Region awakes to season’s first snow (Updated)

Courtesy photo: Christian Heller The first snow of the 2011 Winter Season on Thursday, blankets the ground and trees of one Clovis residents yard.

Kevin Wilson

Eastern New Mexico snow was easy come, easy go on Thursday.

Clovis received a near-record day Thursday as the snow started at a flurry early in the morning and wound down by lunchtime, at which point rising temperatures knocked out most of the 2 to 4 inches of accumulation.

For Portales, the National Weather Service recorded about half an inch of snow, with up to seventh-tenths inches of rain. For Clovis, the snowfall was joined by about half an inch of rain.

For Clovis, it was the snowiest October day in 35 years, when 4 inches fell Oct. 28, 1979, said Tim Shy, a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

The one-day October snowfall record for Clovis, Fry said, is 5 inches Oct. 23, 1936.

The New Mexico State Police said weather did contribute to a fatality on I-40, about 25 miles west of Tucumcari. Robert Walker, 66, of Dalhart, Texas, was killed when he lost control of his vehicle on the wet and icy roadway and was ejected after crashing into an embankment.

In Curry and Roosevelt counties, law enforcement personnel reported nothing beyond minor crashes.

Mark Marsalis, an agronomy specialist at the New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center north of Clovis, said any precipitation, snow or rain, is welcomed by farmers who have planted wheat.

“For the most part, all of your summer crops, it’s too late to help,” Marsalis said. “Most of your corn, cotton and peanuts, those crops are either being harvested or have already been harvested.

“However, on the fall planted crops, like wheat, it is very beneficial, especially for the dryland wheat that was planted. It will go a long way to helping those young crops.”

Cook’s Restaurant in Clovis, a popular trucker destination, had a busy breakfast and lunch, which waitress Patsy Downing said was standard fare for a bad weather day. But once the snow started to disappear, so did customers trying to finish their routes, both locally and nationwide.

“A lot of them said it was a lot worse in Oklahoma and other places,” Downing said between sips of her coffee. “They were surprised it came and went so quickly.”

Any snow that survived Thursday won’t be around long. Friday brings an expected high of 61, and Shy said next Friday is the earliest possible chance the area could see more moisture.