Widespread flooding and damage caused by southeast NM storms

Weather

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Storms are continuing to hit southeast New Mexico the hardest. Repeatedly causing widespread flooding and damage.

Storms caused Highway 70 to shut down from Las Cruces to White Sands due to mudslides caused by heavy rain over the weekend. The situation was so bad, the DOT had to bring in heavy equipment to push all the mud out of the way.

Over the last 48 hours, more than three and a half inches of rain fell in this area. Since May 1, many areas across southeast New Mexico have seen half a foot of rainfall.

But Roswell has more than doubled that amount, they’ve had 12.81 inches of rainfall since May1, bringing their yearly total over 13.5 inches. This makes it the fourth-wettest start to a calendar year on record.

Farther south in Carlsbad, over seven niches of rain caused the Pecos River to flood at the beginning of July. One person was killed during that storm after driving around a barricade and being swept away by flash floodwaters.

Just last week, there was another flash flood in Ruidoso. The village and surrounding area got around seven inches of rain, but other areas in the Sacramento Mountains measured more than 15 inches of rain since May 1.

An upside to all this rain is that major progress is being made against the drought in New Mexico. A map released last Thursday shows that some eastern parts of the state have no measurable drought but pockets of extreme drought are still present. Also, there are still exceptional drought conditions in the east mountains all the way up into northwestern New Mexico.

In June alone, southeastern New Mexico has seen two to three times its normal amount of rainfall, and monsoon season technically runs until the end of September. Another area of concern at this point is in the Gila region. With recent fires there, burn scars cause an increased risk of flash flooding. That area did get heavy rain Sunday night already.

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