Severe storms expected

Sharna Johnson

Severe thunderstorms with dangerously high winds and large hail could move through Curry and Roosevelt counties by tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm front, which is expected to begin west of Clovis, will start moving through the area in the afternoon, said Tim Shy, NOAA senior forecaster.

Shy said rain amounts are expected to vary, and, “It will not be a widespread wetting storm, but if you’re lucky enough to get under a thunderstorm (you could receive moisture).”

Shy said the thunderstorms associated with the front could produce hail up to 1-inch and 60 mph winds as well as lightning.

“A 60 mile hour wind is the kind that will drop some limbs off trees and will generally make you leave your feet,” Shy said.

“What we are concerned about is trees coming down on cars, trees coming down on houses.”

Shy said between the fast-moving large hail, blowing debris and lightning, residents should watch the sky and weather reports and stay indoors during the storm.

While tornados are possible during any thunderstorm, Shy said there is not a strong likelihood associated with the predicted conditions for Wednesday.

With the dry conditions in the region, lightning could also present a fire a danger, he said.

Capt. Karen Burns said the Clovis Fire Department pays close attention to weather predictions, particularly in light of current drought conditions in the area.

Storms that promise lightning but little to no rain are a tremendous concern, she said.

“We’re like a tinder box. The dry lightning is going to do nothing but start fires and the wind is going to push them… it could be dangerous,” she said.

“It’s going to be concerning to us because of the extra dry conditions we’re under.”

Burns said lightning fires are common on the plains but contrary to what one might think, rarely does rain come along behind the lightning and extinguish them.

She said residents should report any sign of fire, even in seemingly remote areas.

Shy said storms are expected to persist through Thursday.

Tuesday night storms produced no rain in the Clovis area however there were reports of up to .28 inches of rain in Portales, according to NOAA weather data.

Portales also had reports of up to 1-inch hail in isolated areas.