Katelynne Dow, 11, writes her name in the snow and ice with her skateboard on a cold Saturday afternoon. Temperatures in Clovis never climbed out of the 20s on Saturday. Freezing temperatures are expected for today. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Karl Terry and Greg Price: Freedom Newspapers
A winter ice storm enveloped Curry and Roosevelt counties and the Texas Panhandle 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 freezing rain and snow. The blast left a rime coating of ice on everything from trees and power lines to roads and sidewalks.
Temperatures hovered in the 20s Saturday, with overcast skies, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Guyer in Albuquerque.
While the New Mexico Transportation Department prepared Interstates 25 and 40 on Saturday for an approaching winter storm, local authorities reported only a handful of accidents since the wintery mix hit Friday night.
According to Clovis Police, only two accidents involving minor skids on icy roads occurred Friday and Saturday nights on Route 206 between Clovis and Tatum and on Route 236.
No area roads were closed nor accidents reported Saturday night, according to Clovis Police.
Saturday afternoon police dispatchers in Roosevelt County reported they had dispatched officers to five storm-related accidents since the weather set in on Friday. Two of those were out in the county’s outer areas, including a rollover near Milnesand, and three of the accidents were reported inside Portales city limits.
One of the accidents occurred Friday night as the freezing rain began to fall and sent two pedestrians to Roosevelt General Hospital, according to police.
New Mexico State Police in Tucumcari reported no area problems about 9 p.m. Saturday.
“All roads are open and things are flowing pretty smoothly,” said dispatcher Kathleen Ashcroft.
“Everything has been real quiet,” Clovis Fire Department Battalion Chief Ike Burns said. “I guess people decided to stay in and off the roads.”
Burns said the department was not called for any emergency services over the weekend.
Travel was strongly discouraged Saturday night in the Texas Panhandle by Texas Department of Transportation officials because of the icy conditions.
Clovis residents were stocking up on cold weather accessories, according to NAPA Auto Parts associate Brendan Shields.
Sales of items such as subzero windshield washer fluid, sidewalk salt, wiper blades and ice scrapers were double or triple what they are normally, Shields said.
The National Weather Service declared a winter storm warning through 5 p.m. today for New Mexico’s north, west and northwest regions and until 6 p.m. CST in the Texas Panhandle.
According to the National Weather Service’s Guyer, a winter weather advisory was issued overnight Saturday for the eastern Plains, making travel inconvenient.
Temperatures today will hover around freezing with a chance of late-day sun, Guyer said. Tonight should see frigid temperatures in the single digits and be back up to the 20s again on Monday.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report