Meager rainstorm welcome

By Helena Rodriguez, PNT Staff Writer

It was the real thing this time!

A 24-inch water main rupture flooded some downtown streets in Portales on Monday, making it look like it had rained. But when residents awoke on Wednesday morning to water-filled streets, it was the result of an unexpected downpour. And it was the city’s first and only rainfall for the year, adding up to a mere, but much-welcomed quarter of an inch of rain.

On Wednesday afternoon, Shannon Hearn of the KENW-TV Broadcast Center, which tracks local rainfall, said that the center recorded 0.25 of an inch of rain, which also happens to be the year-to-date amount of rainfall for the town.

According to James Kratzer, a cooperative weather observer who lives at the west end of Roosevelt County, near the G-13 cattle ranch, the area has received just about an inch of rain so far this year.

Harold Terry, the county executive director for the Farm Service Agency, said that although more precipitation is desperately needed for area wheat farmers, this small sprinkle was welcome.

“The rains are welcome and we hope that they continue to return. We would have liked to have had moisture before this time (of the year), but rain is always welcome,” Terry said.

“We’ll need additional moisture because we’re below normal, as far as precipitation, but it was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “We’ve just been dry and dusty for so long, hopefully things will change for the better.”

Area wheat crops have been planted and Terry said, “I know we had a little bit of hail with this rain, but hopefully, the hail wasn’t damaging to the wheat crop. I know it had to have had some effect, but maybe it wasn’t too bad.”

He added that of the three crops his office tracks the acreage of — corn, wheat and grain sorghum — wheat is the only crop that has been planted so far. However, he said rain does have an effect on all three crops. He said that in 2007, his office recorded 120,144 acres of wheat planted in Roosevelt County.

More rain could be on the horizon. The forecast for today is partly cloudy with chance of more isolated rain showers.