Home News Local News Another night, another storm

Another night, another storm

Alex Ross Photo Storm clouds off in the horizon in south Roswell Monday night. A tornado was cited near Hagerman that night and rain pounded Chaves County. More rain is expected throughout the week.

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Dark skies, high winds and heavy rain struck Chaves County Monday evening, as nearby communities were still reeling from a hail storm the night before.

Rumbles of thunder could be heard and lightning seen in the skies in and around Roswell during the early evening hours.

The National Weather Service in Albuquerque issued severe thunderstorm warnings and a tornado watch for Chaves County and southeastern New Mexico. A tornado was located about 18 miles southeast of Roswell, heading east at 20 mph Monday afternoon, and ping-pong size hail was forecast for parts of southwest Chaves County.

Another thunderstorm warning just after 5:30 p.m. predicted 60 mph wind gusts and half-dollar size hail for Roswell, Dexter, Midway and Greenfield. A flood advisory was also later issued for Dexter, Hagerman, Greenfield and the Roswell Correctional facility and remained in effect until 10 p.m.

The National Weather Service warned of flooding in arroyos and small streams in the area and stated that 2 inches of rain had already fallen on Monday.

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Strong winds did inflict some damage. One semi tractor-trailer truck was knocked on its side at about mile marker 87 on U.S. Highway 285 west of Hagerman, according to Justin Powell, fire chief with Dexter Fire & Rescue.

Mike Herrington, Chaves County Sheriff, said that no one was injured in the toppled tractor trailer. Herrington said that though the property was flooded, the latest rain on Monday did not flood the roads.

Hagerman faced some additional damage including some trees and an electric pole that blew over near Hagerman schools, Powell said. He added a few vehicles also went off the road, but did not result in significant injuries to the drivers or passengers or damage to the vehicles.

Power outages were reported. Central Valley Electric Cooperative, which serves rural portions of Chaves and Eddy counties, announced on its Facebook page at about 7 p.m. outages had been reported near Cottonwood, Hagerman and Lake Arthur. A separate post on the Facebook page stated another outage was reported south of Roswell near the YO Crossing west of 285 near Dexter.

The post stated crews were aware of the situation and working to restore power to consumers.

The number of customers without electricity was not stated on the Facebook page, but an outage map on Central Valley Electric’s website listed the number at 205 in Chaves County and 73 in Eddy County as of 7:56 p.m Monday, according to the map. It is unknown if all of those outages were caused by the weather.

In Roswell, Xcel Energy reported 133 people were without electricity in the city’s south end, according to an outage map on Xcel’s website. The outage map estimated power would be restored by 9:45 p.m. Monday.

Monday marked the second night of destructive weather for the communities of Hagerman and Dexter. Sunday night, thunderstorms led to hail of between 2 and 3 inches in diameter.

Enrique Moreno, founder and executive director of Roswell Community Disaster Relief, who was driving around Hagerman Sunday night, described seeing homes and vehicles with windows broken by hail the size of a golf ball.

The Hagerman Police Department stated on its Facebook page several people had been displaced because of flooding and damage to their homes Sunday night and that the Red Cross has been activated. No exact figures were listed on how many were unable to stay in their homes due to damage from the weather.

State Road 2 from Hagerman south was among the roads in the area closed due to widespread flooding Sunday. Herrington said Monday evening that nearly all roads had reopened, including State Road 2.

The forecast from the National Weather Service states, “There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms over southeastern New Mexico Tuesday afternoon and evening where large hail, damaging winds, flooding, frequent lightning strikes, and a couple of tornados are possible. Central New Mexico may see a couple of strong storms with mainly damaging winds and large hail Tuesday.”

The storm system responsible for the extended stretch of severe weather will move across New Mexico Wednesday. The threat for severe storms will decrease, however, the potential for flooding and small hail accumulations will increase as storm motions will be very weak, according to the forecast.

The focus for a couple of strong storms will shift into northeastern New Mexico Thursday.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.  

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