The upcoming winter weather in Quay County should be warmer, milder and drier than last winter’s, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.
Kerry Jones, meteorologist with the NWS Albuquerque area office, said this winter marks a transition from El Nino to La Nina weather patterns in the United States.
“(La Nina) is when you have the cooler than average waters in the tropical Pacific that affects the jet-stream patterns and whatnot, so it’s not that we don’t get any storms during the La Nina winter, we do.
We just don’t see them as frequently as we would during an El Nino winter,” Jones said.
Fewer storms means less precipitation, Jones said, resulting in drier-than-normal conditions in the late winter and early spring.
Jones said the milder forecasted conditions should not prevent Quay County residents from preparing for severe winter conditions. He said exposure to low temperatures is the leading cause of winter-related deaths in the United States.
“People in Tucumcari, say, on a weekend or something, will take off headed towards Conchas or maybe go into the mountains and they don’t plan,” Jones said. “You can go from a very good situation mid-day to a situation that’s close to a nightmare.”
Jones advised winter travelers carry a winter kit in their vehicles. The kit should include blankets and enough extra food and water to provide travelers at least three days’ nourishment, he said.
A New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management press release states drivers should always have at least a half tank of gas in their cars during the winter. The release advises drivers also include the following supplies in their car winter kits: