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Rare, Heavy Snow Pummelling West Texas

UPDATED 7:45 PM MST, January 3, 2013

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Seth Carrier

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Mother Nature is bringing a rare, quick-hitting snowstorm across Texas` Upper Rio Grande Valley that will last through early Friday morning. Even more impressive, the hefty snowfall accumulations will likely shatter the typical January numbers here.

A pair of potent upper-level systems across northern Mexico and southern New Mexico is supplying lift for this unusual snowfall. All the while, high pressure parked across the central and southern Rockies is keeping a cold northeasterly flow of sub-freezing temperatures locked in place across Texas` western Big Bend area.

Pacific moisture joining the fray has produced a shield of snow in southern New Mexico and western Texas through much of the day. The snow will continue tonight across western Texas, falling heavily at times along the Interstate 10 and 20 corridors. All this snow will finally start to fizzle moving into Friday morning.

Winter Storm Warnings remain in place for southern New Mexico and the Texas Big Bend, with Winter Weather Advisories flanking each side of the warnings, including as far east as Abilene, Texas, and as far west as southeast Arizona.

Cities such as Alpine, Pecos, Fort Stockton, and Fort Davis, Texas, could be digging out of 6 to 10 inches of fresh snow. Even El Paso, Texas, could pick up close to one-half foot, while Midland and Odessa, Texas, lying on the far northern fringes of the storm, will be scraping off 2 to 4 inches of new snow by early Friday.

It doesn`t end there either, with Carlsbad, N.M, likely to see 4 to 6 inches. However, hefty totals topping 10 inches will blanket the eastern slopes of the Guadeloupe Mountains, as well as the Pecos River across far southeastern New Mexico and southwestern Texas.

Heavy snow is a rarity this far south. El Paso, Texas, averages 1.3 inches of snow in January and 6.1 inches of snow a year. Carlsbad, N.M., last saw snow on Jan. 10, 2012, while El Paso has gone since Jan. 9, 2012.

Residents of El Paso and surrounding communities are urged to use caution when travelling, with area highways likely to be icy and snow-covered. In the wake of the storm, cold air will stick around into the weekend. Highs will only rebound into the 30s and 40s across the upper Rio Grande valley, with lows in the 20s, likely causing additional black ice as the snow melts and re-freezes.

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