More heat, high winds predicted for area

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

If you can’t stand the heat, then … this really wasn’t the week to live in Eastern New Mexico.

The area has been marked by triple-digit highs in the daytime.

“This period is normally our hot period,” said Dierdre Kann of the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, “even though it does normally happen a little later.”

Kann warned that winds should still be powerful over this weekend. That’s been a cause for concern in Curry County, where nearly 3,500 customers lost power on Tuesday night and another 2,000 lost power on Wednesday night.

“We’ve had some really powerful storms going through Curry County and Parmer County,” Xcel Energy spokesperson Wes Reeves said.

For most people, both outages lasted only a few hours, though Reeves said some residents were without power until Thursday morning.

Kann said the NWS only does detailed outlooks for the upcoming week, but its climate prediction center said there are dry days expected with high winds.

Temperatures will be higher this summer than recent years, Kann said, but record temperatures aren’t expected, as was the case over the weekend.

“They’ve already decreased today,” Kann said. “We expect them to decrease even more tomorrow and Saturday.”

Reeves, meanwhile, said the outages in Curry County are the only major ones for the service company’s area, but more are expected. He said it’s a comfort that people can rely on power about “99.9 percent of the time,” but everybody should stock batteries and other supplies in case of extended outages or the small chance of tornadoes.

“May and June are our primary months for thunderstorms; we’re having one in Amarillo right now,” Reeves said. “Definitely, we need to be prepared in tornado alley, and Curry County is on the edge of that.”