Jet stream brings Arctic blast to eastern NM, Albuquerque unaffected

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In New Mexico, most of the state has avoided the Arctic blast, but the eastern part of the state and neighboring states like Colorado and Texas are not so lucky.

“The source of all this Arctic air is from interior Alaska, the Yukon, Northwest Territories, very far northwestern Canada,” said Randall Hergert, a National Weather Service forecaster in Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque metro is not feeling the impact because of the way the jet stream is oriented.

“The way the jet stream has been set up is just right for it to transport all of this very cold Arctic air right down the front range of the Rocky Mountains into the central plains and into eastern New Mexico,” Hergert said.

Hergert said this air mass is unique because it is breaking daily records in the eastern part of the state, while other regions are unaffected.

“It’s still in the ’40s at Clines Corners, just west of this air mass, but in the teens at Santa Rosa, just a few miles down the road.”

Its shallowness is keeping it to the eastern portion of the state.

“It’s not really deep enough to make it further westward say into the Rio Grande Valley or towards the Continental Divide, it’s just so cold and so dense it just hugs down towards the surface and it’s so shallow it just can’t make it that far west,” Hergert said.

Hergert said the Arctic air mass wind chill is dangerously cold, which can quickly cause frostbite and hypothermia. So, if you are in an impacted area, it’s best to stay indoors.