Luis Acosta of Clovis scrapes ice and snow from his van’s windshield Wednesday on Gidding Street. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)
A winter storm front that was more bark than bite drifted out of the area Wednesday afternoon, but not before dusting the area with about 2 inches of light snow.
City Road Superintendent Clint Bunch said more than 200 tons of sand and salt were spread onto city streets since Monday to battle what turned out to be mostly freezing rain before Tuesday night’s snow.
“We will be out 24 hours a day until it dries up completely,” Bunch said.
A power outage mid-evening Tuesday that lasted about 45 minutes caused 911 dispatch to rely on a generator backup while officers directed traffic at intersections from 14th Street south to Mabry Drive, Lt. Patrick Whitney of the Clovis police said.
“So far it’s been pretty good (but) people are still driving too fast (for conditions),” Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher said Wednesday morning.
Clovis delayed the start of school two hours Wednesday, the last day of school before the holiday break.
Clovis Municipal Schools superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said the decision to cancel or delay school is always made at the last possible moment, which is usually about 5 a.m. the day in question.
The decision was made Tuesday not to delay school, which she felt proved to be right.
“We made a judgment call that paid off. We were betting the bad weather would not be in by the time school let out and we were right,” she said. Likewise, the decision was made to hold school, albeit delayed, Wednesday so make-up tests and scheduled programs could take place, she said.
Attendance was lower the last two days, she said, but that is not common the last day or so before the winter break begins, she said.
Elsewhere in the state, multiple roads were closed at intervals and accidents abounded, State police spokesperson Lt. Rick Anglada said.
“We’re getting hit hard all over the place. We had had a rash of accidents all over the state — a lot of fender benders. A couple of semi-trucks rolled over in the Socorro area. There were numerous road closures throughout the state on and off,” he said.
Anglada said road conditions were still an issue as warming temperatures Wednesday melted snow and ice, which he said could turn to black ice when the sun goes down and temperatures drop.
“We’re always concerned about (black ice). When the sun goes down all that slush turns into ice and people develop a false sense of security (and) they pick up the speed.”
The storm that slammed into the state Tuesday was moving northeast into Colorado and Kansas. Along the way, it dumped at least 18 inches of snow on parts of New Mexico, glazed roads with ice and snow and caused school districts to cancel classes in a number of cities Wednesday.
Interstate 40 was closed for much of the morning but reopened before noon, freeing truckers stuck along the route. State police continued to discourage travel, however.
Interstate 25 northbound from Las Vegas, N.M., was closed to travelers Wednesday evening due to hazardous driving conditions. Raton Pass was closed for most of the day, state police said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
— New Mexico Department of Transportation
Hotline: (800) 432-4269
— Texas Department of Transportation
Travel and Information Line: (800) 452-9292