Wind blows train off tracks near Fort Sumner

A wild wind storm Saturday whipped up blinding dust, peeled a roof back in downtown Clovis and was blamed for knocking a BNSF train off the tracks near Fort Sumner.

Courtesy photo: Scot Stinnett

High winds knocked these cargo cars off their tracks Saturday at the Pecos River Bridge, west of Fort Sumner. While no people were injured, there was plenty of property damage for both the BNSF Railway and the owners of the cargo.

State police Capt. Jimmy Glascock confirmed wind was the cause of a massive derailment at the Pecos River Bridge just west of Fort Sumner. Witnesses said at least 30 cars carrying double-stacked storage compartments careened off the tracks, spilling cargo including dozens of boxes of tuna.

No one was injured in the derailment and no hazardous materials were spilled, Glascock said. BNSF officials were not immediately available for comment.

The National Weather Service said sustained wind speeds of 43 mph sometimes topped 60 mph during the storm that began churning up dust just before noon and continued howling through the night. Those winds were also blamed for peeling most of the roof off a commercial building at Fourth and Main streets in down Clovis.

Xcel spokesman Wes Reeves said a minor electric power outage in Clovis was typical the company's customers were experiencing across the Texas Panhandle to Hobbs. About 50 customers were affected in northwest Clovis beginning about 3 p.m. Power was restored to all but one customer by 8 p.m. as utility crews fought the dust and wind.

Reeves called the scattered outages across Texas and eastern New Mexico "very typical wind issues," that included sparking or arching wires and lines down from being impaled by flying tree branches.

The weather service was predicting warmer temperatures today but continued winds.

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