By Leslie Radford
A powerful eastbound storm that blanketed most of New Mexico and parts of West Texas sent a reminder to the area that spring is still five days away.
The Portales area received nearly half a foot of snow as of late Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, which caused a handful of schools to delay openings or cancel classes.
Cannon Air Force base reported an average of 5 1/8 inches over the area as of 4 p.m. Tuesday. Sgt. Nathan Campbell said the average measure took into account both areas that had large drifts and areas that had no snow on the ground at all.
“With the wind, it kind of makes measurements inaccurate,” Campbell said, “so you have to take the average.”
Snowfall was waning from west to east as the day progressed, according to the weather service. The forecast for today is dry and milder statewide.
Meteorologist Brent Wachter with the weather service in Albuquerque said it is not unusual for this area to receive snow in March.
The state was hit by a cold front that blasted down from the north and a potent upper-level low pressure area that came from northern Arizona and southern Utah, according to the weather service.
The storm dumped more than 2 feet of snow on parts of state, forcing the closure of two interstate highways and schools in at least 40 districts in northern, central and southeastern New Mexico.
Eastern New Mexico University was open for most of Tuesday but felt the effect of the weather.
Economics professor Sue Stockly said students are reluctant to attend class during bad weather.
“I think I had a good turn out (Tuesday) because I’m giving exams on Thursday,” Stockly said. “But generally, attendance is down with weather such as this.”
Classes at ENMU were canceled past 4 p.m. The university has released information that classes starting prior to 10 a.m. today are also canceled. University employees, however, should report to work at 9 a.m.
For information on inclement weather status, ENMU offers an information line at 562-4636.
Clovis Community College canceled classes and will open at 10 a.m., according to a school press release.
PNT Managing Editor Kevin Wilson contributed to this report.
• New Mexico – (800) 432-4269
• Texas – (800) 452-9292