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Storms cause loss of power

June 18, 2013 • Local News

In the past few weeks, Chaves County and Roswell have seen strange things falling from the sky — not aliens or their ships, but water that some might recall as rain. Sunday night’s storm left 1,300 homes temporarily without power. According to Wes Reeves of Xcel Energy, 921 people lost electricity in Roswell and Dexter around 9 p.m. in what he referred to as a flicker. The remaining 300 homes, primarily from the far eastern portion of town, had prolonged power outages of an hour or more.

The weather service announced that the Roswell area had more than 40 lightning strikes on Sunday. Otherwise the brief storm yielded only 0.06 of an inch of rain. Brian Guyer said the storms ripped through both Lincoln and Chaves county, Sunday.

“The winds were not excessive. You had occasional gusts around 40 miles per hour,” he said. The storm provided little in the way of precipitation. Guyer believes that the lightning activity, rather than wind, explained some of the loss of power.

“The outages were isolated to certain areas which suggest transformers and fuses going,” said Wes Reeve of Xcel Energy. He too felt this was result of the lighting activity.

Guyer explained the Chaves County has not done much better this year in terms of rainfall than in the previous two years. The year-to-date total for 2013 is 0.59 inches, a little more than one-half inch.

Southeast New Mexico is down 3.33 inches from annual norms for the first half of 2013. Chaves County was down 7.33 inches in 2012 and 6.69 inches in 2011, resulting in a 17.35 deficit during the last three years. The normal annual rainfall for the Roswell area is 13 inches per year, Emergency Services Director Karen Sanders said after her weekly report from the National Weather Services “The end (to the drought) is not in sight.”

She was aware of isolated power outages, but the storm brought no other interruptions of service or disruption to the city. The Roswell Fire Department reported no increase in activity on Sunday despite the number of lightning strikes in the Roswell area.

Another batch of storms are due possibly on Tuesday.

Sanders said Roswell may find itself under a severe thunderstorm watch, with a 20 percent chance of rain. However, the rest of the week is expected to be hot, with temperatures mirroring last week’s with the thermometer reading 100 degrees.

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