"As temperatures decrease here, the roadways are deteriorating further," New Mexico State Police Lt. Robert McDonald said.
Stretches of Interstate 10 and Interstate 25 will be closed until daylight Tuesday.
But the winter storm warning in southern parts of New Mexico indicated "significant amounts of snow, sleet and ice are expected or occurring," the National Weather Service said Monday night. "Strong winds are also possible. This will make travel hazardous or impossible."
The wintry weather also stretched farther north Monday
Residents in the Albuquerque area marveled at the unusual storm as snow covered cactus plants.
"We don't get it very often, but just don't panic," Frank Baca told
The National Weather Service projected snow accumulations will reach 12 to 15 inches in areas above 7,500 feet, with isolated higher amounts. Seven to 12 inches are expected for lower elevations in the mountains, the agency said.