The weather is making it very tough for those trying to clean up after a tornado tore through a town in southeast New Mexico.
Several homes were damaged and Wednesday’s strong winds are posing a big threat with metal scrap and debris everywhere.
Clean up efforts have been stopped until Thursday. Officials say the strong winds are posing too big of a threat right now, saying the flying debris is like shrapnel.
“Our stance is that today, because of the wind, everything is unstable and we don’t want to have to be going in to take out another casualty based on being struck by debris,” Chaves County Sheriff Mike Herrington said.
Five people are recovering from minor injuries. At least 10 homes in Dexter were severely damaged. Officials say around 150 cows from several dairies have had to be put down due to sheet metal that cut them up.
The National Weather Service believes it could’ve been an F-2 tornado, something very rare for New Mexico at this time of year.
“We always have them out in the fields but we don’t have them inside the city limits, so I would say a state of euphoria, pretty much shock,” Sheriff Herrington said.
KRQE News 13 caught up with a woman Tuesday night who was in her home when the roof was torn off.
“She’s thinking, this is all she had of her husband, but at least we’re safe and he left us a house that protected us,” Francisca Granado said.
The Red Cross has a shelter set up at the Lindell Andrew Community Center in Hagerman and will serve clients for at least 48 hours. A Red Cross Emergency Vehicle will also be on the scene to assist with recovery service.
Additionally, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers will be providing meals while the Roswell Church on the Move is offering support for those needing shelter.
As far as the Declaration of Emergency, the county is requesting financial assistance from the state.
“I’m just glad no one was hurt. Very glad and grateful to the man upstairs that we’re all fine,” Granado said.
State Police have called in several officers from other districts to help secure a perimeter around Dexter to prevent potential looters.
All roads into town are closed, including State Road 2.