Roads clear, area braces for another storm

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers

A snow storm that dumped 4 inches of snow in the Clovis/Portales area since Thursday is melting away. However, one road, U.S. 285 between Vaughn and Clines Corner, remained closed on Monday and the area is bracing for more possible snow.

“We encourage people to call our toll -free number, 1-800-432-4269 to avoid overwhelming us with telephone calls like they did this last time,” said Gloria Gonzales, a dispatch supervisor for the New Mexico State Police office in Clovis. “A lot of people could not get through to us because off all the calls. We try to keep the media updated as much as possible, so we encourage them (citizens) to listen to the radio and watch TV news. We also have a Web site, nmsp.com.”

According to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, Curry and Roosevelt counties have slight chances of snow showers tonight.

Last week’s storm resulted in many area highway accidents, including two fatal accidents, one Friday in Texico another Sunday in Clovis.

Keri Bechthold, 19, of Portales, and Ashley Welch, 21, of Estancia, died Sunday in Clovis after the vehicle they were in slid off the road and landed upside-down in a ditch, according to Clovis Police Department.

A 26-year-old Kentucky man died Friday on U.S. 60/70/84 west of Texico, state police said.

Portales Police Chief Lonnie Berry said there were some rollovers on the highway and mostly one-vehicle type of accidents. As of Monday afternoon, Berry said, “The roads pretty much drying right now. Most roads are pretty passable, but anytime the weather drops below freezing, anytime you have any standing water, there will be slick spots.”

According to Nancy McPherson, a representative with the National Weather Service in Clovis, Clovis received 4 inches of snow from the storm that begin Thursday. This left the city with a total of 15.40 inches of precipitation for 2006. According to Sean Moore, a master control operator at KENW-TV in Portales, the area received about 1.05 inches of precipitation as of Saturday for this last storm. Due to the holiday, a year-end total was not available.

Portales High School boys basketball coach Mark Gallegos said the Rams arrived Sunday afternoon from a three-day tournament in Las Vegas, N.M., after spending an extra night due to Saturday’s inclement weather.