Portales deals with weekend of weather woes

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

After a long dry spell, Mother Nature decided to catch up on rainfall in the Portales area — and she did it quickly.

Friday saw heavy downpour in the area, along with high winds and low visibility. With lighter rains on Saturday things dried out some, but not much, before the Friday storm was replayed in intensity on Sunday afternoon.

“The low intersections filled up really, really quickly,” Capt. Lonnie Berry of the Portales Police Department said.

Flooding was reported in many areas of the city, according to Berry. He said several intersections were temporarily closed and officers were out assisting stranded motorists. Several vehicles were stranded in the intersections due to high water and stalling out, he said.

Rainfall was reported at .40 on Friday, according reports from the KENW Broadcast Center.

With standing water still in the streets from the previous rains and slow runoff, the flooding returned, Berry said.

Barricades were again placed at intersections, closing off the streets as many of the same problems from Friday’s storm resurfaced. There were also reports of several power lines that were down, according to Berry. A tree was also uprooted and laid across 17th Street, he said. The tree had to be cut into several pieces before it could be removed.

Due to the high water, 17th Street from Avenue C to Globe was closed down. Water was coming up over the curbs and running up into houses.

Sandbags were placed at approximately 15 to 17 homes to prevent more flooding, Berry said.

Several volunteers from the community stepped up to help. The Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds football team came out and helped fill and deliver sandbags. There were also several city workers and emergency personnel who were out dealing with the storm and it’s aftermath. Members of the First Baptist Church also came forward to help the workers. They provided hamburgers and warm drinks for them.

“We knew the police officers and emergency personnel would need hot food and hot drinks,” Winston Berry, FBC youth minister said.

The rain has brought a boost to the agriculture community. With wet fields, silage harvest has slowed down a little bit, according to Floyd McAlister, Roosevelt County Extension Agent.

“It mostly hasn’t affected the peanut crop yet.” McAlister said, “Wheat should get off to a pretty good start and haygrazer that wouldn’t make, will make.”

The rainfall for August has reached a total of 4.26 inches, according to the KENW-TV Broadcast Center.