Snow wets city, soaks state
February 24, 2004
Light snow showers on Tuesday prompted residents to scrape ice off automobile windows and tread slowing on city streets adorned with rain puddles shin deep in some areas.
But snowfall in Portales was relatively minor compared to other areas of the state, where some mountain ranges received up to 20 inches.
Local law enforcement officials reported no major accidents as of 5 p.m., and New Mexico Ag Expo organizers said attendance wasn’t terribly affected by weather.
“The attendance was as expected from agriculture people; they’ll come no matter what,” Anna Foster of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce said.
Foster said she expects a better turnout today, as the forecast calls for sunny skies in the afternoon.
Officials with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque reported three inches of snow in Clovis and 1/2 inch in Portales as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
There is expected to be some areas of fog in the morning today, then sunny skies. Highs are expected to be in the lower 40s, with lows in the mid 20s and winds blowing in the 10 to 15 mph range, the NWS reports.
“It looks like the system is pulling out,” said NWS meteorologist Jeff Michalski.
Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said the light snow didn’t hamper drivers during the day on Tuesday.
“We didn’t have a lot of problems,” he said. “However, if the temperature drops (Tuesday evening) it could make the roads slick in the morning,” Berry said.
Officials with Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative said the weather caused power outages in the county but no major problems.
In Arch electricity was out for about 30 to 40 minutes and just northwest of town there was no electricity for approximately 30 minutes, said RCEC line superintendent Apolonio Santillanes.
Near Milnesand in the southern part of the Roosevelt County resident there lost power for about an hour, he added.
While Roosevelt County received a soft blanket of snow, other areas in New Mexico received the brunt of precipitation.
Schools from Wagon Mound to Vaughn were closed all day, and Public Service Company of New Mexico reported 550 people still without electricity at 6:30 p.m. in the mountains east of Albuquerque. Central New Mexico Electric Co-op estimated more than 2,000 customers were probably without power in the Estancia area but said most were expected to have service restored later in the evening.
Don Brown of PNM said power outages increased until Tuesday evening, and an undetermined number would remain without power through the night. He said several troubleshooting crews were out working on lines mostly knocked down by tree branches that had been weighed down — many of them broken — by snow. The outages were scattered among 80 different locations along N.M. 14 both north and south of I-40, he said.
Parts of Interstates 40 and 25 were closed by snow and ice off and on until about 3:30 p.m., when those roads and several others reopened.
The storm blanketed Las Vegas with 13 inches of snow, and the nearby mountains received 20 inches. Sandia Park, on the east side of the Sandia Mountains, received up to 11 inches of snow, the NWS reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.