Road closure and bridge failures have been reported all across the state as heavy rains caused flooding in Albuquerque, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, and dozens of other cities spread across the state. In Albuquerque alone, where the average annual rainfall measures just over 8 inches, between 3 and 5 inches of rain were reported over the last five days.

Just south of Los Alamos over 9 inches of rain fell near White Rock, New Mexico, while Tucumcari received just over 4 inches. Socorro recorded nearly 5.5 inches of rain and Roswell reported almost 6 inches in the same period.

Storms closed roads and highways, damaged a number of public bridges across the state and stranded motorists and homeowners causing a number of rescues. By Sunday morning, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez elevated the state's Emergency Operation Center to Level 2 to help coordinate resources for assisting victims of heavy rains and flash flooding across the state.

Rural residents were evacuated in numerous locations including in Socorro County where the Rio Grande and Rio Puerco rivers merge. Near Elephant Butte, State Police identified a drowning victim who had been washed off a bridge, the only weather-related fatality in the state over the weekend.

In the western region of the state, the San Francisco River crested at 32 feet overnight Saturday, going over the top of two bridges and forcing the closure of the U.S. 180.

As a result of the heavy rains, lakes and reservoirs across the state have been receiving heavy runoffs and state water officials say the extreme drought of summer is now a distant memory. Near Carlsbad, flood waters that flowed into Bartley Reservoir prompted CID officials to announce a late-season release of an additional four-tenths of an acre-foot per acre of water for area alfalfa farmers.

The District uses four storage reservoirs stretched across the county and officials say not only have they been replenished substantially to allow for the extra release, but they also should be full enough to allow farmers to greet the new year without an irrigation water shortage.

A late season water delivery has been scheduled to begin as early as Sept. 24.

Farmers who attended a special CID board meeting this week said the additional water is more than enough to plant one more alfalfa crop this year before irrigation season officially ends in October.

 

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