Winter weather headed to Plains

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

About a week of wintry weather is expected to begin today, bringing a temporary end to unseasonably warm temperatures, according to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

“It’ll be a lot different than what you’ve been having,” said Brian Guyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. He said northern winds will drop daytime temperatures by 30 to 35 degrees today with rain and possibly snow from Thursday through Sunday.

The change is the result of a low pressure system moving east and pushing out the high pressure system associated with higher than normal temperatures, Guyer said.

After next week, conditions are expected to return to a warmer than normal level and remain dry, he said.

Temperatures over the last week or so, which have ranged in the upper 60s to 70s, have been an average of 20 degrees above normal for this time of year, he said.

For the month, Guyer said, temperatures have been around 7 degrees above normal statewide.

“I’m sure a lot of people have been saving on their heating for this month,” he said.

Clovis Fire Chief Ray Westerman said as the pending cold spell approaches, it is a good time for people to change air filters in their heating units, put fresh batteries in smoke detectors and get salt ready for de-icing sidewalks and driveways.

Westerman also said ashes from stoves and fireplaces should be completely cool before they’re discarded.

Driving safely on icy roads
Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
Keep your lights and windshield clean.
Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
Don’t use cruise control or
overdrive on icy roads.
Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the
conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
Don’t pass snow plows. The
drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

If you get stuck:
Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
Try rocking the vehicle. Check your owner’s manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles. Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you’re in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.

www.weather.com