By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
A fast moving winter storm blew into Portales shortly after dark Friday, and Portales residents woke to sunny skies but dangerously slick road conditions.
The storm dropped .10 inch of moisture, beginning with rain and changing to snow that was heavy at times Friday night, according to the weather station at KENW-TV. About an inch of snow stuck to the ground. Wind plastered the white stuff to signs, poles and trees around town.
“We had quite a few wrecks but nothing major,” Roosevelt County Sheriff Daren Hooker said. “We had about seven accidents, mostly on U.S. 70.”
The sheriff said the slipping and sliding began around 4:30 a.m. with a one-vehicle rollover on U.S. 70 near Sunland Peanuts. He said victims were transported Roosevelt General Hospital from that wreck and one other smash-up but all were treated and released.
“We’ve had really slick roads, but I haven’t heard of a lot of accidents,” Portales Police Department Capt. Lonnie Berry said.
Berry said city street crews were called out on Friday night snow started turning heavy and worked to plow and sand the city’s main thoroughfares.
Fall commencement went on as planned at Eastern New Mexico University. As people made their way to the 10 a.m. event streets were slick, but by the time they came out the snow, and ice was mostly melted except in shady spots.
“We got out early this morning and shoveled and put out lots of snow melt,” said Lewis Reeves, director of ENMU’s Physical Plant. Reeves said the newly-paved parking lot at Greyhound arena helped the event proceed smoothly. Besides being less muddy, he said the lined parking spaces meant parking was more efficient.
“Parking went just fine,” Officer Mark Morrison, of the ENMU Campus Police said. “I think it went a lot smoother with the lines.”
Temperatures were expected to drop back near the teens Saturday night but a warming trend is predicted through the middle of the week with highs rebounding to 62 by Wednesday, according to AccuWeather.com.