Roads slick and dangerous from storm

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks A sand truck from the city of Clovis Public Works Department applies sand Wednesday to the intersection of Prince and 21st streets.

Freedom New Mexico

Blustery winds and freezing temperatures made for a slippery morning commute Tuesday across most of eastern New Mexico.

The pre-Christmas winter blast closed highways and delayed the start of school in Texico by two hours.

There were no reports of any major traffic crashes or injuries overnight. However, four people died and two others were injured in the two-vehicle collision Monday afternoon on U.S.60/84 east of Melrose, according to Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller. Authorities blamed the crash on slippery road conditions.

Identities of those killed were still being withheld Tuesday morning as part of the investigation.

Waller said just before 2:45 p.m. a westbound Ford truck driven by James Townson, 67, of Clovis, was struck by an eastbound vehicle. All four of the deceased were traveling together, Waller said.

The National Weather Service said residents of Clovis and Portales can expect to see decreasing cloud coverage and mostly sunny weather this afternoon. Daytime temperatures are expected to range from 32 to 34 degrees with winds between 10 to 20 mph and temperatures tonight could dip to the mid to low 20s.

Clovis Police Chief Steve Sanders said Clovis streets are icy and slick. Sanders said the Clovis police department did not receive any reports of major traffic accidents Monday night or Tuesday morning.

According to Lt. Mark Cage with the Portales Police Department, Monday’s leftover rain in Portales froze overnight, making many roads icy Tuesday. He said Portales did not receive any snowfall overnight.

Cage said Portales authorities did not receive any reports of traffic accidents overnight.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation was reporting the following road closures as of 6 a.m.:

• U. S. 60 from Encino to Clovis;

• N.M 268 in Melrose to N.M. 209 near Forrest.

Local authorities advise area residents to drive at a slower speed and use extra caution when traveling. Slower speeds should be used until the ice melts.

The National Weather Service in Albuquerque recorded the following precipitation and snowfall totals for Clovis and Portales since Monday:

• Clovis – More than 1.3 inches of precipitation

• Portales – 1.15 inches of precipitation

• Melrose – 0.2 inches of snowfall