by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
Thunder, lighting and a feisty spell of hail hit the Tucumcari area between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
Fluctuations in power flickered lights in homes and businesses.
Tucumcari Police officers directed traffic at Highway 54 and Route 66 because the signal lights were out. Hail was about three to four inches deep in that area.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Jordan Maestas, 13, who was checking out the accumulation of hail at Adams and Estrala streets.
Trucker Mark Farris of Crescent, Okla., said he took refuge under the I-40 overpass at First Street when the storm broke.
“It’s usually not this bad,” he said. “I already ran into hail this morning near Albuquerque.”
Outside the Holiday Inn Express, set to open in two weeks, hotel co-owner Nitin Bhakta was shoveling hail like snow.
“I just came out to see if I could get it to drain better,” he said.
“I”ve never seen hail like this… not this quick, not this fast,” said Bhakta, who has lived in Tucumcari for 29 years.
Nothing seemed to be damaged at the new hotel he said, but he said another property he owns, the Super 8, had several broken windows.
Joe Barnett of Xcel Energy said that one transformer had been hit by lighting in the Tucumcari area. He sized up the hail as nickel and quarter-sized.
The hail mounded like snow on the roads and the Department of Transportation dispatched snow plows to clear it from certain streets and highways.
Some low lying areas also became fog laden, limiting visibility to just a few feet.