The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Lineman killed near Hereford

Between Editions: March 14


March 13, 2019

David Stevens

Trees - including this one on the Parmer County Courthouse law - were uprooted and power was knocked out across the region during Wednesday's storm.

An Xcel Energy lineman was killed near Hereford on Wednesday night as repair crews worked to restore power across the region following a day of high winds.

"Our thoughts are with the family of the line worker who lost his life Wednesday evening while working to restore power in Hereford, Texas," Xcel spokesman Wes Reeves said. "We are working with authorities to determine the cause of the incident and are committed to supporting our employee's family and coworkers during this difficult time."

More than 35,000 Xcel customers were still without power this morning, according to its website. That included about 2,500 customers in Clovis.

The region saw sustained winds near 50 mph much of the day on Wednesday, with gusts in the 70-mph range.

"This has been one of the worst wind storms to impact our system in years," Reeves said in a news release. "We are still assessing damage, and anticipate a full restoration could take several days. We understand how trying this is for our customers, and we appreciate their continued understanding as our employees work to restore service."

Reeves said damage and outages can be reported by calling 1-800-895-1999, at or the Xcel Energy customer app for mobile devices.

A Thursday morning news release from Xcel reported it brought in 25 contract crews that began restoration work at 7 a.m. today. "This brings our total to 137 crews working throughout the region, accounting for 300 personnel working more than 1,500 jobs out of a total of 2,580 generated by this extreme wind event," the release said.

"The high number of jobs points to the fact that damage is widespread. Almost a thousand of these jobs are individual service jobs, meaning service personnel are going to house to house to restore electricity in many cases."

Reeves said about 121,000 Xcel customers lost service during the storm. About 46,000 remained without power this morning.

"As we gather more information on the extent of the damage, we will be able to provide better estimates as to when all power will be restored," the release said. "Some customers who sustained property damage will need to have electricians repair their service connections and have the work inspected by local code enforcement, if applicable, before we can restore service."

Also Wednesday, wind was blamed for a Union Pacific train being blown off its tracks, off a train trestle and into a deep ravine near Logan in Quay County. No one was seriously injured, but 26 cars derailed.

State Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, said the cars were empty of cargo and did not carry any hazardous material.

"This is a reminder that we cannot take the high winds for granted and we all need to take precautions when traveling throughout New Mexico," Woods said in a news release.

Winds began to subside across the region Wednesday night. Thursday's forecast called for winds to be 10- to 20-mph with high temperatures in the upper 40s.


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