Forecasters: Friday could see 80-mph wind gusts


Last updated 4/21/2022 at 2:55pm

This is not a drill. Firefighters, emergency management coordinators and weather forecasters are all expecting dangerous weather conditions on Friday.

“There is high confidence for a widespread damaging wind and extreme fire weather event on Friday,” according to a news release from Roosevelt County Emergency Manager Johnny Montiel.

“This will not be like the past few windy days, but rather Friday has the potential for widespread wind gusts of 60 to 80 mph that will be capable of knocking down large tree limbs, utility poles and other structures while threatening to topple high profile vehicles! The very dry conditions and low humidity will also create extreme fire behavior and rapid growth with any ongoing wildfires.”

The National Weather Service reports sustained southwest winds at 40 to 55 mph will be with us throughout Friday. NWS predicts gusts up to 75 mph in the Clovis-Portales area.

“Damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines,” an NWS forecast states. “Power outages are likely. Dangerous crosswinds will impact travel on northwest-to-southeast oriented roads, especially for high-profile vehicles. Areas of blowing dust may drop the visibility to a few hundred yards at times in dust-prone locations.”

The humidity in eastern New Mexico is between 5% and 10%, creating an “extreme fire weather scenario with catastrophic fire growth possible,” Montiel added.

The National Weather Service cautions against outdoor burning and using outdoor power equipment.

“Properly discard cigarettes … ensure trailer chains are properly stowed … avoid parking in tall grass,” NWS asks in a public service announcement.

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