High winds cause damage in Roosevelt County

Clarence Plank

Roosevelt County and city of Portales residents were running for cover Friday after a severe storm brought high winds estimated to have reached 75 mph by the National Weather Service.

The storm blew down trees, power lines and a sign, and took the roof off of two buildings in Portales.
Roosevelt County Emergency Management Coordinator Keith Wattenbarger said the damage was fairly minimal for the winds the area had.

Kristi Armstrong, who lives in on West University Drive, had a Douglas spruce fall in her front yard onto some power lines.
Armstrong said she cried when she saw the tree had fallen.

“We were outside in the back,” Armstrong said. “I was just telling them that we live in New Mexico; we don’t get the horrible stuff.”

Amy Pietrzak was in Armstrong’s backyard trying to get her children together when the storm hit. Pietrzak said the wind frightened her.

“It was very scary. I’ve been in hurricanes up to a Category 3,” Pietrzak said.

Downed trees and limbs were much of the story around town. Strong winds also knocked down the fence at the Portales schools tennis complex and one of the lights at the Rams softball field.

A report of zero visibility due to the dust on U.S. 70 at the Roosevelt and Curry County line storm came across the police scanner as the storm closed in on Portales.

“The roof looks like it came off over at Territorial House Mexican Grill; they are over trying to pull it off,” Wattenbarger said about the black pitch and metal that once covered the flat roof. “We had to cut the power over there for them to do that.”

Wattenberger said severe winds blew off the SOS Outlet Store roof and left it close to the street.
“There were no reports of any injuries,” he said.

Wattenbarger said a large older tree on South Avenue G had blown over and was entangled in power lines. The tree fell on an old Suburban and rested on power lines near apartments.

The county reported downed power lines and shingles taken off of roofs in Dora. Both Milnesand and Elida had reports of no damage.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Jones, who works in Albuquerque, said there were reports of 68-69 mph winds, with estimated 75 mph gusts in the area.

“Obviously, the wind was the big winner with this storm,” Jones said. “The main thing was the storm