Snowstorm hampers travel

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico

The third snowfall of the season dumped as much as 3 inches in the area Tuesday, making for treacherous driving and many minor accidents.

The snow storm blanketing most of central and northern New Mexico, moved in just after 9 a.m.

Area law enforcement encouraged people to stay home.

“We’re discouraging travel, particularly in Curry and Roosevelt Counties,” State Police Capt. Jimmy Glascock said.

Glascock advised drivers daring to brave roads to, “Drive slow and allow plenty of distance between vehicles.”

Glascock said officers had handled two crashes in Curry County — a rollover on U.S. 70 and another of a vehicle that slid off the roadway into a car parked on the shoulder.

There were minor injuries, he said.

Just before lunch time, Curry County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a crash involving a semi and pickup truck on U.S. 60/84. Law enforcement closed the highway for about an hour.

“We haven’t had a lot of weather (related problems),” Undersheriff Wesley Waller said.

In the city there were minor fender-benders but no major crashes, Lt. Jim Schoeffel said.

But police were concerned about deteriorating road conditions as temperatures dropped around nightfall.

“If the temperature drops and we start seeing black ice, then that’s when we see people losing control,” Clovis Police Lt. Jim Schoeffel said.

“It’s always a good idea to reduce your speed in inclement weather, especially if you’re not accustomed to driving in snow and ice.”

Glascock said Curry and Roosevelt Counties got the brunt of the snowfall.

Portales Police reported very few accidents related to the snow.

City trucks were out in force but Berry said they were fighting snow as it pelted the area.

The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office had a few reports of people sliding off in the ditch.

“Most of the major highways are cleared off, but the side roads are still going to be slick,” said Sheriff Darren Hooker.

The storm’s reach extended far beyond eastern New Mexico. Carlsbad Caverns National Park was closed and White Sands Missile Range was on a two-hour delay.

Carlsbad Caverns management assistant Paula Bauer says the park closed after snow made park roads slick.

Bauer says depending on weather and road conditions, the park could reopen today.

White Sands officials expected up to six inches of snow at San Augustin Pass on U.S. 70 and up to four inches at lower elevations.