80 mph Winds Break RVs at N.M. Campsite
RV owners in Elephant Butte Lake, N.M., are literally picking up the pieces of their property after a powerful storm rolled through the area Monday night (July 1), severely damaging and in some cases, destroying the expensive crafts, KFOX-TV, El Paso, Texas, reported.
Park rangers say that during the storm last night, the wind readers on the docks showed speeds of more than 80 mph.
New Mexico State Park Ranger Rolph Hechler told KFOX14, "Last night between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., I guess we had, for lack of a better term, a micro storm come through from the east. It knocked over more than a dozen trailers of various sizes, from popups, to five-wheelers, and damaged vehicles. It broke out the glass in several vehicles, sandblasted the paint off a lot of vehicles. It was a pretty strong storm."
Although several of the trailers had been cleaned up and removed from the area, when we got to the scene multiple RVs were still knocked over, and one was completely destroyed with its contents spilled all over the sand. National Weather Service officials said the powerful winds rolled it 40 yards.
We saw a group of men using an Army truck to try to pull an overturned trailer back to an upright position. After successfully bringing it up, the owner of the RV, John Castillo, spoke to KFOX14 about what happened.
Castillo said he found out about the damage to his trailer when he was looking at photos on an Elephant Butte Facebook page.
"All of a sudden I look over to the right and I see the fifth-wheel on the ground, and I told my wife, I think that's our fifth-wheel blown over, so we sent a friend down here who verified that it was our fifth-wheel blown on its side," Castillo said. "I probably have about $15,000 to $20,000 into the trailer, and I fully expect after turning it over it's going to be totaled. I can't imagine they can get it fixed for cheaper than that."
"I think I'm going to haul it to Albuquerque and take itin. If they can fix it great, if not, I'll buy a new one. It's about that time anyway," Castillo said.
Castillo says the damage is ruining his Fourth of July plans at the lake with his family, but it's not keeping his spirits down.
"You just have to roll with the punches, life throws you curveballs sometimes and you've just got to roll with it," Castillo said.
Park rangers told KFOX14 they received no reports of injuries.
Rangers also say they heard reports people saw a tornado or funnel cloud in the area, but the National Weather Service was at the scene surveying the damage, and they believe what hit the area was a downburst, meaning the storm created extremely powerful winds that spread out in all directions from a central area.