Motorists proceed cautiously along Main Street in downtown Roswell during heavy snowfall, Thursday morning. (Mark Wilson Photo)
National Weather Service in Albuquerque issued a winter weather advisory around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, predicting significant snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures.
According to its website, arctic air combined with an approaching storm system resulted in widespread snowfall across southern and eastern New Mexico.
The advisory stated that snows should move out of the area Thursday night, but forecasters expected considerable impact in terms of driving [auth] conditions.
Although the storm will leave, the NWS said the cold weather will continue throughout the weekend.
Drivers in the county reported sliding through intersections and trucks stuck at the side of the road. Conditions in the city were marginally better, with skidding noted upon acceleration.
By 9 a.m., all patrol units at District 3 New Mexico State Police Roswell offices were out dealing with traffic accidents.
Pecos Valley Communication reported 10 non-injury accident calls and two injury accidents in city and county by 11 a.m.
Of the 12 accidents, only two happened inside the city limits.
The NWS said the expected accumulation was 3 inches, with freezing rains further complicating the driving conditions. While winds recorded at 10.9 mph were not considered significant, the 22-degree temperatures noted around 10 a.m. dropped to 9 degrees because of windchill factor, and visibility was less than a mile near the Roswell Industrial District.
Residents are urged to drive cautiously and avoid driving unless absolutely necessary, especially at night and early in the morning, when any snow melt will turn to ice.
Across New Mexico, sections of State Hwy 174 near Glenwood, State Hwy 159 near Mogollon and the eastern areas of I-40 were closed, either due to packed ice and snow or because of accidents.