Severe weather predicted for area

By Tonya Fennell: Freedom Newspapers

Snow shovels and bags of salt used to melt snow and ice were flying off the shelves at Triangle Ace Home Center in Clovis Monday morning.
According to store manager Ron Scorzafava, an entire pallet of snow melter sold out in 30 minutes.

“It (salt) is going out like gangbusters,” Scorzafava said.

Residents are preparing for the wintry blast expected to hit the area hard. The
National Weather Service in Albuquerque has issued an ice storm warning that is in effect until 5 a.m. Wednesday. Severe winter weather — including freezing rain, sleet and up to 9 inches of snow — is expected across the area.

Although students were granted a two-hour reprieve from classes earlier this month when snow blanketed the area, school officials were uncertain if school would be delayed or canceled because of the impending winter weather.

Clovis Schools Director of Community Relations David Briseno said the decision would be made early today.

With semester finals being given, Briseno said, “conversations are taking place to determine what will happen if they need to be rescheduled.”

Briseno said parents should tune in to their local news channel for a listing of school closings.

Lt. Patrick Whitney, Clovis Police Department public information officer, said travel is highly discouraged because of the combination of snow and ice expected on the roadways.

“We ask that you please not venture out unless absolutely necessary once the storm has arrived,” Whitney said.

A variety of precipitation types is expected, the National Weather Service said. Look for frozen precipitation to become all snow by tonight with some snow accumulation expected across the whole southeast plains area, the storm warning said.

Ice accumulation will be more pronounced in areas along the Texas state line southeast of Clovis and along the Roosevelt County line.

“It looks like one of the more significant winter storms that we’ve seen for a while as far as affecting a large area of New Mexico,” said Ken Drozd, a weather service meteorologist.

The weather should become relatively quiet Thursday, but another strong surface front and associated upper-level low might plague the state Friday and Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ken De Los Santos, director of the Clovis/Curry County Emergency Management Office, offers tips to prepare for the cold weather.

Around the home:
• Powerful winter storms can knock down power lines leaving residents without electricity. Battery-powered equipment should be checked frequently.

• Stock an extra supply of food. Purchase food that requires no cooking in case of a power failure.

• If appropriate, check your supply of propane. Fuel carriers may be unable to reach you if road conditions are bad.

• Use caution when using fireplaces, stoves or space heaters. Keep the area well-ventilated to avoid carbon monoxide build-up. Avoid overloading electrical circuits, and keep flammable materials away from heat sources.

Automobiles:

• Keep water out of your fuel tank by keeping it full.

• Carry a winter storm kit in your car. The kit should include a flashlight, windshield scraper, extra clothes, matches, candles, booster cables, sand, chains, blankets and high calorie non-perishable food.

• If a winter storm exceeds or tests your driving skills, seek shelter immediately.

• Try not to travel alone; drive in a convoy if possible.

• Drive carefully and defensively. Pump your breaks when trying to stop on snow or ice.

At a glance

• Plan ahead and leave earlier.

• When on icy or snow-packed roads, drive much slower than the speed limit.

•Allow plenty of room between you and the car in front. At least four times the normal distance. This will give you room and time to stop or maneuver around the hazard and avoid a crash.

• Turn on your lights for greater visibility.

• Turn off cruise control and use a slower gear.

• Stay behind the snow plow trucks and avoid passing big rigs as their drivers cannot see you coming up behind them due to the blowing snow.

• Keep your windshield, head lights and tail lights clean.

• Take extra precautions on bridges and overpasses as they tend to freeze sooner.

• Slow down considerably before entering curves.

Source: New Mexico State Police

Road advisories:
New Mexico Department of Transportation
Hotline: (800) 432-4269
Internet: www.nmroads.com