Malaga Tornado March 12th, 2019.


March 12th, 2019.

Malaga tornado west of US Hwy 285 courtesy of Nicole Simonton shared on FaceBook by Tina Kitchens.

Tornado Watch #17.


Tornado Watch #17 was issued for Southeastern New Mexico and parts of West Texas on Tuesday, March 12th, 2019 at 3:30 PM MDT by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and was in effect until 10 PM MDT that evening. This watch meant that conditions were favorable for the development of severe thunderstorm capable of producing tornadoes in and close to the watch area during this time frame. 

Severe Thunderstorm Warning.


This GrLevel3 2.0 radar snapshot at 3:33 PM MDT showed the outline of the Tornado Watch (pink shaded box) as well as a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Otero County which included the Alamogordo, Cloudcroft, and Mayhill areas. This rapdily developing squall line of severe thunderstorms was racing to the east at 55 mph.

Tornado Warning For South-Central Eddy County.


At 5:48 PM MDT a Tornado Warning remained in effect for south-central Eddy County including the Whites City, Black River Village, Loving, and Malaga areas. At 5:45 PM MDT a Park Ranger at the Carlsbad Caverns Visitors Center reported golf ball size hail covering the ground. Notice the strong hook ehco showing up on radar wrapping back around into the Caverns Visitor Center. The main hail core was located east of Whites City along Creosote Rd and southward to the Black River. The severe thunderstorm producing the large hail and possible tornado was moving to the east at 50 mph.

GR2Analyst Radar Snapshot At 6:08 PM MDT..


Based on the Midland National Weather Service Survey Teams Assessment and radar data the Malaga tornado formed at 6:08 PM MDT southwest of the community. It lifted around 6:30 PM MDT or twenty two minutes later near State Highway 128 northeast of Malaga after being on the ground for 15 miles.


EF2 Tornado Near Malaga, New Mexico.

Another NWS survey team investigated a tornado that was spotted south of the community of Malaga in Eddy County New Mexico. A special thank you to Stacy Gifford for allowing us to use this image for the survey writeup. Based on radar imagery, the tornado appeared to develop just west of U.S. Highway 285, approximately 2-3 miles south of Malaga and progressed northeast, possibly for a number of miles. The exact path could not be determined during the survey due to the tornado’s containment within private lands, without roads to access the potential path. With insufficient ground information, the wooden electric power poles along Highway 285 were the only damage indicators available to assess tornado intensity.

Based on radar information, it appears the Malaga tornado formed at approximately 6:08 pm MDT, just southwest of the power poles on Highway 285 and lifted around 6:30 pm MDT (nearly crossing NM Highway 128, 3 miles east of junction with NM Highway 31) covering a distance of 15 miles.

Damaged power poles (image to the right, provided by Malaga Volunteer Fire Dept.) along Highway 285 were located slightly further south than was indicated on radar, 3.75 miles to 4.05 miles south of Malaga. This was used as a starting point. With the tornado crossing the power poles at approximately a 45- degree angle, the width of the tornado was estimated at 1/5 mile. Approximately 10 power poles that were damaged to some degree as the tornado crossed Highway 285. Poles on the north and south limits were snapped at 1/2 to 2/3 height from the ground, while near the center-line of the tornado's path, poles were snapped close to ground level. The observed damage is consistent with damage of an EF2 tornado, with winds estimated at approximately 112 mph.

In addition to tornado and straight-line wind damage, there were several reports of large hail. These reports included…
 • 2.75-inch hail (baseball size) 6-7 miles north of Pecos, 
TX. • 1.75-inch hail (golfball size) in Loving, NM and at Carlsbad Caverns.
 • 1.25-inch hail (half dollar size) in eastern Loving County, TX. 
• 1 inch hail was also reported in various locations across southeastern NM and West TX. 
• Hail damage also occurred in Malaga, NM although it is unknown how large this hail was at the time. 





Malaga Tornado March 12th, 2019.

Malaga Tornado March 12th, 2019.
Courtesy Of Live Storm Chasers - Russ D. Contreras.

Malaga Tornado March 12th, 2019.

Malaga Tornado March 12th, 2019.
Courtesy Of Live Storm Media.

Tornadoes In Eddy County New Mexico.

Our last reported tornado in Eddy County prior to the Malaga tornado on March 12th, 2019 was an EF0 tornado that was reported 17 miles north-northeast of Carlsbad on September 17th, 2016 at 3:50 PM MST. It was estimated to be 200 yards wide and was on the ground for 0.92 miles. It touched down in open fields and no damages were reported. 

Our last reported EF2 tornado occured in downtown Carlsbad on June 7th, 1992 at 8:10 PM MST. Six people were injured in this tornado. It was estimated to have been 73 yards wide and was on the ground for one half of a mile. The damage path was down Church street to the beach area then northeastward into La Huerta. Damages were estimated at $250,000.

See more of my blog posts on tornadoes in Southeastern New Mexico by going to my home page on my weather web page and clicking on the titles and links (Local Tornadoes) in the right hand sidebar.

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