Grady powerless in fight against cold

A Farmer’s Electric Cooperative Crew worked north of Grady on Monday replacing poles and lines that were weighted down and broken by ice from the recent ice storm. (CNJ Correspondent Photo: Martha Hardwick)

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer

More than a dozen people in the outskirts of Grady have been without power since Saturday because of to ice damaging power lines, according to Farmer’s Electric Cooperative officials.

Crews are continuing to work to restore power to the individuals affected, said Larry Bright, an operations manager for Farmer’s. He said Farmer’s officials anticipate all service will be restored by midweek if the weather stays mild to allow repairs to be made.

“Most of (the downed lines) are out in the rural areas where it’s pretty sparsely populated, so there’s not a whole lot of people (without power). It started Saturday. Most of the guys worked through the night Saturday and Sunday (to restore) power,” Bright said.

Heavy ice and wind caused at least 70 poles to break and fall, Bright told. Outages are primarily scattered among outlying individual residences, he said.

“The number of poles we know of is around 70 and possibly more. If the wind gets up it could be more. That ice (is) real heavy, and it ends up breaking the wire and the poles.”

Wesley Grau, a longtime rancher who lives a couple miles south of Grady, said his family lost power intermittently Saturday and Sunday.

“It went out two or three times Saturday and two or three times Sunday. It kind of put me in a jam,” he said Monday afternoon. “It took the heater out, the microwave, the coffee pot, the satellite, the TV. … We covered up with heavy blankets. … We survived,” he told.

Grau said they carried water in for the cattle over the weekend and broke ice on tanks, but otherwise his cattle had not suffered any ill effects from the freeze.

Jokingly referring to himself as a newcomer whose family has ranched in the area for about 100 years, Grau said he has not seen a freeze like the recent one in 30 to 40 years.

Wes Reeves, spokesman for Xcel Energy, said his company had a few outages Monday in the Texas Panhandle but so far the Clovis area has been without problems, though ice and wind continue to cause concern.

“By (today we hope) we’ll be completely out of the woods,” he said.

Temperatures Monday skirted records, according to the National Weather Service’s Annette Mokry in Albuquerque. The high was 24 degrees, just one degree above the coldest high for Jan. 15 of 23 degrees recorded in 1917. Monday’s low was 8 degrees, slightly above the record low of 6 degrees hit in 1972.

Temperatures overnight were supposed to dip to 8 degrees again and warm to 35 degrees today. The record low for this date was 5 degrees below zero in 1930.

Mokry said the eastern Plains region was feeling the effects of a modified Arctic air mass that hit the country’s central portion. She said temperatures should slowly improve over the next few days and reach the 40s by Thursday. She said there is only a 10 percent chance of an isolated snow shower tonight.