Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Firefighters rescued one person and were looking for another after two people were seen floating down arroyos in Northeast Albuquerque on Tuesday afternoon when heavy rains hit.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue Lt. Tom Ruiz said fire crews were searching a diversion channel washout for the body of a woman spotted around 5 p.m. in an arroyo near Interstate 25 and Jefferson NE.
He said another person who was swept away was able to “walk out” of the arroyo near Washington and Cutler NE with the assistance of Albuquerque police.
Tuesday’s rescue efforts came a week after three men were caught in an arroyo during a flash flood. By Friday, AFR had pulled their bodies from the diversion channel washout.
It was initially reported Tuesday that three people had been caught in floodwaters, but Ruiz said they believe that is because the woman was inaccurately reported as two people to dispatch.
Rescue teams could be seen on the sides of the arroyo along Paseo del Norte as they scanned the rushing waters for people. On Tuesday evening the rescue teams had abandoned the arroyo and moved to the washout near Tramway and Roy where air boats searched the waters.
The National Weather Service said up to an inch and a quarter of rain fell in a half hour over the Northeast Heights between Academy and Paseo del Norte.
The agency had issued a flash flood warning for Bernalillo County around 4:45 p.m., shortly before the people were sighted.
As the area experienced heavy rains, the agency advised that flash flooding could occur in northern Albuquerque, southwestern Rio Rancho, Corrales, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, the North Valley, Sandia Heights, Paradise Hills and Alameda.
“Arroyos, streams, and normally dry rivers can become raging killer currents in a matter of minutes,” the NWS alert advisory reads. “Water in arroyos can travel many miles and take hours to reach your location from upstream rain areas.”
Journal staff writer Theresa Davis contributed to this report.