Traffic slows as winter storm hits New Mexico

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By Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A winter storm blasted New Mexico with snowfall and freezing temperatures Tuesday, causing icy roads and littering streets with fender-benders.

The morning commute in Albuquerque was lengthy and treacherous as cautious motorists slowed to negotiate ice-covered roadways. Schools were closed in Albuquerque, Los Lunas and Rio Rancho and placed on a two-hour delay in Santa Fe.

On the state's east side, schools closed in Melrose, Tucumcari and San Jon.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through 11 a.m. Wednesday. Forecasts called for up to 2 inches of snow in Albuquerque and accumulations of 9 to 15 inches in the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountains in the north.

Rio Rancho officials said the city's municipal offices and facilities would open at 10 a.m. Wednesday — two hours later than usual — due to the inclement weather.

Forecasters said an Arctic air mass had settled over much of New Mexico, prompting very cold temperatures and causing brisk winds and subzero wind chills in some areas.

Public safety officials urged residents to avoid travel because of dangerous conditions. By 10 a.m., Albuquerque police had responded to at least 85 serious crashes and hundreds of minor collisions.

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