By Jack King
The National Weather Service called the first tornado watch of the season for Curry and Roosevelt counties at 3:55 p.m. Tuesday, based on observations of wind speed, temperatures and instability in low levels of the atmosphere, said Jess Michalski, a meteorologist at the weather service’s Albuquerque office.
But, Michalski said, no tornadoes were sighted and the watch was canceled at 7:30 p.m.
“We look at differences in the speed of the wind at adjacent levels and also wind direction, especially in lower levels of the atmosphere. There was a brief flurry of thunderstorm activity in Roosevelt County, but nothing developed,” he said.
Michalski said a sharp drop from shirt-sleeve to jacket weather many residents felt Tuesday afternoon probably was due more to increased cloud cover than to an actual drop in temperatures.
Weather observers in Clovis reported a high of 65 and a low of 49 Tuesday, while observers in Portales reported a high of 70 and a low of 49. But none reported the kind of sudden temperature drop frequently associated with a cold front or a line of thunderstorms moving through an area, Michalski said.
A low cloud deck in West Texas pushed into eastern New Mexico and, combined with a low pressure system centered in southeastern New Mexico, resulted in fog and low visibility, he said.
National Weather Service forecasts for the area show that today will be partly cloudy with highs in the 60s and 70s. Winds are expected to be 25-35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.
Tonight should be more of the same, with tempertures dipping into the upper 30s and lower 40s.