Thanksgiving Climatology For Albuquerque, New Mexico

Below is a table listing some extremes for Thanksgiving in Albuquerque. Because Thanksgiving falls on the 4th Thursday of November, the date changes every year. Thanksgiving can be as early as the 22nd or as late as the 28th. Therefore, the values below are determined looking at data between the 22nd and 28th, inclusive.  The period of record is from 1892 through 2012.

Weather Parameter (single day)
Value Date
 Warmest Maximum Temperature 72 degrees 22nd/1915
Coldest Minimum Temperature -6 degrees 28th/1976
Most Precipitation 0.72 inches 25th/1935
Most Snowfall 3.2 inches 24th/1940

Recent years have seen storms on or near Thanksgiving. Last year a long duration storm began on the 28th, just two days after Thanksgiving. The storm continued into early December, depositing rain over lower elevations and snow over the high terrain, focusing mostly on the south central mountains.

November 28-December 1, 2009: Snow Blankets Southern New Mexico

A potent storm system came onshore in northern California on Friday the 27th, moved slowly south to southeast through central and southern California on Saturday the 28th, sank south over northern Baja California on the Sunday the 29th before turning east across northern Mexico on Monday the 30th and into West Texas on the the 1st of December. The water vapor loop below, overlaid with 500mb heights, shows the progression of the storm during this time period.
This slow moving storm initially brought precipitation to western and central New Mexico on the evening of the 28th, with the rain and snow moving over eastern New Mexico early on the 29th as shown in the short radar loop below.
The storm strenghtened to our south and focused snowfall on southern portions of the state on the 30th into the 1st, again primarily over the higher terrain. The short radar loop below shows the precipitation over the south on Monday morning the 30th and the southeast on Tuesday morning December 1st.
The resulting snowfall favored the south central mountains and southeast plains. The visible satellite image below displays some of the snow totals. The outlined area indicates where the heaviest snow amounts were found.

In 2008 a storm on Thanksgiving, the 27th, brought rain to many areas of the state and snow to the northern mountains.

November 27th, 2008 Thanksgiving: Widespread Rain; Snow in the North

After a week of quiet, mild weather across New Mexico, a storm from off the California coast moved inland just in time to bring rain and higher elevation snow to the state on Thanksgiving. This made for a turkey of a day in many locations. The storm organized off the California coast on the 24th and 25th, moved inland on the 26th, then weakened as it approached the four corners region on the 27th. The two water vapor satellite images below, overlaid with 500 mb heights, show the storm on the afternoon of the 26th and late morning of the 27th.

Despite the storm weakening as it trek across California and Arizona, the system was able to draw quite a bit of moisture north into New Mexico ahead of it. The radar image below reveals some of the precipitation that fell during the day. The strange looking echo over Farmington is not a precipitation echo at all, but rather a sun spike. It occurs when the sun is just setting and the radar beam passes directly in front of the sun. Note how it is angled toward the southwest, since the sun has shifted to the southern hemisphere as we approach winter. In the summer, the sun spike will be aimed toward the northwest at sunset. The sun spikes also occur right at sunrise and will be aimed toward the northeast (in summer) and southeast (in winter).

At the same time moisture was racing north into the state, a cold front moved south over the eastern plains during the day on the 27th. Enough cold air was present to send temperatures plummeting into the 30s over the northeast. This turned the rain to snow across the northeast highlands and far northeast plains during the course of the day. Snow also fell over the northern mountains. The tables below list some of the higher snowfall totals from the 27th. Click here for a more detailed map with additional snowfall totals.

Total Snowfall November 27 (in)
Canon Plaza 11 NW (Snotel)
Red River 8SSW (ski area)
Terrero 6 WNW (Snotel)
Chama area
6.5 - 7.2
Rociada 8SW (Snotel)
Buena Vista
Los Alamos 5 WNW (Snotel)
Tres Ritos 4NNW (Snotel)
Eagle Nest 8SE (Snotel)

In 2007, a storm hit on the 23rd, just one day after Thanksgiving, and continued through the 24th. A strong cold front had moved through the state on the 21st, with much colder air behind it. Snow accumulated over the mountains and eastern plains.

Nov 23-24, 2007: First Widespread Snow of the Season in New Mexico

A strong cold front blasted south and west across New Mexico on the 21st, while a weak upper level disturbance crossed southern areas of the state on the 22nd, delivering a little snow. A stronger storm from the pacific Northwest dropped southeast over Arizona and New Mexico on the 23rd and 24th, strengthening as it did so. The water vapor satellite image to the right shows the two systems on the morning of the 22nd, while the image below shows the advancing second system early on the 23rd. With the cold air in place, the second storm was able to generate mostly snow over the Land of Enchantment. The favored areas were the northern mounains and their adjacent high plains, where up to xx inches was able to accumulate. The radar image below and to the right shows a sample of the precipitation early on the 23rd.


As the storm moved southeast and strengthened late on the 23rd and 24th, the snow shifted to the southern tier counties. Below (lef) is another water vapor image early on the 24th, and a radar image (right) showing the more concentrated rain and snow over the south. Farther below is a table displaying some of the higher snowfall totals from the 21st through 24th. Click here for a display of the maximum and minimum temperatures, showing the dramatic cool down, from the 20th through 22nd.

Snowfall Totals From November 23-24
Total Amount (inches)
Red River
7.3 - 10.9
Eagle Nest
17SSE Las Vegas
Los Alamost
Pena Blanca
6N Taos
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