In July 2009 WFO ABQ unveiled an extensive revision of our public zone forecast boundaries. Since the climatological variation of precipitation and temperature patterns across the state are highly terrain driven, we chose to encapsulate a high level a topographical detail in creating these new zone boundaries. The 1km MODIS False Color imagery after a lengthy period of significant winter weather during January 2010 provided great assurance of the operational improvement.
The Northwest Plateau is nearly snow free while the surrounding higher terrain has extensive snow cover.
The West Central Highlands contain a sharp snow free region around Grants and east of Acoma Pueblo.
A very nice example is shown for the San Francisco River Valley which is nearly 6000 feet lower than the surrounding terrain to the north and east.
The Lower Chama River Valley also has a nice snow free region around Espanola surrounded by widespread snow cover.
And finally, the Lower Rio Grande Valley around Socorro and the Upper Tularosa Valley around Carrizozo. Notice the dark blueish/black color west of Carrizozo is the Malpais lava bed.