Response to accumulating snowfall, winds of 25 to 40 mph, and stranded motorists along Interstate 40 went smoothly, said emergency crew and police officials.
The National Weather Service in Albuquerque said snowfall ranged from five inches to a foot along the I-40 corridor from the storm that struck eastern and northern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle.
“The Tucumcari EMS did not respond to any weather related accident calls,” said Mike Cherry, Tucumcari Fire Chief. “They even went out on Friday night for a transfer to Albuquerque.”
As the storm progressed east into Texas, near blizzard conditions prompted the Texas Department of Public safety to close I-40 out of Amarillo at noon Friday.
“Once Texas DPS closed the road we began to check with local hotels and by 2 p.m. their were around 20 rooms available,” Cherry said. “We began working on opening the shelter at the Tucumcari Recreation Center.”
Cherry said that once the shelter began to fill he spoke with the New Mexico State Police to close I-40 at Santa Rosa to prevent further congestion.
“There were a lot of great volunteers that helped out at the shelter,” Cherry said. “The Red Cross out of Clovis took over at the shelter around 7 p.m. It went very smoothly this time around.”
Cherry said that having an Emergency Management Plan paid a large part in the agencies effective response to the storm.
“Keith Henderson, EMP Manager, did an outstanding job coordinating with the city and state agencies,” Cherry said.
The Tucumcari Police Department did not have to call out any additional personnel to assist during Friday’s storm, said Roger Hatcher, TPD Chief.
“I was very pleased with how the officers and staff handled the demand and workload of Friday’s storm,” Hatcher said. “There were several minor accidents as a result of the weather but no major or fatal wrecks occurred.”
Keeping the roads clean and clear were the crews of the New Mexico Department of Transportation, said Christina Cordova, Public Information officer, NMDOT.
“Several crews from surrounding areas aided the Tucumcari NMDOT crew during Friday’s storm,” Cordova said. “The crews operated under a 12 hour shift and spreading salt and cinder mixture along I-40 and U.S. 54.”