Cold keeps clutch on county

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

The Arctic cold front that moved into the Quay County area on Friday drove temperatures down to 2 degrees, frosted the landscape and iced over roads.

It also caused power outages and dozens of accidents but no fatalities were reported.

Power outages in Union County caused power failures at residences in the northern part of Quay County. Electricity to many residences in northern Quay County is supplied by the Southwestern Electric Cooperative in Clayton. Roxy Eudy of Southwestern said the recent snow and ice caused downed power poles and lines in Union County, which in turn caused power outages in the Nara Visa area.

There were also power failures in Tucumcari, which can be attributed to the storm.

“It was a very busy weekend for us,” said Tony Garcia, supervisor for the Tucumcari area, New Mexico Department of Transportation. “There were two crews. Each of them working a 12-hour shift in order to have someone working on the roads at all times. This storm was nothing compared to the last one that closed I-40. The main concern with this storm was all of the ice and in the last, it was the snow.”
Temperatures dipped to a low of 2 degrees and high of 19 on Monday in Tucumcari, according to measurements taken at the New Mexico State University Agriculture Center at Tucumcari.

About a half inch of snow fell on Saturday and Sunday and .02 inches of precipitation was measured on Monday, the center reported.

Yet, even though driving conditions were hazardous throughout the weekend because of icy roads, conditions were not as bad as New Year’s weekend.

“We worked 21 accidents in Quay, Curry, Roosevelt and Guadalupe counties this weekend and none of them were fatal,” said Capt. Daniel Lopez with the New Mexico State Police. “Having only 21 accidents during a snowy and icy weekend is good. We are always happy when there are no fatalities. A lot of the credit should go to the New Mexico Department of Transportation. They do an outstanding job of keeping I-40 clean and safe to drive and I feel that helped to lower the number of accidents this weekend.”

Quay County Sheriff Joe Schallert said, “It was a relatively quiet weekend for us. We did not see near the problem we did with the last storm and we only worked one accident the entire weekend.”

“The accidents were the only issue we had to address this weekend,” said Tucumcari Fire Chief Mike Cherry. “The roads did not close and so we did not have any stranded motorists to house. Most of the accidents that were reported this weekend were minor with minor injuries.”

Bob Gore, the officer in charge at the Logan Police Department, said, “Besides it being really cold and the road being slick it was a lot better than last time. We did not have to work any accidents and the traffic moved smoothly so no shelter was needed. The only problem we had was busted water lines.”

Quay County Road Superintendent Larry Moore said, “The difference in this weekend and the last is like night and day. We did not have as much snow this time around and we were able to clean and keep the streets open.”

QCS Associate Publisher Chelle Delaney contributed to this report.