Wintry storm blows through area

Voters make their way through the snow to the polls Tuesday at Zia Elementary School. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Tova Fruchtman: CNJ staff writer

A batch of cold and snowy weather waltzed through Curry County Tuesday, leading to slick and icy roads and a chilly wind that made freezing temperatures seem much colder.

Clovis schools and Clovis Community College closed on Tuesday because of inclement weather and high winds with gusts reaching 48 mph early in the morning.

Schools are expected to be open today, officials said.
Slick roads led to at least 13 accidents by early evening but no serious injuries on a day when the low reached 28 degrees, officials said.

Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher said about 95 percent of the incidents they responded to Tuesday morning were related to the weather.

Hatcher suggested drivers avoid roads running east to west because they have more snow packed on them; take a well-traveled route; drive slowly; and be aware motorists can’t react as quickly.

“There’s some things that you simply can’t do anything about,” he said. “Don’t be trying to drive the speed limit (or above it in this weather).”

To the east, Muleshoe received between 4 and 5 inches of snow, which led to slick roads but no major accidents, Muleshoe law enforcement officials said.

For farmers the first freeze of the fall on Monday night was 10 days late.

Though Stan Jones of the Curry County Agricultural Extension office said the snow stopped the harvest, he noted the freeze makes plants like milo and cotton ready for harvest by stopping their growth and forcing them to mature fully.

The problem will be for crops that are not mature, he said.
“If a crop is not mature by now, it’s probably not going to be,” Jones said. “It’s 10 days past (the normal first freeze) already.”

One inch of snow fell on Clovis Monday night and Tuesday morning, with another inch expected to fall late Tuesday night, Dave Scheibe of the National Weather Service said.

Though he said temperatures will be low at night for the rest of the week, temperatures today should be in the 50s.
Clovis schools Superintendent Neil Nuttall said he won’t know for sure if Clovis schools will be open until early this morning.

The best way for parents to find out if school has been canceled, he said, is to listen to the radio stations.
Parents can also call the central office for that information after 7 a.m. at 769-4300.

As for the farmers, they would like to get in and harvest their crops before they are damaged, Roosevelt County Ag. Extension Agent Floyd McAlister said.

“We have so much dry weather in this part of the country, so it’s hard to complain when you get any moisture,” McAlister said.