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Heavy rainfall floods Truth or Consequences

Flash floods Sunday evening washed away cars, debris and parts of homes along the 1000 block of Hyde Street in Truth or Consequences. City crews spent Monday clearing Main Street of mud and sand. (Roberto E. Rosales / Journal

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Heavy rainfall to the tune of 3.5 to 5 inches in an hour Sunday evening caused serious flash flooding in Truth or Consequences and Williamsburg.

Truth or Consequences city manager Morris Madrid said the city golf course, library, water and wastewater departments and Police Department building were all flooded by the storm.

“The water brought a lot of silt on the roads and within some of the buildings,” Madrid said. “Our neighbors in Williamsburg had a resident whose mobile home was lifted off its foundation. Some of our residents couldn’t get into their driveways because of the gulleys on the unpaved streets. But we had no injuries or fatalities. We’re pretty lucky.”

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Tanya Castillo stands next to her neighbors water tank which washed away during Sunday’s heavy rainfall in Truth or Consequences.(Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

The area also saw some rainfall Friday and Saturday. But on Sunday evening, about 3.5 inches of rain fell in an hour, according to the National Weather Service El Paso office. Madrid said some reports in the city measured as much as 5 inches of rain in that time period.

“We had some of our athletic fields completely ruined with debris, and fences came down with the flow of debris,” he said.

The city had been preparing for monsoon season by making sandbags available to residents. The fire department and a team of volunteers delivered more sandbags to residents affected by the flooding on Sunday night.

Now that the water has receded, the cleanup of silt and rocks will begin. Truth or Consequences will have an Emergency City Commission meeting this week to discuss a disaster declaration that could help access state and federal funds.

The storm was part of a monsoon pattern that delivered much-needed rainfall to most of New Mexico over the last week. Los Lunas and Belen received at least 3 inches, and parts of Albuquerque received more than an inch of rain.

“It was certainly a good burst of rainfall,” said Scott Overpeck, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Albuquerque office. “It’s definitely going to help some of our drought conditions.”

Storms will continue on Tuesday, with a high of 88 degrees and a 40% chance of rain in Albuquerque.

Muddy water floods the streets of Truth or Consequences during a storm Sunday evening, the result of 3½ to 5 inches of rainfall. (Video By Tanya Castillo)

But by Wednesday, the monsoon burst will come to an end, Overpeck said, and New Mexico will start to dry out again.

Albuquerque will have a high temperature of 93 on Wednesday, and Thursday temperatures will hit 95 degrees. Rain chances will be minimal on those days.

Weekend temperatures will cool down slightly, with an uptick in precipitation chances and the possibility of a backdoor cool front. Albuquerque will have high temperatures in the low to mid-90s this weekend.

Because of the recent rainfall, the Bureau of Land Management will now allow campfires in the Albuquerque, Farmington and Pecos districts. Fire restrictions will be lifted in the Las Cruces District on July 31. The state Forestry Division has lifted “smoking, firework, campfire, and open fire restrictions for all nonmunicipal, nonfederal, and nontribal lands.” The Carson, Cibola and Santa Fe national forests will rescind a campfire ban at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

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