Unpredictable weather means stay alert, safe

High Plains residents should know the drill this time of year.

The weather becomes infamously unpredictable, posing a threat to life and property. It happened yet again Tuesday night, across the Texas Panhandle, through Amarillo and to points east.

If the twister that killed 24 in Moore, Okla., this month wasn't enough of a reminder, Tuesday's watches and warnings for our Panhandle neighbors should have done the trick.

Because tornadoes can and do happen here.

Eastern New Mexicans usually are spared such wrath, but we need look back just six years to remember the destruction that can follow the warning sirens.

March 23, 2007, marked the most damaging big wind in our history. Hundreds of homes and businesses from Roosevelt County to Quay County were badly damaged or destroyed that evening. Two Clovis residents lost their lives. Hundreds of cattle were killed at a dairy farm near Portales.

Our memories are vivid and we must take care to protect ourselves.

Absent any public shelters in Clovis, Portales or Tucumcari, it falls on each of us to do what we can to stay out of harm's way:

  • Tune in to local television broadcasts when these storms approach.
  • Follow the advice given over the air: move to the lowest point in the structure where you are located, cover yourself and those with you with blankets; stay away from windows, move to a room below ground if you have one available.
  • Something you can do today is ensure you have flashlights and batteries to power them in case of a power outage.
  • Those who live in mobile homes must have a plan for seeking better shelter; mobile homes are easily demolished by even the smallest tornadoes.
  • And have a family plan so you can gather somewhere when the danger's past and confirm those closest to you are safe.

We know how it goes in our part of the world during this time of the year. The weather can change in a heartbeat.

Be alert to the danger. Stay safe.

— Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the ç, which includes Publisher Ray Sullivan and Editor David Stevens.

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