Storms producing funnel clouds, road flooding in Quay County

Chelle Delaney, Freedom New Mexico This funnel cloud was spotted near Quay Road AK, or Three-mile Road, east of Tucumcari about 2 p.m. Wednesday. The cloud touched down briefly several times, but no damage was reported.

By Chelle Delaney, Freedom New Mexico

A funnel cloud was spotted over Tucumcari about 2 p.m. Wednesday as dark storm clouds moved across the region.

The funnel cloud was traveling west between the Frontage Road and Quay Road 62. It touched down briefly in fields, acting like a dust devil, on the easterly side of Quay Road AK, east of Tucumcari.

The National Weather Service said there were a line of thunderstorms extending nine miles northeast of Tucumcari to 12 miles north of Yeso.

The moist and unstable air mass has allowed funnel clouds to develop over Quay, Guadalupe, eastern Harding and eastern San Miguel counties, according to an NWS advisory.

The short-lived funnel clouds tend to be brief, small and relatively weak. On rare occasions these clouds can briefly touch the ground with wind speeds that are generally under 60 mph, the NWS advisory said. However, they can damage lightweight structures such as carports and awnings in their path.

In the path of the storm are Conchas, Cuervo, Logan, Montoya, Newkirk and Pastura, the NWS advised at 2:30 p.m.

Tucumcari Fire Chief Mike Cherry and New Mexico State Police were patrolling the area for the funnel clouds.

Monday’s and Wednesday’s heavy rains have caused road closures because of swollen creeks in Quay County.

The Plaza Larga Creek spilled over Quay Road AF. Trucks and cars were turning back, while one farmer drove his tractor through the overflowing creek.

Further south in Quay County, heavy rains caused a section of State Road 252 about two miles north of House to be closed, according a resident in the House area.

“There’s a draw north of House and the road is blocked,” said Denese Runyan who lives on Quay Road 27. “People started calling me about 10 a.m. asking if our road was open.”

Locals know to use the road by the Runyan’s farm when State Road 252 is closed, Runyan said.

About 4 inches of rain have fallen between today and Tuesday, said Carol Whitecotton, who was at the House Community Center.

There also were heavy rains at the Jordan Fire Station according to a relative who had spoken with Runyan.

In the village of House there also had been heavy rains but no flooding as of noon Wednesday, Whitecotton said.

“We’ve really needed the rain tremendously,” Runyan said. “We haven’t had rain since June of last year. We had a little snow on Christmas eve, a little that came later when there were some drifts. We’re really thankful for it.”

Officials at the Village of House could not be reached for comment.