Fallen trees observed by Los Alamos Police officers on N.M. 4 Wednesday. Photo Courtesy LAPD
Weather conditions in the Jemez Mountains are making it difficult for motorists to travel. Photo Courtesy LAPD
Los Alamos Police Department personnel use chainsaws and tow straps to help clear roads of fallen trees Wednesday. Photo Courtesy LAPD
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Police Department dispatchers have been busy responding to calls for police, police, fire and utilities assistance since early Wednesday morning due to the impact of high winds in the area, according to LAPD Chief Dino Sgambellone.
Chief Sgambellone told the Los Alamos Reporter that the west end of Los Alamos County and beyond has been the hardest hit. Police officers with chainsaws responded to the area of N.M. 4 between the “back gate” of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Bandelier where some motorists had been stranded since before 6 a.m. due to fallen trees.
Officers traveled across the County line with Sandoval County as they continued to encounter motorists who needed their vehicles pulled out of snow drifts or fallen trees cut to allow to them to continue their journey, Sgambellone said.
LAPD is asking motorists to avoid driving roadways adjacent to large forested areas because of high winds and the danger of falling trees.
N.M. 4 westbound will remain closed from West Jemez Road (at the LANL “back gate” until further notice. Access eastbound on N.M. 4 at West Jemez Rd at the back gate remains open to Bandelier and White Rock. Sandoval County officials have already closed N.M. 4 at Hwy 126 (the turn off to Fenton Lake). This section of N.M. 4 from the intersection at West Jemez Road is too dangerous for travel until the high wind event passes through Los Alamos overnight. Gusts up to 75 mph were observed along this stretch of highway this afternoon, bringing down additional trees and blocking the road, making it impossible and treacherous for personnel and heavy duty road equipment to continue working to keep the road cleared.
High winds with gusts of at least 55 mph are expected this afternoon into the early morning hours. Time will then be needed to re-enter the road and re-start tree-clearing activities tomorrow. The County will provide further updates as they become available.
Los Alamos Police officers examine a fallen tree on N.M. 4. Photo Courtesy LAPD
Los Alamos Police Department personnel are assisting motorists on N.M. 4 where high winds and snow are creating hazardous conditions including multiple fallen trees. Photo Courtesy LAPD