Robert Osborn uses his 4-wheeler to pull his sons Blaze, 9, left, and Camron, 7, down the street. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Casey Peacock: Freedom Newspapers
A prolonged cold spell pushed the average temperature in January in eastern New Mexico well below normal.
According to AccuWeather.com, the average daily temperature last month was six to eight degrees below the historical average.
After a balmy start — with four of the first 12 days in the mid-60s — daytime temperatures hovered in the 30s and 40s the remainder of the month. The average high for January ranges between 52 and 54 degrees, according to AccuWeather.com.
The last 19 days in January were anything but average as the thermometer never budged above 43 degrees, including a four-day span in which it never got above freezing.
The 7 inches of snow and icy road conditions have kept Portales and Clovis public works department crews busy.
“Basically the streets have been the big, big issues,” said Tom Howell, Portales’ public works director.
Clovis Public Works Director Harry Wang reported his department has spent $33,000 on overtime, salt, sand, fuel and repairs in January to keep and maintain the streets.
Moisture is good
The snow in mid-January brought much-needed moisture to the area, according to Erik Ness, director of communications for the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau. He said the snow has helped recharge aquifers and supplied critical pre-plant moisture for spring crops.
“It’s very positive for agriculture right now,” Ness said.
A National Weather Service observer for 50 years, Grady Bright of Melrose said the recent weather has been cold, though not nearly what it was in 1963. On Jan. 13, 1963, the day began with a temperature of 20 below zero with 2 to 3 inches of snow, he said.
“This is not nearly so cold (as Jan. 13, 1963), and there is a lot more moisture,” said Bright.
65 — Jan. 4, 11
8 — Jan. 15-16, 23
Jan. 6 — trace
Jan. 13 — trace
Jan. 14 — trace
Jan. 19 — 2.50 inches
Jan. 20 — 4.50 inches
Jan. 30 — trace
Jan. 31 — trace
4 — Days the high was in the 60s
4 — Times the high was below freezing
7 — Times in the first 12 days the high was 50 or above
12 — Days the low was in the teens
19 — Straight days the high was 43 or below