Winter weather strikes area

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

A winter ice storm enveloped Roosevelt County Friday and Saturday making travel treacherous.

After a freezing fog stayed over the area much of the day Friday, the storm got serious early Friday night with a brief period of freezing rain and snow. The blast left a rime coating of ice on everything from trees and power lines to roads and sidewalks.

Saturday afternoon police dispatchers reported they had sent officers to five storm-related accidents since the weather set in on Friday. Two of those were out in the county, including a rollover near Milnesand, and three of the accidents were reported inside Portales city limits.

One of the accidents occurred Friday night at 18th Street and Ave. I as the freezing rain began to fall and sent two pedestrians to Roosevelt General Hospital, according to police.

“Weather was a factor,” Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said.

“Apparently the windows on the vehicle involved weren’t clear and the road was slick.”

Berry said the report on the accident was not complete and he didn’t have details on citations or condition of the injured.

Sheriff Darren Hooker told the PNT he had not heard of any roads that had been closed because of the slick conditions. He said primary roads around the county were passable and in some cases clear, while secondary roads and streets were slick.

“I know they’ve (deputies) worked a few accidents today, but we’ve not had to bring anybody extra in,” Hooker said. “We have a plan in place we can activate if conditions worsen that brings in extra officers and four-wheel-drive vehicles to patrol the county.”

Most activities went on as planned Saturday, including a Lady Ram basketball game at home against Goddard and the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial march. But other events had been canceled.

According to City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry, who co-chairs the city’s Cultural Affairs Committee, the children’s MLK lock-in at the recreation center Saturday night and the prayer service scheduled for today at 2 p.m. were canceled. She said plans for the MLK program at 10 a.m. Monday were still going forward.

On Saturday the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through 5 p.m. today for the north-central and west-central mountain ranges and the northwest plateau.

U.S. 62-180 from Hobbs to Carlsbad and U.S. 285 near Roswell were closed for several hours Saturday but later reopened. Freezing rain and fog in Lea County that caused numerous accidents also forced the closure of N.M. 18 between Lovington and Jal on Saturday.