Storms hit area again

By Darrell Todd Maurina

Friday evening’s thunderstorms brought high winds, pea-sized hail, and heavy rain to the Clovis area, but area law enforcement agencies reported no major weather-related damage.
“We did have some streets flooded, which is normal due to all the rain,” said Curry County Emergency Management Director Ken De Los Santos. “The flooding for us is flash flooding because we don’t have much of a drainage system on our streets and when we have a lot of rain the streets flood.”
Cameo and Prince Streets were hit hardest by the Clovis flooding, De Los Santos said, although there were no reports of flood damage or serious traffic problems.
De Los Santos said Friday’s weather was actually more positive than negative.
“It wasn’t too bad,” De Los Santos said. “We did get some much-needed rain.”
According to the National Weather Service, radar reports indicated significant winds up to 75 mph in a swath from St. Vrain to Clovis and Portales. While Clovis reported .92 of an inch of rain, rainfall south and west of Curry County was significantly less. Melrose received .12 of an inch and Portales received only .03 of an inch. Neither the Curry County nor Roosevelt County sheriff’s offices received reports of damage due to the weather.
Rain to the east of Clovis was somewhat heavy, but still not as heavy as Clovis. According to the National Weather Service, Muleshoe received .67 of an inch and Friona received .37 of an inch.
Bailey County reported no damage, but the Parmer County sheriff’s office reported flooding, pea-sized hail, and one fence knocked down by winds that caused cattle to get loose.
Agricultural damage was a different story. While the rain was welcome, the wind and hail weren’t.
“In a matter of 15 minutes (hail) took out nearly 1,000 acres of irrigated wheat and 700 acres of corn. Some of the acres were within 24 hours of cutting,” said Scott Pipkin, who farms about 15 miles north of Clovis.
Pipkin estimated he lost more than $100,000 in his wheat crop.
“I know there are some other guys who were hit even worse; you get hail into cotton and it can’t take it,” Pipkin said. “Farmers live with the thought that you expect occasionally you’re going to lose it to Mother Nature, but it doesn’t make things any easier to swallow.”
The high winds made the hail damage worse, and even made it dangerous to get farm equipment out of the fields.
“It was blowing so hard it blew the combine off to the side of the road, and that’s hard to do. That must have been some really strong wind,” Pipkin said. “The problem with hail and wind is that the wind will push the hail through the crop just like razor blades.”
For ranchers, however, the rain was a welcome improvement over recent dry years.
“It didn’t do anything but help us,” said Wesley Grau of Grady. “We haven’t had any grass to speak of for the last four years.”
Grau said more rain would be needed before ranchers could start seeing benefits on their pastureland. “It’ll take a series of rains but it will help; we see a little bit of green there now,” Grady said. “Maybe it’ll rain today.”

Rainfall facts

• Clovis received .92 of an inch of rainfall on Friday night. The National Weather Service last received a report of that much rain in Clovis on Sept. 13; that was also .92 of an inch.
• The last report of more than an inch of rain in one day in Clovis was received on Aug. 29: 1.74 inches.
• Significant two-day rainfall totals recently included: May 25-26 (.98); Oct. 24-25 (1.12); Sept. 12-13 (1.02).

Friday’s area rainfall totals
Clayton .14
Clovis .92
Friona .37
Melrose .12
Muleshoe .67
Portales .03
Source: National Weather Service