Windy weather causes power outages around area

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Another winter storm is blowing through Central New Mexico, bringing fierce winds on Thursday and some snow to parts of Socorro County at the end of the week.

The National Weather Service reported Friday that the storm may stick around another day before moving on.

Friday morning’s report stated that a low pressure system situated itself over South Central New Mexico and “will wobble around the state” before exiting.

“Because the feature is cut off from the polar het models continue to have difficulty resolving a track…treating the low as a drifting floating entity,” Friday morning’s report stated.

It went on to say it would be “extremely challenging” to forecast the weather through the weekend.

What is know is that wind speeds topped out at 59 mph at Contreras in northern Socorro County shortly after 8 a.m. on Thursday. Gusts registered as high as 54 mph at Socorro Municipal Airport an hour later and 50 mph near Bingham about that same time.

The highest gust at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge was 42 mph Thursday morning.

Wind was responsible for a power outages in and around the city of Socorro.

“We worked on outages all day long,” said David Montoya, line superintendent for Socorro electric Cooperative. “I had all my people scrambling. It was unbelievable.”

Montoya said about half of the city of Socorro was without power at one time or another. Outages varied, but generally power was back on within 45 minutes.

“We heated it up, and luckily it held,” Montoya said, adding that this storm was rather unusual. “It was kind of weird. The wind was coming out of the northeast and it usually comes from the southwest.”

Montoya said two of the bigger circuits serving Socorro was affected. A tree fell on a line off Chaparral, causing one outage. Co-op crews had to use chain saws to dismantle the tree.

Another circuit went out for an unknown reason. Montoya said it could have been due to slapping wires, but workers found pieces of a shed in the area, as well.

“Something blew into it,” he said.

A pole blew down near San Antonio, causing another outage, Montoya said.

Magdalena got some blinks, but the circuit held up. Montoya said he had to call in personnel from Magdalena to help with the issues they were dealing with elsewhere.

The wind calmed down by early afternoon.

“We probably got everything back to normal by 2:30 or 3 o’clock,” Montoya said.

While snow flurries filled the air for a time in Socorro around noon, there was no accumulation, except for a dusting on Socorro Peak.

The western part of the county did get some snow on the ground. Three inches were reported just south of Alamo.

The Sheriff’s Department reported it got few calls, other than a couple minor accidents on Hwy. 380 east of San Antonio and on the road from Magdalena to Alamo.

Magdalena Marshal Larry Cearley said a truck jackknifed on Hwy. 169 and a car rolled over on the same road near Alamo. No injuries were reported in either incident.

Cearley said the snow did cause Magdalena School to close early on Thursday.

El Defensor Chieftain Reporter Lisa Alvarado contributed to this story.

 


-- Email the author at tslast@dchieftain.com.