ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Dark clouds circled on Friday, dropping heavy rain and hail as the latest series of thunderstorms to cross New Mexico threatened to dampen any plans for enjoying the outdoors during the holiday weekend.
From Moriarty to Albuquerque, there were reports of pea-sized hail just before rush hour Friday evening.
In Santa Fe, power was out near the State Capitol and [auth] traffic was snarled as crews scrambled to get the street lights working again. Some roads in Rio Rancho were flooded from heavy rains, and gusts at the Albuquerque International Airport topped out at 60 mph.
In southern New Mexico, strong winds were kicking up the dust along Interstate 10. A dust storm along the highway near the Arizona-New Mexico border the day before was blamed for a multivehicle pileup that left six people dead.
The wind was also fanning the flames and smoke of a brush fire near the interstate west of Deming on Friday evening, reducing visibility and forcing the closure of one eastbound lane, authorities said.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm warnings and blowing-dust advisories for several parts of the state Friday evening and predicted the unsettled weather would continue through the weekend.
Melissa Huffman with the weather service office that covers southeastern New Mexico told the Carlsbad Current-Argus (http://bit.ly/1kxTN9i) that golf ball-sized hail and winds up to 70 mph were a possibility. She also warned several counties in the region to expect more lightning, thunder and heavy rain.