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Tuesday, Jan. 7, 1997

Winter weather

cancels classes

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Staff Writer

PECOS, Jan. 7, 1997 - Children who got a snow holiday from school today
may have found enough of the fluffy white powder to make a few snowballs
from the one-inch accumulation on cars and other cool surfaces before

Heavy sleet fell Monday night, accompanied by thunder and lightning. The
National Weather Service gauge recorded .10 inch of moisture overnight,
with .25 inch accumulation of sleet and snow before daybreak.

Snowfall throughout the morning ranged from infrequent, small flakes to
flurries that made driving hazardous. Up to six inches is the forecast.

Streets that were slick before sunrise quickly warmed up and turned
slushy. Police Chief Troy Moore said that one non-injury accident was
reported early this morning inside the city limits.

A large area of mostly light snow showers covered much of Texas early
today, and a heavy snow warning was issued for the Davis and Guadalupe
mountains of far West Texas.

The snow was Pecos' first significant accumulation since October, 1993.
However, for some surrounding areas, it was their second major snowfall
of the winter.

What was supposed to have been a rain shower turned into snow in the
Concho Valley, which received an surprise snowfall in early November.

Monday's development set the stage for a ``heavy snow warning'' issued
by the National Weather Service for today. Between 4 and 6 inches of
snow are expected in the San Angelo area by tonight.

Winter storm watches have been posted for most of West Texas, Central
Texas, North Texas and Southeast Texas.

Up to six inches of snow was expected in Lubbock, with two to four
inches in North Texas. Sleet and freezing rain was forecast for as far
south as the Austin and Houston areas.

One to three inches of snow fell across much of North Texas, with the
Hillsboro area and other scattered locations receiving as much as five
inches, the weather service said.

The record for the most snowfall in a 24-hour period in San Angelo is
7.4 inches, set in January 1978.

East of San Angelo, between 2 and 4 inches of snow fell in Menard,
Schleicher and McCulloch counties.

Today's forecast called for 3 to 6 inches on the ground, more snow
falling and a high of only 30 degrees.

The snow caught some by surprise - even in the West Texas town of
Winters, 40 miles northeast of San Angelo.

``We're selling lots of antifreeze, (windshield) deicer and ice
scrapers,'' said Naomi Gerhart, who works at a hardware store in
Winters. ``People are beginning to kind of look out for things like

Along with Pecos-Barstow-Toyah and Balmorhea ISD schools, other Texas
schools were announcing late starts or cancellations for today.

Joe Harris, an NWS meteorologist in Fort Worth, said it's not unusual to
have balmy weather on one side of a weather system followed by a freeze.

``Most Texans know that when it gets real warm in wintertime, you've got
a cold snap coming,'' Harris said.

A winter storm warning is in effect tonight for the southern portions of
West Texas - the Odessa-Midland, San Angelo, Abilene, Pecos areas -
where residents were told to expect up to 6 inches of snow today.

Wintry precipitation is expected through Wednesday for most of the Texas
Panhandle, with snow accumulations between 1 and 6 inches possible by

But heavier snowfall is expected in the mountainous regions. Winds of
almost 30 mph were reported at Guadalupe Pass, resulting in wind chills
of 10 to 25 degrees below zero.

Highs today and Wednesday across West Texas are expected to be in the
20s and 30s, with lows tonight in the teens and 20s.

Winter storm warnings were posted for the southern third of New Mexico
and the mountains of eastern Arizona, and a heavy snow warning was
issued for western Texas. Waco, Texas, got a half-inch-thick layer of
ice overnight.

Behind the winter storm, Southern California had its second night of
fierce wind.

Trees rooted in ground softened by recent rain couldn't withstand the
gusts and huge eucalyptus trees littered freeways Monday. Discarded
Christmas trees and trash cans bounced across highways.

Harvey Friddle was awakened by a tree crashing into his house in
Altadena, a town north of Los Angeles.

``It sounded like an 8.0 earthquake lasted maybe for 10 seconds while
the tree was falling and settling onto the roof,'' Friddle said.

Strong high pressure building over the Great Basin caused the violent
Santa Ana wind, which the National Weather Service predicted would
linger through today before subsiding Wednesday.

Although the Santa Ana is usually associated with the hot blasts of
autumn that fan wildfires, it can hit as late as February and bring
chilly temperatures, said weather service meteorologist Bruce Rockwell.
Today's temperatures in downtown Los Angeles should range from a low of
44 to the upper 60s, he said.

Strong gusts blew over tractor-trailer rigs in San Bernardino County,
including a trailer that crushed a California Highway Patrol cruiser
Monday in the Cahon Pass on Interstate 15. No one was hurt.

``The wind was blowing pretty good and an empty trailer came alongside
and I saw it start to go over. I just laid down on the seat. It was
amazing, really,'' CHP Officer Maren Joslin said as she looked at her
crushed cruiser.
Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
this report.

Snow, sleet shuts schools, slows traffic

Series of accidents caused by storm

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Staff Writer
PECOS, Jan. 7, 1997 - Although a busy night on the highways was
anticipated by both Balmorhea and Pecos ambulance crews, the last 18
hours were surprising quiet, despite the first major storm in three
years to hit the area.

Area Texas Departments of Public Safety and Transportation, however,
have had a hectic time since the arrival of harsh wintry conditions
early Monday.

The local Department of Public Safety office, which dispatches Pecos and
Monahans troopers, reported some 25 accident calls since 4 p.m., Monday,
while the Van Horn Trooper Tim Collie said they've investigated between
10 to 15 calls, some with minor injuries.

A woman was pinned in her vehicle following a one-vehicle accident on
Interstate 20 at the Barstow exit (mile marker 52) on Monday. A Monahans
ambulance unit made the transport to Ward Memorial Hospital, but no
other information was available as of press time.

TxDOT Engineer Russell Whitworth said local crews have been busily
tending to interstate bridges, which, "are our main concern," between
accidents, for which crews area called out for traffic control.

He added that crews were out until 2 a.m., today, and were back out
before 8 a.m.

Once bridges are made, "passable," crews head out towards, "state
highways and FMs (Farm to Market Roads) and other slick areas," said

TxDOT crews, "have been hectically trying to get out to Beer Hill,"
where the Barstow exit is located, at the I-20/Business I-20
intersection, to keep that area passible. Another accident involving a
truck-tractor was reported just east of that area on I-20 about 10:30
a.m. today.

Bill Wendt of the Balmorhea Ambulance Service said earlier today, "we
packed extra blankets," and were ready go last night, while Pecos
Ambulance Chief Bill Randall Cole declared, "we were all geared up."

Cole said they too loaded ambulance units with extra blankets and,
"de-icers," and asked that extra emergency medical technicians keep
their beepers on.

Both said they will remain alert and ready throughout until the weather

"We're geared up," said Cole, and, "planning to have a busy night and
hope that we don't."

TxDOT's Odessa District office said motorists who have to drive in the
area today can call 1-915-333-9166 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for updates
on road conditions. The state TxDOT office also has a toll free number
to call - 1-800-452-9292, as well as hourly updates at the TxDOT web
site (<fn10><fn9>) on the Internet.

Part of the reason for the low accident total could be due to the
closing of Interstate 10 west of El Paso, limiting traffic headed
eastbound into Reeves County.

I-10 was closed today for more than 200 miles across southeastern
Arizona and southwestern New Mexico to the Texas state line, and 130
miles of north-south I-25 was shut down in southern New Mexico.

More than 300 people spent the night at the Civic Center in Truth or
Consequences, N.M., on I-25.

``A lot of people slept on chairs and the floor,'' said Jerry Galloway
of Kendrick, Idaho. He and a friend had their own sleeping bags, but he
said he didn't get much rest because ``I'm not used to sleeping with
hundreds of other people.''

Altogether, about 1,280 stranded motorists spent the night in several
shelters in Truth or Consequences, said City Commissioner Scott Ekman.

Less than an inch of snow was expected around Tucson, the southern
Arizona city's first flakes since March 16, 1991, but that was too much
for winter tourists and people who moved there from colder climates.

``I hate snow,'' said resident Cyndi Woodard, originally from Iowa. ``I
want 80-degree weather year-round.''

In the mountains surrounding Tucson, Mount Lemmon got 14 inches and some
higher elevations had up to 2 feet. Biosphere 2, the experimental
environment north of Tucson at Oracle, was closed to tourists this

The heaviest snow was in New Mexico's Sandia peaks, which tower over the
eastern suburbs of Albuquerque, with 33 to 36 inches at the Sandia Peak
Ski Area.
Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
this report.

Balmorhea stock show moving indoors

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Staff Writer

PECOS, Jan. 7, 1997 - The site has changed, but everything else will
remain the same at this year's Balmorhea Livestock Show.

Young ranchers and farmers will exhibit their animals at a different
location in Balmorhea this coming weekend, according to Balmorhea ISD
Superintendent James Haynes.

"We'll be having the stock show at the Balmorhea ISD campus, at the ag
barn," Haynes said this morning. The ag barn is a new building located
next to the feeding facility for the animals.

The annual event had been staged in downtown Balmorhea in past years,
but the area is no longer available for the stock show, according to

"Everything will be held at the Balmorhea school campus this year,"
said Haynes. "And because of this weather, we're going to have
everything indoors this year."

A delicious, noon barbecue will be held at the school cafeteria on
Saturday, sponsored by the Balmorhea Ag Boosters. Balmorhea Volunteer
Firemen will be serving up the appetizing noon meal.

Events are set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and will continue
throughout the day. Weigh-in will be held Friday, at about 3:15 p.m.,
the superintendent said.

Ribbons will be handed out in the different events, including the lamb,
steer, rabbits and hogs events.

Grand champion and reserve grand champion in each division will earn a
trophy, and ribbons or rosettes will be awarded to the other winners in
each division.

The annual Balmorhea show is geared towards helping the children learn
responsibility and enjoy themselves at the same time.

It will be followed on Jan. 16-18, by the 1997 Reeves County Livestock


PECOS, Jan. 7, 1997 - High Monday 35, low last night 25. Precipitation
.10 inch (sleet and snow, accumulation .25 inch. January precipitation
.12 inch. Year-to-date .12 inch. Winter storm watch for tonight.
Tonight, periods of snow, possibly heavy at times. Low around 20.
Northeast wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday, a 50 percent chance of snow, mainly
in the morning, decreasing clouds in the afternoon. High around 30.
North wind 10-20 mph. Total snow accumulations of 3-6 inches possible.

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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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