The tornado came amid a strong storm system that was not expected to relent as it moved toward the northeast, Jones said. “It’s deepening and strengthening very quickly,” he said.
About 200 miles (or 322 kilometers) northeast of Dexter, authorities said high winds had derailed a train on the high desert plains near Logan, a town of about 1,000 residents. New Mexico State Police photos of the derailment showed shattered train cars scattered across a mostly dry riverbed.
There were no reported injuries in the derailment, state police said.
In total, about 40,000 Xcel Energy customers in the region that spans much of eastern New Mexico and the Texas panhandle were without electricity, the company said.
In Dexter, Herrington said he believed there would have been more tornado injuries had more people been home when it touched down. But luckily, it occurred at a time when many people were at work or returning home from work, he said.
A severe weather warning was issued earlier in the afternoon for hail, lightning, high winds and multiple tornadoes, with authorities urging residents to stay off roads and shelter animals.
Another tornado also touched down in nearby Hagerman on Tuesday, destroying the city’s water system, the Roswell Daily Record reported .