Storm blankets Clovis

Linden Brown, 5, reaches to tackle his sister Jenneal Brown, 6, both of Lampasas, Texas, as they play Tuesday at Greene Acres Park in Clovis. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Leslie Radford: CNJ Staff writer

A powerful eastbound storm that blanketed most of New Mexico and parts of West Texas sent a reminder to the area that spring is still five days away.

The Clovis area received nearly half a foot of snow as of late Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, which caused a handful of schools to delay openings or cancel classes.

But for the most part, it was business as usual around Curry County.

Clovis police and the Curry County Sheriff’s Office reported a few minor accidents from the wet snow that greeted residents as they drove to work in the morning.

“We’ve been fortunate to not have many accidents today,” Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher said. “We’ve had a couple (vehicles) slide off the road, but nothing serious.”

Curry County manager Dick Smith said moisture is always a welcome sight.

“I love it. There’s never been a drop of moisture in Eastern New Mexico we didn’t need,” he said.

Snowfall was waning from west to east as the day progressed, according to the weather service. The forecast for today is dry and milder statewide.

Meteorologist Brent Wachter with the weather service in Albuquerque said it is not unusual for this area to receive snow in March. The record for the Clovis area in March is 7 1/2 inches, set March 9, 1925.

The state was hit by a cold front that blasted down from the north and a potent upper-level low pressure area that came from northern Arizona and southern Utah, according to the weather service.

The storm dumped more than 2 feet of snow on parts of state, forcing the closure of two interstate highways and schools in at least 40 districts in northern, central and southeastern New Mexico.

Eastern New Mexico University in Portales was open for most of Tuesday but felt the effect of the weather.

Economics professor Sue Stockly said students are reluctant to attend class during bad weather.

“I think I had a good turn out (Tuesday) because I’m giving exams on Thursday,” Stockly said. “But generally, attendance is down with weather such as this.”

Clovis Community College canceled classes and will open at 10 a.m., according to a school press release.

Workers at Clovis Municipal Airport were busy Tuesday morning clearing a runway to allow mail service deliveries.

“I used to like snow,” airport manager Steve Summers said, “until I had to get out and work in it.”

Summers said the airport doesn’t normally close unless the conditions are icy.

The long-term forecast is for the system to move out of the area before the end of the week.

But for now, Smith said, “We’ll take the moisture.”