By William P. Thompson
In the past six months, some have hoped, some have crossed their fingers and some have called out to the heavens for rain. Sunday evening, many Portales residents finally got their wish as more than half an inch of rain fell between 8 p.m. and midnight.
It was the first significant rainfall for the Portales area since mid-October. Floyd McAlister, Roosevelt County extension agent, called Sunday’s rain a “shot in the arm” for area wheat farmers.
“It was six-tenths of an inch to eight-tenths of an inch depending where you were in the county,” McAlister said. “What wheat that has not already died will benefit from this rain. That benefit will be greatly diminished if we don’t get anymore rain. I’d like to see more rain in the next week or at least the next month.”
Weather forecasters say Portales has a 30 percent chance of rain again on Wednesday.
Portales Junior High School student Lyndsey Norvell said Sunday’s rain was unexpected.
“On the news they were saying that we weren’t going to get any rain,” Norvell said. “I’m excited about it.”
Norvell said she had heard a school official speculating that the constant dry weather could have contributed to bad moods in some students. Dee Washburn, a teacher at Brown Early Childhood Development Center, said she noticed that her students had a “good day in class” the day following the rainfall.
“I think the rain was fantastic,” Washburn said. “I was hoping and praying. I live in Floyd and (prior to the rain) all that dirt had just been blowing around.”
The dirt resulted from extensive grass fires in the Floyd area in late 2005.
Chuck Abbott, owner of Big League Sports in downtown Portales, said one reason he had been hoping for rain was so he could see if recent repairs to his store’s roof would keep the rain from dripping down into his store.
“It gave me a chance to test out my new roof,” Abbott said. “It (the roof) held up, and I’m happy.”
Abbott’s wife Yvette said she drove in from Albuquerque on Sunday and saw some moisture in the air.
“It (the rain) was a shock,” she said. “I thought it was just going to blow on by us.”