Blast blankets area

By Marlena Hartz: Freedom Newspapers

A winter storm that lingered over the middle of New Mexico dumped more than 10 inches of snow across parts of Clovis and eastern New Mexico Saturday.

“It’s rough out there,” Clovis resident Trinidad Juarez said.

“Every time I stop, I get stuck (in the snow),” said Juarez, who delivers pizza and must maneuver the streets of Clovis, snow or shine.

Several motorists were stranded in deep snow drifts Saturday, but no vehicular accidents were reported, according to the Clovis Police Department.

Four motorists were pulled from drifts on rural roads by police, according to the Department.

Clovis and Portales were spared from power outages, although roughly 50 Xcel Energy customers in Hobbs were hit by an outage Saturday, Xcel Energy spokesperson Wes Reeves said.

“We’re doing OK,” Reeves said.

The winter storm warning issued for the state expired at 5 p.m. Saturday, according to Albuquerque meteorologist Brian Guyer. But no respite from wintry weather is in sight, Guyer said.

Temperatures were expected to drop and winds to pick up Saturday night to speeds of up to 25 mph, blowing snow around Clovis and Portales, Guyer said.

“It will remain cloudy (Sunday) with temperatures hovering around freezing,” Guyer said.

The storm that enveloped eastern New Mexico was born over the Pacific Ocean, Guyer said. It moved south along the west coast of the United States and east across the southwest, he said.

This is the fifth storm to slam New Mexico since mid-December.

By midweek, another storm — now moving through the Rockies — is slated to arrive in eastern New Mexico, Guyer said. It will bring snow showers and another blast of cold air, he said.

According to Guyer, this wet New Mexico winter is a result of low pressure in the atmosphere and cold air pulled down from Canada.

Snow facts
—Portales averages 9.2 inches of snowfall each year.
—The city’s snowiest season on record was 1972-73, when 26.9 inches fell.
—Portales recorded 22 inches of snow in December of 1997, a record for one month.
—Portales received one-half inch of snow last season, all of it in March.
—Saturday’s snowfall was the most in Portales since March of 2005, when the city saw 10.5 inches for the month.

Source: National Weather Service, which began keeping snowfall records in 1947.