Tornadoes Injure At Least 16 Across Eastern New Mexico

A series of storms, producing at least 13 tornadoes, destroyed buildings and injured at least a dozen people, several critically, in an area along New Mexico's border with Texas, police said.

The worst damage was reported in the towns of Logan and Clovis, communities about 80 miles apart, police said.

The tornadoes, which were reported during a 5-hour period, damaged several buildings, downed power lines and sparked fires that were later extinguished in Clovis, town police Lt. James Schoeffel said.

Thirteen people from that area were hospitalized at the Plains Regional Medical Center with injuries. Five were in critical condition with head trauma, said Liz Crouch, the center's chief operating officer.

In Logan, three people were taken to a hospital in nearby Tucumcari, while others were treated at a local clinic, State Police Sgt. Andrew Tingwall said. An official at the Dr. Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital refused to say if the hospital was treating any storm victims.

A tornado destroyed roughly two dozen mobile homes and campers in Logan, state police said.

Hours later, another tornado rumbled through Clovis.

"They have been coming one after another, after another, after another," said Tim Shy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

Tornadoes are common in eastern New Mexico along the Texas border, but Shy said they might have hit a little early this year.

"We normally would get the first one no later than the middle of April — tax day," Shy said.

Downed power lines and debris forced authorities to shut down part of a highway near Clovis, said Roosevelt County Emergency Management official Lonnie Berry.

"There's a lot of flooding; we have a lot of water," he said. "There's a lot of debris that scattered from the winds."

Shy said he did not know the strength of the tornadoes.

"This one certainly is confined to the eastern and southeastern counties of the state, and that is typical, but to have this many, this severe, this early, is atypical for us," he added.

The storms were expected to continue into Saturday, moving northward up the Texas-New Mexico border before moving eastward into the Texas panhandle, Shy said.

In Logan, the most severe damage was reported on the south side, west of the main entrance to Ute Lake State Park, Tingwall said. Several homes and businesses also sustained "cosmetic damage," he said.

Authorities initially cut off utility service to aid rescue crews and help with cleanup efforts, and power was restored shortly after, Tingwall said.

State police established a command post. Ambulances and volunteer firefighter services from Logan and Tucumcari responded.

Carrie Moritomo, a spokeswoman for the state's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said a crew will be sent to Logan on Saturday to assess the damage there.