Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Storm causes closings, accidents


November 6, 2019

Ron Warnick

A coating of ice collects on the needles of an evergreen tree Wednesday morning on South Fourth Street in Tucumcari as mist-shrouded Tucumcari Mountain is seen in the background. Freezing drizzle and snow prompted school closings and caused traffic accidents Wednesday in Quay County.

An early winter storm Wednesday caused school closings and accidents across Quay County, followed by a drop in temperatures Wednesday night and Thursday morning that proved unseasonably cold for late October.

A coating of freezing drizzle, followed by light snow, caused hazardous driving conditions Wednesday morning and early afternoon. Accidents prompted the closing of Interstate 40 in two short stretches between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa.

The Tucumcari-Quay Regional Emergency Communications Center reported calls from six traffic accidents Wednesday, including one with injuries on Highway 209 near Grady.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation also reported difficult driving conditions much of Wednesday on U.S. 54 northeast of Tucumcari and parts of Highway 104 northwest of Tucumcari.

The icy mix prompted Mesalands Community College and schools in San Jon and House to cancel classes for the day. Tucumcari and Logan schools went to a two-hour delay Wednesday; Tucumcari also didn't run buses because of the conditions.

Tucumcari city hall and several businesses also opened late because of the weather Wednesday.

Tucumcari Municipal Airport didn't report measurable precipitation from the storm. Observations indicated ice coated the ground at thicknesses of one-tenth to one-eighth of an inch Wednesday.

The sun broke through the clouds by late Wednesday afternoon and melted off much of the ice from roadways and sidewalks.

The overnight low fell to 12 degrees by early Thursday at the Tucumcari airport, nearly 30 degrees colder than the average. Wednesday's high was 29, also about 30 degrees colder than the typical high in late October.

By Thursday afternoon, the high temperature at the airport was near-normal 60 degrees.


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