Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – A wind-driven “snow squall” storm triggered emergency cellphone alerts, severely damaged homes, knocked out power, downed trees and overturned small planes around northern New Mexico on Wednesday.
In Taos County, an emergency shelter was set up at the Juan I. Gonzales Agricultural Center for families whose homes have been damaged by the storm and the County Commission passed a State of Emergency resolution, county information officer Anissa Arrambide said in a phone interview.
“We are going door to door to make sure they have a place to stay,” Arrambide said.
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, “we have had 10 homes severely damaged” that were reported to emergency dispatch. “There could have been more, we are still getting in details,” she said. There have been no reports of injuries.
Local media reported that at least 13 homes suffered structural damage, while power was knocked out in some areas, and Taos High School closed Wednesday morning due to continuing high winds. A roof was ripped off a home on Millicent Rogers Road in the El Prado area, according to the media reports.
“We are asking folks to check in on their neighbors and make sure everything is OK,” County Manager Brent Jaramillo said in the same phone interview.
“We are also asking the Taos Volunteer Fire department to check their list of elderly or those who are disabled,” Jaramillo said.
Twelve power poles were knocked down in the storm, which struck Taos about 6 a.m., Arrambide said.
“It’s everywhere,” she said of the outages. “In the northern areas, there is no electricity.”
Kit Carson Electric Cooperative crews were working to restore power, but were hampered by still heavy afternoon winds.
“They can’t go up in their buckets,” Arrambide said.
Several inches of snow were reported in the Taos area.
Elsewhere, Santa Fe residents were alerted at about 7 a.m. by several severe weather alerts warning of a “snow squall” as high winds whipped up overnight.
Power was knocked out in the entire town of Los Alamos, representing 6,000 households or about 12,000 residents.
Power was still out for about 2,000 customers at noon Wednesday and was predicted to be fully restored later in the day, Los Alamos city information officers said.
Several small planes were overturned and parked vehicles damaged at the Santa Fe Regional Airport, and a large tree was blown down in front of the Saint Francis Cathedral in downtown Santa Fe, a city spokesman said.
There was no widespread damage at the airport, the spokesman said.
Clean-up crews were busy cutting trees and clearing roads in Los Alamos.
“We had not a lot of damage, just a lot of felled trees,” said city spokeswoman Julie Williams-Hill. “About a dozen or so (trees) actually caused damage to power lines.”
Power lines were also damaged at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, she said.