation's Commission on Emergency Management declared a state of emergency for the tribe today. The declaration was in response to severe snowstorms, muddy conditions and concerns for the public health and safety for residents.

The declaration makes resources available for communities and activates emergency resources, such as funding for personnel and equipment.

In comments to the tribal council on Monday in Window Rock, Ariz., Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said seven chapters had declared states of emergency in response to the weather.

Today, Delegate Seth Damon asked delegates to have chapters submit emergency declarations to the tribe’s Division of Community Development as part of the effort to open funding for resources. Damon said out of the 110 chapters, only White Cone, Low Mountain and St. Michaels, all in Arizona, had submitted declarations.

The recent storm could help parts of the county that are below the average amount of snow for January.

The Daily Times reported that, as of Monday, the Farmington Agriculture Science Center weather station had measured 0.6 inches of snowfall so far this month, which was below its average for this month of 2.4 inches.

As of this afternoon, the weather station had not yet reported its snowfall, according to the National Weather Service.  A report that includes Monday night’s snowfall is expected Wednesday morning.

Sophie Powers places a snow brick on her igloo at Kiwanis Park in Farmington on Tuesday.

For law enforcement, the snow caused a small number of vehicle wrecks.

Three vehicles slid off U.S. Highway 64 near County Road 2350 in the Cedar Hill area around 4:45 p.m. today, according to San Juan County Sheriff's Office detective Lt. Kyle Lincoln. A truck driven by a Sheriff's Office detective was involved in a vehicle roll-over in the same area. Lincoln said the detective was not injured.

Farmington had no weather-related vehicle wrecks or collisions this morning, according to Farmington Police Department Spokeswoman Georgette Allen.

At Kiwanis Park in Farmington, the storm provided an opportunity for parents and children to throw snowballs, build a snowman and sled down park hills.

Five-year-old Sophie Powers spent part of today building an igloo with bricks made of snow with her mother, Anissa Powers, and her mother's boyfriend, Stephen Estrada.

Anissa Powers said the last time she played outside in the snow was before her daughter was born.

For Sophie, her favorite part was assembling the igloo with the snow bricks because it reminded her of the video game "Minecraft."

Reporter Noel Lyn Smith contributed to this report.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.