The first official snowstorm of the year is likely to move into parts of New Mexico on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It could bring enough snow in mountainous areas to give Ski Santa Fe 3 to 5 inches to kick off the ski season, scheduled to open Saturday with at least a 20-inch base of man-made snow, the resort announced Monday.
But don’t get out the snow shovels yet.
While the westward-moving storm coming off the California coast might bring a few inches of snow to the mountains north of Santa Fe, the City Different likely will have to settle for a dusting, at best.
Todd Shoemake, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Albuquerque, said Monday, “This would be what I consider the most significant snowfall we’ve seen so far this season.”
The sight of snow falling in areas at higher elevations “will be a different sight for many,” he added.
New Mexico is experiencing some of its harshest drought conditions ever, Shoemake said. But the coming storm “is not going to be a drought buster by any means.”
The storm will make its way across Arizona and into New Mexico sometime Tuesday, bringing cooler temperatures and breezy conditions. Some areas of the state, such as Farmington and Gallup, have up to a 60 percent chance of precipitation, which could be snow.
Santa Fe has a 40 percent chance of precipitation — likely rain — Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the forecast. The weekend weather looks dry for the area, with temperatures in the mid-to-high 50s in Santa Fe.
A second storm front moving out of Mexico could bring some light rain to the southern part of the state over the weekend. Shoemake said his agency will be monitoring that storm to see if might move into Northern New Mexico.
“That could be a precipitation maker for us,” he said, adding, with a touch of caution, “I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, but that will be something we will be watching.”