The fifth winter storm of the season has hit northwestern Mexico, causing heavy snow in Baja California that has shut down highways and forced local schools to close.
The Centinela-La Rumorosa highway, the main route along the U.S. border, was temporarily closed in both directions on Tuesday morning, after heavy snowfall that started on Monday night in the town of La Rumorosa in the municipality of Tecate. Local authorities have set up a temporary shelter and are coordinating with the Red Cross to provide assistance to those who need it.
As of shortly before 11 a.m. local time, the state transportation ministry announced that the Centinela-La Rumorosa highway was open in both directions. The La Rumorosa-Tecate free highway was also open in both directions while the La Rumorosa-Tecate tollway remained closed, the ministry said.
The storm is the result of cold fronts and bands of low pressure interacting across the northwest of the country. This has caused heavy rains and gusty winds of up to 90 km/h in Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Durango, with sleet and snow in the mountainous regions of Baja California.
On Sunday night, the government of Baja California announced school closures in the municipalities of Tijuana, Ensenada, Tecate, Rosarito and San Quintín, in anticipation of the extreme weather conditions.
Local people were also advised to wrap up warm, drive with caution, avoid unnecessary journeys and call 911 in case of emergency.
Meanwhile, another cold front interacting with the subtropical jet stream has brought high winds, heavy rains and fog banks to the northeastern states of Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.
The National Weather Service (SMN) projects that the storm conditions will continue throughout Tuesday and into Wednesday, with more extreme weather likely during the coming month.