About 1,600 Clovis residents were without power this morning as a blizzard closed schools, businesses and roads and police urged everyone to avoid travel.
National Weather Service officials reported 1 to 3.5 inches of snow fell around Portales; about 1.5 inches blanketed Clovis. Area residents reported 4- to 6-foot snow drifts by 10 a.m. when officials said blowing snow limited visibility to a half mile.
The National Weather Service in Albuquerque issued a blizzard warning and predicted the region would see 4 to 8 inches of snow before it stops late this morning. Winds were expected to gust to 55 mph.
Police reported no fatal or serious vehicle accidents, but officials had several reports of cars being stuck in ditches.
“The biggest thing is we’re asking people to absolutely stay off the roads,” Clovis Police Capt. Patrick Whitney said. “Almost everything is closed today.”
The CPD sent out an “emergency crash alert,” which said officers will only respond to crashes with injuries and any other crash reporting will have to take place after storm conditions have passed.
“Clovis police would like to remind drivers that when icy/snowy conditions exist on the roadway that ice may be hidden underneath a thin layer of blowing snow, so their vehicle’s ability to stop and maneuver is greatly diminished and extra distance and significantly slower speeds must be exercised in order to drive safely,” according to the CPD alert.
Roosevelt County Chief Deputy Malin Parker said visibility was one-quarter of a mile in places.
“Stay home if you can and stay off the roads,” Parker said.
Portales Police Chief Doug Jones said his officers were checking cars that appear to be abandoned to make sure no one was trapped in the snow storm overnight, but added that no major accidents were reported.
Cannon Air Force Base reported Highways 60/84 and 311 were closed early this morning; as a result, Wing Commander Col. Buck Elton directed all personnel, including mission essential, not attempt to come to the base today.
Parts of state roads 209, 245, 268, 312, 252, and 383 were closed late this morning. Multiple other roads were closed north and west of Curry and Roosevelt counties.
Wes Reeves with Xcel Energy reported six power poles were down, causing the outages. Repairs were hampered by travel conditions.
“Our restoration times are slow because our crews are hampered by low visibility,” Reeves said.
Weather forecasters predicted snow is likely to continue to blow until noon in the Portales and Clovis area, then skies will gradually become mostly sunny with a high temperature near 38 degrees.
Tonight skies are expected to be mostly clear and Tuesday will be sunny with a high temperature of 41 degrees.