Regional
4:46 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Severe Storm Strikes Northern New Mexico

  Officials say severe weather and large hail has caused multiple car wrecks in northern New Mexico.

The National Weather Service says the hail struck Las Vegas, New Mexico on Thursday and snarled traffic along Interstate 25.

Meanwhile, eastern New Mexico, especially around Clovis, remained under a "slight risk" for severe storms thanks to a storm system that brought "quarter-size" hail and damaging 60 mph winds.

In addition, the Sandia, Manzano and Sangre de Cristo mountain chains in central New Mexico was expected to experience scattered thunderstorms.

Sporadic thunderstorms are expected to continue Friday and through Memorial Day weekend.

Officials fear that means drought-stricken areas may get lightning that could spark wildfires.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A storm system bringing hail and possibly damaging wind moved across New Mexico on Thursday ahead of what is expected to be a Memorial Day weekend packed with severe weather.

The National Weather Service said eastern New Mexico, especially around Clovis, is under a "slight risk" for severe storms and will likely have the strongest conditions. In addition, the Sandia, Manzano and Sangre de Cristo mountain chains in central New Mexico will experience scattered thunderstorms.

Sporadic thunderstorms are expected to continue Friday and officials fear that means drought-stricken areas may get lightning that could spark wildfires.

New Mexico has experienced record-setting fire seasons during two of the last three years, and land managers are worried this summer could be another record-setter given the dry conditions. The state has been battered by drought and persistently high fire danger in recent years.

The human-caused Signal Fire, burning in southwestern New Mexico and the state's largest current fire, is 90 percent contained as of Thursday, officials said. It started burning in grass and timber about 10 miles north of Silver City on May 11.

Forecasters said the severe weather is expected to continue Saturday afternoon and evening with possible hail along the central mountain chain.

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