Rainfall helps crops, hinders construction

By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
ccalloway@pntonline.com

Roosevelt County farmer Greg Burris knows that any rain in the area is a timely rain since the drought has plagued farmers for the past three years, but Wednesday’s showers specifically helped save his wheat crop.

“It will tremendously help it,” Burris said. “We were getting on the verge of losing the top moisture. This will help make ends meet.”

Eric Norwood Jr.: Portales News-Tribune A large truck drives through a puddle on the corner of South Avenue D and 17th Street on Wednesday afternoon during the rainstorm.

Eric Norwood Jr.: Portales News-Tribune
A large truck drives through a puddle on the corner of South Avenue D and 17th Street on Wednesday afternoon during the rainstorm.

Burris said he received nearly 2 inches of rain on his farm near Elida and has received 5 to 8 inches of rain in the summer months at his farms, which are scattered across Roosevelt County.

“It’s so much more than last year,” said Burris, who grows milo, wheat and hay.

According to Accuweather.com Senior Meteorologist Mike Pigott, radar estimates showed that Roosevelt County received up to 4 inches of rain as of Wednesday afternoon as the showers continued.

“We have a lot of tropical moisture flowing into the region,” Pigott said. “There’s pressure from the Gulf of Mexico and the winds bring it into New Mexico. There’s very warm and humid air flowing into the region.”

Pigott said area residents should expect to see showers and possibly thunderstorms today and Friday with high temperatures in the low 80s.

This is only more good news for Burris, who said the rain comes at a tim when wheat is being planted, and also give moisture to his milo.

“The rain’s going to deteriorate the quality (of the milo), a little bit but this rain will kind of help the grains a little,” he said.

While farmers are excited about the rain, there’s one group of people who can’t work until it stops.

“We’re at a standstill,” said Pat Garcia, New Mexico Department of Transportation assistant project manager of the U.S. 70 reconstruction project. “Unfortunately until the rain quits, it doesn’t even help to start the (water removal) process. A good soaking rain just puts us at a standstill.”

Garcia said this week workers were working on the installation of street lighting and irrigation on First Street.

“We also planned for curb and gutter from (Avenue) C to Main,” Garcia said. “With the current rains that’s put all that on hold.”

Garcia said the total weather days that have delayed the completion of the $8.3 million project since it started in May is at 59 excluding the weather suspension granted to the contractor when temperatures were too low to work in December through March.

“We’ll continue going on with what we had planned for the week (when the rain stops). They’re getting to switch traffic on Second Street also and start doing removals on the inside lane,” Garcia said. “Weather-permitting, we’ll continue moving forward.”

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