By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
A brief and powerful storm system that moved through the Tucumcari area Friday evening produced winds gusts as high as 70 miles per hour, almost an inch of rain and toppled trees onto a house and a car in the city.
Shortly after 5 p.m., the National Weather Service received reports of 45 mph wind gusts west of House. From 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., gusts ranging from 58 mph to 70 mph were reported seven miles north east of Tucumcari, said Amanda Martin, meteorologist for the weather service in Albuquerque.
New Mexico State University’s Science Experiment Station in Tucumcari measured 0.85 inch of rainfall Friday. The weather service’s gauge at Tucumcari Airport recorded 0.76 inches of rain.
The storm also caused widespread damage including downed trees and tree branches. City crews took two and a half hours to remove and clean up fallen trees and branches, said Alex Arias, supervisor for streets and sanitation.
Arias said a wind gust uprooted one tree on the 1300 block of South Fourth Street. City crews cut branches, cleared the right-of-way on the cross street and removed the branches that landed on the vacant house on the lot.
City crews also worked for 20 minutes to remove a partial fallen tree that fell across Maple Street and State Highway 104. Arias said crews removed the tree to restore southbound traffic on Rte 104.
A tree fell on a car parked in Ann-Luis Romero’s back yard on the 300 block of East High Avenue. Arias said city crews could not remove the tree because it was on private property.
The water elevation at Conchas Lake rose only slightly as a result of Friday’s rain. On June 10 the elevation at Conchas was reported at 4,177.22 feet above sea level due to the previous weekend’s rain fall, according to Michael Vollmer, a natural resource specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
On Sunday, Conchas Lake’s level was measured at 4,177.32 feet above sea level, only a tenth of a foot higher, according to records reported on a corps website.
The rain did not change the level of Ute Lake Reservoir near Logan. On June 10, the lake elevation was 3,779 feet above sea level. On Saturday, the lake’s peak level was measured at 3,779.1 feet above sea level. By Tuesday, the lake’s level was hovering at 3,779 feet.
Rex Stall, Ute Lake’s caretaker for the New Mexico Interstate Streams Commission, said the lake’s elevation was 7.65 feet from the storage capacity limit of 3,787 feet above sea level, and when the lake reaches that level, he said, water will be released into the Canadian River to flow toward Texas. He said the last time a water release occurred was from Sept. 6 to Sept. 30, 2006.