Heavy rains keep road crews busy

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Chad Crosswhite of Clovis takes time to fish Monday at Greene Acres lake. Crosswhite said the water is usually 10 to 15 feet away from the bench

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

City and county road crews worked around the clock over the weekend clearing drains and culverts and blocking flooded roads from traffic during a series of strong rains.

Clovis Interim Public Works Director Clint Bunch said things have been manageable and relatively uneventful after the city received 3.72 inches of rain from Friday through Monday morning.

“We’ve got some crews that are pretty tired. The street department’s been doing lots of work,” he said.

In the southern areas of town where drainage systems are lacking, Bunch said there have been flooding issues but traffic has been diverted as needed and no major problems have resulted.

And if rain continue, Bunch said road crews will watch the lake at Dennis Chavez Park on 14th Street, which lacks drainage and is near capacity.

“Dennis Chavez lake is just a couple inches from going over 14th again. We’ll probably have to block off 14th when that starts,” he said, explaining, “it’s not a huge amount of water. It overflows gently.”

Likewise, County Road Superintendent Dennis Fury said his crews have been out non-stop, cutting into ditches and finding ways to counteract the effects of the rain on caliche roads.

But nothing insurmountable has arisen, he said.

“They’re all muddy and slick and some of them have washed, but I’ve run across very few of them that are impassable,” Fury said.

“All in all, yeah, they’re bad but it’s just mother nature at her worst.”

More rain is likely into Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

Portales has received about 1.81 inches of rain since Friday, according to the NWS.

As of the end of July, Clovis had received 7.45 inches and Portales 5.79 inches, according to the National Weather Service data, both well off yearly averages.

Forecaster Brett Wachter said storm activity is expected to continue Monday as an upper-low front moves out of the area and into Texas.

“There are some storms around. They could produce some heavy rain and possibly some severe weather,” he said.

A flash flood watch remains in effect through the region in areas including Curry, Roosevelt, Quay and De Baca counties.

By Tuesday the storms should clear, though temperatures are expected to stay below normal into Wednesday, Wachter said.

“It looks like we’ll be back to seasonal levels on Wednesday and warming up into the 90s by the end of the week,” he said.

In Tucumcari, 2.62 inches of rain through the weekend caused a 4 1/2 foot deep sink hole on one street and a 5 foot by 7 foot section of an intersection to collapse, state transportation officials said.

Tornado warnings were issued for Quay County and a warning for Roosevelt Counties, but no tornados were spotted.

There were, however, two reported tornado touch downs in De Baca County, Wachter said.

The first reported touch down was at 7:20 p.m., Sunday seven miles north of Sumner Lake, according to the NMS. The second report was at 7:21 p.m., 12 miles north of Fort Sumner.

2008 Rain totals in inches

• January through March

Clovis — .65

Portales — .55

• April

Clovis — .60

Portales — .37

• May

Clovis — 1.6

Portales —1.26

• June

Clovis — 1.4

Portales — .81

• July

Clovis — 3.2

Portales — 2.8

Source — www.srh.noaa.gov