Residents brace for more ice

By Casey Peacock: PNT staff writer

Roosevelt County residents were caught up in winter’s icy grip Tuesday with icy roads and sidewalks and temperatures that didn’t climb much above freezing. Residents were bracing for another day of bad weather today.

Forecasts were for increased precipitation Tuesday night and warmer and wetter conditions today. Up to five inches of snow and windy conditions are possible before the storm moves out later today, according to the National Weather Service.

“Icy roads have contributed to several accidents that have occurred in the county and the city,” said Capt. Lonnie Berry. Portales Police Department.

Though no serious injuries have been reported, officials have been encouraging area residents to stay off the slick roads, according to Berry.

“We are trying to discourage people from driving, unless necessary,” said Berry.

According to Berry, a weather plan is in place and will be utilized if needed.

Residents are being advised to prepare for icy, snowy weather. Any travel, shopping or business should be done before sundown when the roads begin to ice over, he said.

Portales schools were on regular schedules Tuesday but Elida, Dora and Floyd schools were closed due to the icy weather.

Late Tuesday school officials had not decided if school will again be canceled or on a delay for Wednesday. A wait and see approach was prevailing in all four districts. School officials said they will be out and about early in the morning to assess the road conditions.

“We are going to wait and see and look at conditions before making a decision,” said Jim Daughtery, Elida Schools Principal.

Xcel Energy was beginning to receive a few reports of power outages, across their serving area, late on Tuesday afternoon, said Wes Reeves, spokesman for Xcel Energy. Since Monday, Xcel has been preparing for the predicted weather. All available personnel have been placed on call to handle any emergencies, said Reeves.

“We feel confident in our abilities to handle it,” said Reeves.

Reeves encourages customers to report any outages immediately. Calls will be handled through the Amarillo call center, where additional customer service representatives will be on site. Customers are being asked to be patient, since a larger volume of calls could mean an extended wait for power to be restored in some cases, said Reeves.

Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative has experienced minimal problems, by late Tuesday. Power outages in the Elida and Floyd communities on Monday were caused by moisture and fog, said Jerry Partin, RCEC general manager.

Additional problems that could arise, would depend on the weather. If the winds continue to become stronger, it could lead to potential problems, said Partin. He said winds could cause ice to build up on the lines, which in turn causes the lines to start galloping.

Customers are encouraged to be prepared to go with out electricity, in the event that a power outage occurs, said Partin.

“We are hoping that it won’t get substantially worse than it is right know,” said Partin.