Winter storm causes snowy conditions across New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — KOB 4 crews were out Tuesday after a winter storm caused snowy conditions across New Mexico.
State transportation officials told KOB 4 state police shut down New Mexico 536 up toward Sandia Ski basin late Tuesday night because of snowy road conditions. But that wasn’t the case for folks in other parts of the metro.
Rio Rancho and Bernalillo both had snow days but minus the snow. The conditions that prompted public school districts in both metro cities to let the children stay home seemed to clear up by lunch time.
Rio Rancho Public Schools sent KOB 4 a statement saying they wanted to play it safe because they have a wide boundary, including roads that are dirt and not considered safe for buses.
It was also an early release day, so cancelling just made it easier for everyone.
State transportation officials are saying wind and ice north of Albuquerque are still a concern, and as this storm passes through the state they’ll remain ready to go.
“We’ll continue to be out there and just whatever we can do there, just ensure that those roadways are safe and clear of ice will be out there and show our presence,” said Kimberly Gallegos, NMDOT spokesperson.
Play it safe and don’t be on the roads if you don’t have to especially in areas like here in the East Mountains.
There wasn’t quite as much snow in Santa Fe, only a few inches, but that was still enough to cancel school and give most government workers a day off.
It was a different story for small businesses downtown who say Mother Nature has to try harder to keep them closed.
Dorothy Massey has been running “Collected Works Bookstore” for more than two decades, and says it takes a lot more than snow to keep them closed.
“The small business mindset is ‘get open, welcome the people and get it done,’” said Massey. “There are enough of us with the dedication to getting the store open, that it usually is not a problem.”
A few shops did stay closed Wednesday with most blaming the winter weather. But it was businesses as usual for other places which is good news for all the tourists in town.
“We were not expecting snow at all. We just like ‘okay, this will be great, we’ll come out to sunny New Mexico. We’ll do Albuquerque and come up to Santa Fe and have a great time up here,’” said Mona Fusco, a visitor from the Bay area.
Massey and plenty of other folks KOB 4 talked to say the snow we saw the past few days is only average. They are more excited that we’re getting some much-needed moisture up in the mountains.
Weather issues seemed to be a problem more in the early hours in some parts of western New Mexico.
There was not a lot of snow on the roads heading east towards Grants, or even in Grants Wednesday afternoon.
NMDOT say there were not any reported crashes to them heading west, but one traveler — who makes his commute from Rio Rancho — told KOB 4 it was a bit of a trek to get to Grants early this morning.
“I left the house around six from Rio Rancho, got stuck on the highway because two trucks jack-knifed, were blocking the lanes, but after that it was smooth sailing,” said John Vargas, a Rio Rancho resident.
Now, roads on the way and throughout Grants were pretty clear, but Gallup is where crews saw a drastic change of things with snowy conditions that were still left on the road.
Inches of fresh snow covered San Juan County causing Farmington Municipal School District to cancel classes.
While some are enjoying a snow day, others are working around the clock to keep the roads safe.
“We watch the weather regularly whenever we are scheduled to have a storm like we did last night, we place a crew on call which contains 12 to 14 drivers,” said Chad Fuller, street superintendent for the City of Farmington.
To control the ice and snow on over 100 miles of city streets.
“We do have 12 routes mapped out on our snow removal maps, and then we send the trucks out on those routes, and then they run those routes in their entirety to keep fighting the weather,” said Fuller.
With a whole mixture of methods, until they get those routes passable.
“We are actually plowing the snow, pushing it off of the roads and in our salt spreaders we have the deicing material that we spread, and then we also use a liquid deicer that mixes with that as it goes down behind the truck as we sand the roads,” Fuller said.
Fuller says while this is the worst storm so far this year, they have the supplies to handle whatever Mother Nature decides to throw their way.
“We had much worse than this, and we’re prepared for the worst and take it as it comes,” he said.
Fuller said they had crews working on the roads since 11 p.m. Tuesday night and will continue to send out drivers as long as the snowy conditions persist.