Long weekend starts with thunderstorm

Gary Mitchell

Portales may best remember Friday night’s thunderstorm as the one that interrupted the Portales-West Las Vegas football game at Greyhound Stadium for 15 minutes.
But while the city received just one-tenth of an inch of rain, other area towns received their best soaking in two months.
Rain prevented Ranchvale farmer Dudley Bailey from harvesting his 150 acres of watermelons on Saturday, but he looked at it as a mixed blessing.
“Dadgum it — you don’t get any rain until the day you start harvesting,” he said. “Isn’t that the way it works? We were supposed to load three trucks to go to New York City on Saturday. I was looking forward to getting paid. It’s kind of a tough deal.”
Still, it was rain — and the Bailey farm picked up 0.8 of an inch.
“It was good,” he said. “The country needs it terribly. Water is the name of the game, and the rain God gives is better and more economical than any other kind.”
The intensive thunderstorms packed both lightning and heavy rains for some areas.
Rainfall amounts varied from a tenth-of-an inch in downtown Portales to 3 inches five miles north of Clovis and Texico.
Dairy farmer Alva Carter Jr. noted there was a difference between what downtown Portales recorded and what his dairy, Carter’s Milk Factory, south of town received.
“We had four-tenths of an inch of rain,” he said. “It was a nice rain.”
Farmer Donnie Helmer north of Pleasant Hill recorded the 3-inch total.
“Sure, it will help us,” he said. “It was a pretty good rain. It will be good for the milo crop, and it will make a good start for planting our wheat crop.”
Clovis weather observer Nancy McPherson reported 1.21 inches of rainfall in town.
“It was a beautiful rain,” she said. “It smelled good, and it sounded good.”
The last time it rained this much or more in the Clovis area dates back to June 26, McPherson said, when it rained 2.32 inches.
“That was the day I had to dump it from the little can to the big can and measure it some more,” she quipped.
The Clovis Municipal Airport north and east of Clovis recorded 2.48 inches of moisture overnight.
“There was a cold front that moved south and became stationary in the Tucumcari-Clovis-Portales area, and the northeast wind increased the moisture,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Geoffrey Bogorad in Albuquerque.
“The front was the focusing mechanism for the thunderstorms to develop,” he said. “They were moving real fast, but they dumped copious amounts of rainfall.”
Forecast for the Clovis-Portales area will be pleasant, Bogorad said.
“We’re looking for mostly sunny skies,” he said. “The clouds will dry out. It will be sunny, and temperatures will warm up back into the lower 80s. (Today) should be a nice, late summer day. Labor Day will be mostly sunny, a few degrees warmer in the mid-80s.”
According to the weather.com Web site, the forecast for Labor Day calls for a 40 percent likelihood of afternoon showers and thunderstorms.