County doused but still lagging in annual moisture

By Karl Terry, PNT Managing Editor

The parched landscape across Roosevelt County received some relief in the form of rain over the last week.

The National Weather Service in Albuquerque reported 1.32 inches of rain Sunday.

Residents saw brief showers through the day but most of the moisture came with a storm that sliced through the heart of the county during the late evening hours. That storm was violent in some areas, with 60 mph winds recorded near Floyd, according to NWS meteorologist Ken Drodz.

“We’re catching up, but it looks like we’re still below normal,” Drodz said.

The Portales area has received 2.18 inches of rain in August, bring the yearly total to 7.97. The average rainfall total for the first eight months is 12.22 inches, with 2.84 of that coming in August, according to NSW figures.

Despite the wind and intensity of the rain of Sunday’s storm, Roosevelt County Emergency Management Director Keith Wattenbarger said little damage was done. He said no roof damage or major flooding was reported.

Wattenbarger said even though a tornado warning was issued for a time Sunday night spotters never saw any indication of a funnel cloud or a tornado on the ground.

“Gust front damage was minimal,” Wattenbarger said. “Here (in Portales) it (flood water) didn’t have any place to funnel off to it just came so quickly.”

Wattenbarger reported that two residents on 15th and 16th Streets near Avenue I had a minor amount of water entering their homes. Otherwise no intersections or low spots had to be closed off.

“There wasn’t a lot of traffic and it ran off pretty fast,” said Capt. Lonnie Berry of the Portales Police Department.

Drodz said the tornado warning was issued because radar indicated that the conditions were right for the storm to contain a tornado. He said the same system had a history of producing twisters in De Baca and Guadalupe counties earlier in the evening.

Drodz said an unusual low pressure system situated to the north in Colorado has contributed to the instability of the atmosphere over eastern New Mexico and brought cooler than usual August temperatures in the last week.

He said that low will be moving to the east and the weather pattern should become drier and warmer by mid-week.

Clovis received 3.72 inches of rain since Friday while Portales recorded 1.81 over the same period, according to NWS officials.

Rainfall totals

August Precipitation recorded in Portales
Aug. 18 — 1.32
Aug. 17 — .11
Aug. 16 — .34
Aug. 15 — .16
Aug. 14 — .22
Aug. 13 — .02
Aug. 12 — .01
Totals are recorded each day at 5 p.m. for the previous 24-hour period

5.79 — Portales’ annual total through July 31
9.35 — Portales’ annual normal through July 31

Source: National Weather Service