Clearing skies on the way, but temperatures will fall

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FARMINGTON — Farmington residents woke up to a New Year's Day filled with more snow, ice and bitterly cold temperatures as a winter storm proceeds through the state.

The National Weather Service forecasts the wintry weather will continue over large portions of the state into tonight. A winter storm warning issued by the NWS states snow and frigid temperatures will continue, with the heaviest snowfall expected to continue falling over western and northern New Mexico.

The agency reports total snow accumulations of between 3 to 7 inches for elevations below 7,500 feet.

Wednesday's forecast is for mostly sunny skies with a daytime temperature of 19 degrees. The overnight is predicated to be mostly clear with a low of zero, according to the NWS.

The agency predicts weekend temperatures will be in the lower 20s during the day and low digits for the night.

Snow continued to fall throughout the morning, causing vehicles to travel slowly on city streets covered by ice and snow.

By noon, some residents were seen shoveling snow from driveways and sidewalks on Dustin Avenue.

Farmington Police Department Lt. Chad Byers said officers responded to three vehicle crashes reported today. Each one was a minor incident with no injuries, he said. Byers added there were 25 vehicle crashes reported on Monday in San Juan County, including Farmington.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office reported deputies responded to two vehicle crashes today.

Traffic moved steadily on East 20th Street near Farmington Avenue this morning.

Nearby, Ray Schritter used the blade attached to his four-wheeler to remove snow from the parking lot at Tax Pro, 1901 Farmington Ave. His wife owns and operates the tax preparation and escrow service business, and he was clearing the parking area for business to resume Wednesday.

"It'll be busy for her tomorrow," Schritter said before returning to clearing the snow.

The cold weather and the holiday caused the city's winter wet shelter, The Roof, to remain open during daylight hours today. The city owns the building and contracts with the Salvation Army to operate the shelter, located at 310 W. Animas St. next to the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

Assistant city manager Julie Baird said the facility opened at noon Monday to provide individuals with a place to stay, and be out of the cold and snow.

The regular hours of operation for The Roof are 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily during the winter months.

Baird said another reason the facility was opened was due to other public buildings being closed for New Year's Day, which limits options for people to keep warm.

"We're making sure it's available," Baird said.

A total of 51 people stayed at the facility on Sunday, and 63 people used its service on Monday, she said.

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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