Scattered power outages, downed trees and some home and vehicle damage occurred Friday night in Roswell and just outside the city limits due to rainstorms, lightning and winds.
The National Weather Service is forecasting the possibility of more storms in the area until this coming Friday, with flash floods possible. The most severe of the possible storms are expected to be over by Tuesday.
Dodie Garrison of East Beech Street said she and her family experienced what felt like a tornado Friday night.
“I told my family to take shelter,” she said. “I could feel the house shake.”
She said her family had cleaned up most of the debris by early Saturday morning. That included some siding and a screen door ripped off her home, lawn chairs thrown around the property and fallen limbs and branches.
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At East Bland Street and South Virginia Avenue, Stephanie Sanchez and others were sawing and removing large tree limbs that had fallen atop a car at the Performance Auto & Body Shop. She said that was the only damage that had occurred at the site.
At various points in the city on Saturday, people and crews could be seen cleaning up limbs and debris at homes and work sites, including at the New Mexico Military Institute.
The National Weather Service indicates that thunderstorms began about 7:51 p.m. in the Roswell area, with reports of rain and lightning in some parts of the city until 9:51 p.m. Winds of 12 miles an hour, with gusts up to 41 miles an hour, occurred during the early hours of the storms.
About 0.54 inches of rain was reported near the Roswell Air Center, according to the National Weather Service. But the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, individuals who voluntarily collect and report precipitation to state and federal researchers, indicated that a couple of spots in the county received more than an inch of rain. Among the 12 sites in Chaves County providing data on Saturday morning, the precipitation ranged from a low of 0.00 inches to a high of 1.18 inches. The average was 0.48 inches.
The winds and lightning did cause power outages to more than 6,000 customers at the peak of the problems, according to Wes Reeves, senior media representative for Xcel Energy. About 3,000 customers had extended power outages over the evening, with 625 still without power by Saturday morning.
“Local Xcel Energy line and service crews have been joined by Xcel Energy crews and contractors from both New Mexico and Texas to restore service,” he said. “Many of the outages were caused by wind damage on individual service connections to homes and businesses, and portions of southeast Roswell have been affected by line and pole damage.”
He said that about six poles and a line about three-quarters of a mile long were damaged in southeast Roswell.
Xcel employees and contractors were working at 60 sites in the area. By Saturday afternoon, only 20 customers were without power, and most were expected to have it restored by the end of the day. But Reeves said that Xcel cannot reconnect service to customers with damage to meters or masts until after they are repaired and inspected.
Roswell Police Department officers did notice a significant number of vehicle accidents Friday night, according to spokesman Todd Wildermuth, although he could not put a number on it by Saturday morning. One of the accidents Friday occurred about midnight on North Main Street and Mescalero Road. The two-vehicle accident resulted in significant damage to the vehicles, Wildermuth said, and minor injuries to several occupants, who were treated at local hospitals.
The RPD issued a social media alert about the storm and about potential driving hazards due to falling tree branches and downed power lines affecting traffic lights. City crews removed debris from city streets Friday, while police officers directed traffic in some areas of the city.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at email@example.com.