Flooding Cuts National Weather Service Communications

Sep 13, 2013

Flood warnings and watches for the afternoon of September 13th, 2013.
Credit National Weather Service

The storm system that’s been dumping heavy rain on New Mexico since early this week continued into today causing significant flooding and the evacuation of at least two towns. Many residents have been left without power. 

The storm system moved into the area early Tuesday bringing record breaking rainfall to much of the state. Albuquerque has seen about 2 inches of rain since the storm moved in. So far damages in the metro area remain minimal, however, a brief power outage and flooded roadways have been reported.

Other areas of the state have not been quite as lucky. In southern New Mexico, Truth or Consequences officials say people around Las Animas and Palomas creeks have been told to evacuate.

Donna Sanchez, the Sierra County emergency manager, described the scene as she prepared to evacuate her own house earlier today. “At my house, I have about 2 feet of raging river,” she said. “There was 2 feet of water from Animas Creek Road all the way to the creek. My house is totally surrounded by water.” 

Damage to roads and buildings has been reported in the Los Alamos and Las Vegas areas as well.

And the National Weather Service’s ability to quickly report the weather conditions was also impacted by the storm. Meteorologist Kerry Jones said the flooding in Colorado damaged a Verizon fiber communications line earlier today. Communications are slowly being restored. “Our partners on the outside,” Jones explained, “no one can actually see real time radar at this point. So that has been sort of a layer of complexity that we certainly didn’t plan on but that we’re working through.”

The storm system is expected to hang around through this evening, Jones said, with the rains tapering off as the weekend progresses.