First Flurries Arrive in Advance of Storm

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 - 10:39am

EL PASO – The first snow flurries have fallen on El Paso in advance of a storm that could dump as much as three inches of snow on the Sun City.

The Borderland is under a Winter Weather Advisory from 6:00 p.m. tonight until Midnight on Wednesday.

A potent cold front will work through the region from the northeast this morning into the early afternoon. Behind the front, expect strong northeast winds gusting to 30 miles an hour and dropping temperatures. Wind chills by sunset may drop into the teens.

As the dense, cold air moves in with the front, that will create some lift in the atmosphere that may trigger a few sprinkles or snow flurries. No significant accumulation is expected this afternoon. However, tonight an upper level area of low pressure moves overhead. This will create additional lift, which should be enough to intitiate snow showers across the area.

By tonight, temperatures will be exceptionally cold and any falling snow will accumulate. Even with a small amount of moisture in the air, the extreme cold air will prevent evaporation of any precipitation that will fall.

Best guesses for lowland accumulations in El Paso and Las Cruces are in the neighborhood of 1-3" before snow ends Thursday morning as that upper level low continues to the east. Accumulations in the mountians could be significantly more, over a foot of snow is likely in Ruidoso.

The snow will be only one componet of this winter blast. Wind chills this afternoon will be in the single digits, and as temperatures continue to move downward after dark, the winds will continue to blow. By sunrise Wednesday, it will feel like more like 10-15 degrees BELOW ZERO. Afternoon high temperatures will only reach the upper 20s Wednesday and Thursday.

With temperatures this cold, special precautions should be taken to protect exposed pipes that could freeze and burst. Sprinkler systems should be shut off and of course, pets should be kept indoors until Friday, when temperatures finally warm above freezing.

Between 1 and 3 inches of snow is possible. TXDOT has sanding trucks and plows on standby.

Stay with for updates on the storm.

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