(Editor’s note: Use the scroller in the module above to view video and photos of the storm impacts.)
El PASO, Texas — A severe storm system that radar showed was capable of producing a tornado rolled through the El Paso and Las Cruces areas Sunday night, producing 70 to 90 mile per hour wind gusts with blowing dust – that took visibility to near zero – along with heavy rain, powerful lightning and large hail.
Multiple Severe Thunderstorm Warnings had been effect in the El Paso and Las Cruces areas through around 9:15 p.m. before conditions began to slowly subside.
In the wake of what ABC-7 chief meteorologist ‘Doppler Dave’ Speelman described as a “monster storm,” about 17,000 El Paso Electric customers across the Borderland lost power, a massive tree on the New Mexico State University campus was among numerous uprooted, and there were scattered reports throughout the region of hail damage and flooded roads.
EPE tweeted that utility crews were “working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power.” Those 17,000 scattered electrical outages experienced at the height of the storm, stretched from Dona Ana County down through El Paso County, according to EPE’s outage map. While some got their power back before midnight, others didn’t and EPE couldn’t provide an estimate as to when all those impacted would have service restored.
In addition to the uprooted tree on the NMSU campus, there was also a downed tree that blocked traffic at Country Club Road and Montoya in west El Paso; city crews were working late into the night to try and get that tree removed.
Interstate 10 westbound was closed near Lordsburg after a multi-vehicle pileup that occurred as the area experienced 60 mile an hour wind gusts and poor visibility due to blowing dust.
Among the roads severely flooded was U.S. 70 in the Las Cruces area. It was closed from milepost 160 to 170, an area known as the “San Augustine Pass,” according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation – which said it was impassable. In Anthony, NM 28 from milepost 0 to 14 was also flooded with debris.
A Flash Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service was in effect for El Paso and Dona Ana counties through 11:30 p.m. Sunday. ABC-7 StormTrack Doppler Radar estimates showed up to 1.9 inches of rain fell over a 3-hour period in parts of west El Paso, 1.8 in Las Cruces and 2.7 near White Sands Missile Range.