Tuesday and Wednesday brought hope for a white Christmas in the local area, but also an increased chance of dangerous roads for motorists.
Cannon Air Force Base moved to Mission Essential status Wednesday morning, meaning that only those needed to support the base, such as the police and fire department, were called to work. As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, the base reported that the area of Clovis and Portales had recieved two inches of snowfall. Jack Suther of Cannon reported that another 1 to 2 inches was in store for the night with no more snow reportedly coming in for the rest of the week.
He did warn that the temperature on Friday morning will be in the single digits, probably in the range of 6 degrees.
In Clovis, street crews drove the salt trucks for 12 hours until 3 p.m. — two crews of eight working eight-hour, overlapping shifts — on a day in which Clovis received roughly 3 inches of snow, according to unofficial reports provided by the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.
“We’re always prepared,” Public Works Director Harry Wang said. “We do shift our priorities to the snow.”
The salt reduces the freezing point of the ice, eventually melting it, and the sand adds traction for motorists traveling through town.
The crews will be salting streets for another 12 hours today, when there is a slight chance of even heavier snow into the evening, said Jeff Michalski, meteorological technician at the National Weather Service.
With a winter storm watch today, Michalski said the weather would be warming up Friday to 40 degrees, most likely melting what is already on the ground and reducing the chances of a white Christmas.
With holiday travel on the way many in Portales will be traveling or will have relatives coming in from other parts of the country. Lonnie Berry of the Portales Police Department warned about any unnecessary travel.
“Anybody that doesn’t have to get out should stay in,” Berry said. “Once the temperature goes down it’s going to freeze again, (and) we might have slick areas and dry areas (on the roads).”