Weather could drench festivities

Clarence Plank

Roosevelt and Curry counties, along with much of eastern New Mexico, could get drenched during the Fourth of July holiday, courtesy of a hurricane hundreds of miles to the south.

Local emergency management leaders are also warning of possible flash flooding.

Two to 4 inches of rain are being forecast and experts say with the ground already saturated from previous rains, flash flooding is a possibility.

The heavy rainfall from tropical moisture is associated with remnants of Hurricane Alex, which made landfall in Mexico on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Meteorologist Brian Guyer said remnants of Alex will remain in Mexico, but mid-to-upper level moisture from the storm will be moving north into West Texas and eastern New Mexico on Friday and Saturday.

“The potential is there for 2 to 4 inches of rainfall through the next three days,” Guyer said. “There has been localized areas of heavy rainfall over the past couple of weeks in Curry, Roosevelt and Chaves counties. So additional rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches could definitely cause the potential for flash flooding and areas of standing water.”

Guyer said Monday is expected to be dry.

Roosevelt County Emergency Management Director Keith Wattenbarger urged anyone spotting a potential problem to call police immediately.

“So we can activate the people we need to, such as street crews to put signs out or additional resources to help put out barrels,” Wattenbarger said.

Problem areas in Portales are South Avenue I to 14th to 16th streets, 18th Street, and Kilgore Avenue to East Globe, said Wattenbarger.

Curry County Emergency Management Director Ken De Los Santos urged everyone to listen to local radio or tune into television to track what’s happening if storms develop.

“With this system, we have had good enough advanced warning about it coming to our state,” De Los Santos said. “Some of the things with standing water and the potential for flooding is that if you see standing water don’t automatically assume you can drive through it. Because you do not know what depth the water might be. It could move your car and you don’t want to be stranded in your vehicle because of the water.”

Clovis Public Works Director Clint Bunch urged anyone spotting standing water to call the Clovis Police Department non-emergency line so they can dispatch street crews.

“One of the problem areas we have is from Sycamore Street to First Street to Fourth or Fifth streets,” Bunch said. “Those are some of the areas that water gets about a couple feet deep at the lowest point, but when the rain comes we do block off that section of road.”

If weather doesn’t cooperate for area Fourth of July fireworks shows, the plan is to shoot for Monday.

“I would assume (if it rains), we’ll try to do it Monday,” said Ernie Kos, executive director of the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce.

Sharon King, who holds the same position with the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce, said the backup plan is also Monday.

The Fourth of July falls on a Sunday, and many businesses and offices normally closed on Sunday will observe the holiday with a Monday closure.

In case of a non-emergency call: