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Red Apple bus service, courts affected by weather

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FARMINGTON — Sleds of various colors and shapes were in motion as people ventured to Civitan Park today to enjoy snow that fell during the latest winter storm to impact the Four Corners.

And more is on the way.

The chance for snow continues into Tuesday night. Farmington is forecast to receive between 3 to 6 inches, according to the National Weather Service. 

In a winter storm special weather briefing today, the agency reported snow developing over the Four Corners region and western New Mexico this morning.

Royce Fontenot, a senior service hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said the latest storm is expected to bring precipitation and low temperatures to New Mexico from today to Jan. 2.

Good news for sledders

Carl Faban was at the park to sled with family and friends.

"I love the snow. …We need it for the drought we're in," Faban said before sliding down one of the park's snow-covered hills.

Weather experts caution those going out in the cold to dress for the occasion and respect the potential dangers, such as hypothermia.

As of 11 a.m. today, the winter storm warning was in effect for a large portion of the state, including reduced visibility, bitter cold temperatures and possibilities for wind.

More: Year-end winter storm barrels into Four Corners area

The warning expands to include the Albuquerque metro area, Interstate 25 south of Albuquerque and the eastern Plains late tonight.

Farmington could experience winds up to 6 mph by 10 a.m. Tuesday, with the surrounding areas having winds up to 10 mph.

"When we start talking about snow plus wind plus cold temperatures, hypothermia becomes a risk," Fontenot said adding it is important to recognize the signs of hypothermia when cold weather occurs.

Temps to drop soon

A cold air mass is forecast to arrive after this winter storm, and cold temperatures will continue into the weekend, he said.

The storm prompted area courts to close for the second day in a row.

Aztec and Farmington magistrate courts were closed while the Aztec and Farmington district courts that were closed Friday were open until noon today.

"We wanted to be open today to give access for justice for people," Chief District Judge Karen Townsend said.

Some hearings were continued after court personnel found out the public defender's office was closed today, according to Townsend.

She added the internet outages late last week and the snow have not affected court dockets.

The San Juan County District Attorney's Office also closed early today due to weather, according to San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney  Dustin O'Brien.

The DA's office policy states the office closes when the Farmington District Court closes, O'Brien said.

The weather also prompted Red Apple Transit to initially delay service today, then cancel services later, according to its Facebook page.

Crews clear streets

Chad Fuller, streets superintendent for the City of Farmington, said crews started working to clear city streets at 5:30 a.m. today.

By mid-morning there were seven large trucks and five small trucks responding to major streets and thoroughfares in the city, he said.

"We've been watching the weather as it progresses today," Fuller said adding crews will be on call tonight and on Tuesday.

The NM Roads website, operated by the New Mexico Department of Transportation, listed difficult driving conditions for highways to and from Farmington.

Hesperus Ski Area opens

The recent snowfall allowed the Hesperus Ski Area to open for the season.

Hesperus received 21 inches of snow as of today, according to a press release from the operation.

More: Storm expected to bring snow as ski resort delays opening

The ski area, located between 11 miles west of Durango, Colorado, on U.S. Highway 160, opens with tubing and skiing starts at 10 a.m. Tuesday, the release states.

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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