Mother Nature's fickle mood is keeping Eddy County residents guessing.

Raging thunderstorms swept across the northern part of the county early Friday morning, dumping hail and rain throughout the area.

But have no fear: The weekend should be warm and sunny, according to weather forecasts.

"It got a little scary in the Artesia area starting at 1:57 a.m.," said Wendell Malone, regional Skywarn coordinator for Eddy County.

Residents in Hope and Artesia reported seeing hail nearly 2 inches in diameter.

"We got a report early this morning of golf-ball sized hail to the northeast of Artesia," said Meteorologist David Hennig with the National Weather Service in Midland, Texas. "The storm came out of Chavez County and clipped the northern portions of Eddy County." Hennig saw the radar image and said the hail did indeed appear to between 1 and 1 ¾ inches.

Malone said he faithfully updates his social media accounts as an additional source during severe weather storms, and he reported that some of his Facebook friends in Cottonwood who were awakened by the storm had posted pictures of the large hail stones at 3 a.m.

The "severe thunderstorms were due to a cold front from the northwest clashing with moist air from the southeast.

Hail is just part of the equation when major thunderstorms become severe," said Eddie Garcia, a weather anchor for KOB News Channel 4.

As of 2:30 p.m.


Friday, Hennig, Malone and Garcia all predicted that Carlsbad could except severe weather Friday night. "There's a large upper level low pressure system that is sitting over northern Arizona, and its slowly going to move northeast. As it does though, it's going to fire thunderstorms in southeast New Mexico. We could see some large hail and damaging winds out of that," said Hennig. Malone even mentioned a slight chance of isolated tornadoes.

But "the good news is, the worst of the storm has already come and gone," said Garcia. By today at sunrise, the storm was expected to have moved into northern Texas.

And despite yesterday's severe weather, all three weather experts reported that Carlsbad can expect a nice and sunny weekend with temperatures in the low 80s.