• May 19, 2022
 Tuesday’s daylight reveals extent of Monday’s storms: Cotton crops destroyed

Storm damage to cotton crops near Fabens (Photo – Saul Cortez)

Tuesday’s daylight reveals extent of Monday’s storms: Cotton crops destroyed

Monday night’s storm that spawned a Tornado Warning for Far-East El Paso County looks to have devastated some farmer’s cotton crops.

Graphic: Nat'l Wx Svc
Screen shot of Monday night’s storms. Graphic: NWS

The storm swept through the Lower Valley, forcing residents of Fabens and Tornillo to take cover as the torrential rains and golf ball-sized hail slammed the area.

For a brief period during the storms, the fire stations in each community were opened as shelters, and a handful of residents sought refuge at both locations. Street floods were reported in both communities as arroyos overflowed into nearby streets.

There were scattered reports of some roof damage as well in Tornillo, where the storm seemingly took aim.

While the towns seemed to escape most of the damage, it was the surrounding farms that took the brunt of the storm, with cotton farmers and their soon-to-be harvested crops hardest  hit.

Before the storm, the fields were solid green, punctuated with the tell-tale puffs of white cotton, exploding from the plants. A picture taken

Storm damage to cotton crops near Fabens (Photo - Saul Cortez)
Storm damage to cotton crops near Fabens (Photo – Saul Cortez)

this morning shows the plants stripped and discolored; the fields a soggy mix of mud and the shredded remains of the cotton bolls.

According to one farming family on Facebook, they lost a ‘majority’ of the season’s crop and were still evaluating neighbors fields as well.

“It was odd,” said Bertha Spence, wife of a Fabens-area farmer, “the winds hit us at an angle.” Spence went on to say that the fields were set to be harvested this coming Monday.  According to reports, only 16% of the cotton had been harvested in the state, a percentage seemingly echoed in the valley.

The storm damage adds to the woes farmers statewide have had to endure this year. As cotton prices continue to be low, and the prices for materials needed to maintain the crops (fertilizer, pesticide, etc) rising; many farmers cut back on the acreage planted this year.

If Monday’s storm wasn’t bad enough, residents could be in for another similar night of storms.

According to the National Weather Service, today could see a repeat of yesterday’s storms, not good news for farmers who were getting ready to harvest their crops.


Staff Report

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  • Thanks Chris for this article. I am from Fabens, familia de Pete Sierra. Bertha is my cousin.

    • You’re welcome, just trying to inform and help out.

  • Thank you Chris for writing this articsl….we know we can always count on you when it comes to news from Fabens. .great thing you’ve never forgotten where you came from. ..glad to know that you care. It is sad to see all the damage I live on North Loop right out of Fabens and even the pecan trees look like they were damaged and the cotton fields sadden me so. .I could just imagine how they feel my dad grew cotton and this was in Mexico. .but I could still see his face when we had bad weather by the way his face would turn I knew it was bad he would say all of this was our future. ..and all the work he had done all year just to get ready for this year’s crop. ..just a little reminder on my dad’s memory

    • You’re welcome. My heart goes out to all the farmers and their families. My little garden was 90% destroyed and I’m heartbroken. I cannot imagine how all our neighbor farmers must feel.

  • Dear Mr. Babcock,

    I am using this platform to send you the message below because I do not have an email contact for you.

    I am a no-budget professor with New Mexico State University (NMSU) and I teach a course titled “Diagnosing Plant Disorders.” I am sending you this message to inform you of an upcoming student-centered event , during which NMSU students in my course will hold an outreach in diagnosing plant disorders for the Las Cruces community at the Fabian Garcia Science Center on Monday, October 26, 2015 from 1:30 to 5:20 pm.

    This event is about challenging students and giving them the opportunity to serve the community using skills they have acquired in the class. This is a non-profit event and is free, and should serve as a hub to the community.

    What should an El Paso news outlet care about this? First, I have worked over many years now addressing production problems issues in East El Paso County through Dr. Jaime Iglesias, County Extension Agent-Agriculture and Natural Resources, El Paso County. Second, we have seamless connections with El Paso through the many students who attend NMSU. Because of these existing relationships, I believe that the event will of benefit to agricultural producers, homeowners, and landscapers, and students with interest in agriculture of El Paso County.

    I will welcome your coverage of the event should it be of interest to you. I am very much obliged for your time in reading this message.

    Best regards,
    Soum Sanogo

Comments are closed.