ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Across New Mexico, chances are most people have seen some rain this week, but some areas are seeing more rain than they've seen in a long time and the sudden hike in lake and river levels are proof.
Rain has caused the big reservoirs along the Pecos River to balloon in the last 24-hours, some growing three to six times from where they were before the storm.
With water level data pouring into the Albuquerque office for the Bureau of Reclamation, some staffers spent much of Thursday in a “war room” of sorts compiling numbers and making predictions about the impact the water is having.
“This probably hasn't happened since 1942,” said a Bureau of Reclamation worker while looking at a picture of the Pecos River near Puerto de Luna. “This is about 20 feet above normal.”
According to the National Weather Service, the Pecos reached flood stage at 13 feet near Acme on Monday afternoon. The service says the last time the river crested was on July 8, 1960.
The rain has caused explosive growth for water levels in the state’s lakes and reservoirs, including at Avalon Dam just north of Carlsbad. The dam went over capacity on Monday with more than 5,000 acre feet of water.
Further north, water levels have tripled at Brantley Lake from 4,500 acre feet before the storm to 12,964 acre feet on Thursday afternoon.
Up at Sumner Lake, the Bureau of Reclamation says water levels swelled Thursday from 3,780 acre feet of water to around 28,302 acre feet of water, a growth of more than six times its original size.
Finally, at Santa Rosa Lake, water levels there went from 11,000 acre feet to 31,228 acre feet.
The fast, rising water has been a concern, but the Bureau of Reclamation says the drought has given the state’s reservoirs plenty of room to work with.
“Santa Rosa, even though it's coming up at this point in time, it's only about 8 percent full, and if you look at Sumner, same thing, even though you see the reservoir coming up, it's only about 27 percent full,” said Ken Rice, Assistant Area Manager for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Albuquerque District Office.
While some areas have flooded, especially along the Pecos, the Bureau of Reclamation says the water is a good thing.
“These reservoirs are acting exactly like they're supposed to,” said Rice. “We're going to capture that water and hold it as long as we can.”
The Bureau of Reclamation says most of the water heading into the Pecos is coming from Rocky Arroyo and the Dark Canyon Arroyo near Carlsbad. However, it says those flows have been diminishing this afternoon. It also says all of the reservoirs and arroyos have acted as they're designed to do and haven't had any problems during this storm.
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