A heavy dose of snow hit the Quay County area on Tuesday prompting both school and road closures in addition to contributing to a number of weather related vehicle accidents both in town and on roads and highway throughout the area.
The National Weather Service said Tucumcari was hit by approximately six inches of snow during the day-time hours on Tuesday. The storm which moved west along the Interstate 40 corridor began by closing the highway between Albuquerque and Santa Rosa but by noon the closure was extended to Tucumcari thus effectively closing down all travel west of the city.
“Well,” said Dan Fossoy a long-haul driver for ABF who was parked at the truck parking area in back of McDonalds in Tucumcari, “I appreciate that the roads are bad and I understand it, but it is frustrating too. I lose money when I’m parked. But like I said, I understand why they do it.”
Officers of the New Mexico State Police said that while other roads like New Mexico 54 and 209 were open they were recommending against travel on those roads because of dangerous conditions. The heavy snows which started just before dawn hampered the start of school in all the districts in Quay County, but the continued precipitation had both San Jon and Logan districts closing down schools at 1 p.m. and sending home their students. A majority of students at both schools ride busses to and from schools and administrators.
“We let school out early because of the extreme weather conditions,” said Logan Principal Tommy Thompson. “We feel the safety of our students is paramount.”
Thompson also said their girls district basketball game between themselves and Mosquero was postponed until Wednesday. It will now begin at 4:30 p.m. preceding the boys game which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tucumcari High School also postponed their district basketball game against Texico at Texico which was scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. to Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Because of the closure of the interstate, truckers quickly filled up truck areas at both ends of Tucumcari Blvd. and at the south end of First Street at times causing some bottle-necks for other drivers.. Motorist who were westbound on the interstate and found themselves unable to move on any further filled motels in Tucumcari so that by 3 p.m. virtually every motel room in Tucumcari was booked and had occupants.
“We are full up have been for some time now.” said Traveler’s One Stop Owner Larry Bond. “This snow was good to us, but it happens that way sometimes. Other times we get cut off and no one can get to us. This time it worked out well.”
The interstate opened up in the late afternoon but according to individuals at the State Police office, “Travel is discouraged.”