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Storms douse RR, knock out electricity

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Storm clouds gather over Cleveland High School on Monday. (Rio Rancho Observer—GARY HERRON photo)

Storm clouds gather over Cleveland High School on Monday. (Rio Rancho Observer—GARY HERRON photo)

Thunderstorms have eased the lingering drought, but they caused problems with flooding and power outages this weekend.

Precipitation totals for the weekend were typically half an inch or more in the Rio Rancho area, up to 1.3 inches at a weather station 2 miles west northwest of Corrales, said Troy Marshall, a meteorology technician at the National Weather Service office in Albuquerque. Varying amounts around an area are normal with thunderstorms.

“It’s spotty,” he said. “Some people are going to report a little more than others.”

NWS works with volunteer “spotters” who report weather conditions at their own locations. Marshall said one Rio Rancho spotter reported .86 inches of rain over the weekend and a total of 2.82 inches for the year so far.

NWS-Albuquerque meteorologist Todd Shoemake he didn’t have rainfall totals for Rio Rancho, but its numbers were probably similar to Albuquerque, as is the case around much of the state. Albuquerque had 3.49 inches so far this year, compared to 2.77 inches last year, and the fourth-wettest July on record, he said.

Lightning knocked out a power line in Rio Rancho on Sunday, leaving almost 1,100 customers without electricity, according to the PNM Facebook page. Corrales residents reported small outages, according to the page.

Flooding Sunday closed NM 528 at High Resort Boulevard for about 45 minutes, Rio Rancho Police Capt. Rich Misbach said. Marshall said water damaged roads in Corrales as well.

Heavy rain can cause dangerous flash floods, even some distance away from the storm. People need to stay out of arroyos and low places if there’s a thunderstorm anywhere in the area.


Swift-water safety tips:

Avoid being caught in floods:

• Don’t play in arroyos or be caught in them if there’s a nearby thunderstorm, even if it’s not in the immediate area.

• Remember that water can appear slow and shallow, but still have a lot of force.

• Don’t try to drive through water running across the road if you don’t know its depth.

If you’re swept away:

• Point your feet downstream and float on your back with the current until it slows. Then swim to the bank.

• Don’t stand up in swift-moving water. Your foot could become caught, with possibly deadly results.

• Avoid piles of debris in the current. The water could trap you against them and pull you under.

• If you’re in a vehicle and it’s stable, stay in it and call for help.

• If the vehicle is being swept away, get out and stay out of its path.

Source: Rio Rancho Deputy Fire Chief Paul Bearce

 

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