Afternoon rains pelt Portales, Clovis areas

An SUV drives down Avenue C Saturday in Portales. Police closed Avenue C and 18th Street due to the amount of rainfall, but many motorists chose to drive on the roads regardless. (Freedom Newspapers: Leslie Spence)

Marc Schoder: Freedom Newspapers

Afternoon monsoon rains Saturday flooded Portales streets and left several motorists stranded in high water.

Portales received 1.93 inches of rain as of 4 p.m., according to Cannon Air Force Base meteorologist James Kratzer.

“The intensity of this storm doesn’t surprise me,” Kratzer said. “It is very typical for this time of the year.”

Kratzer said the storm, which started around 12:30 p.m., produced some of the hardest rains he’s seen in the area in the last few years.

The Weather Channel is predicting a 60 percent chance of precipitation in Portales today with scattered and isolated thunderstorms through Wednesday and highs in the low to upper 80s.

Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said the department closed 18th Street and other area roads around it due to flooding.

“People still did drive around the road blocks, which we can’t do anything about,” said Berry. “It is the person’s own liability.”

The Portales Fire Department responded to three calls of motorists stranded in high waters.

“There were not any injuries,” John Bridges of the Portales Fire Department said. “(In this type of weather), people need to use better judgment and stay inside,” said Bridges.

Businesses had mixed effects. Cattle Baron General Manager Zac Tischhauser thought the road closures near the restaurant on South Avenue D would slow down business, but said his customers proved otherwise.

“People have been braving the elements to come in,” Tischhauser said, “but I won’t know till later tonight how much it will affect the numbers.”

The rain made some delivery jobs a little more difficult.

“With 18th street flooded we were unable to deliver to that area,” said David Sandoval, manager of Pizza Hut in Portales. Sandoval added one of the restaurant’s delivery drivers had a car stall out while making a delivery.

Cannon Air Force Base did not have the rain fall totals for Clovis but reported the base received four-tenths of an inch as of 7 p.m.

Rain was minimal and no weather-related incidents were reported in the Clovis area, according to law-enforcement officials.