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Record-breaking rain swamps NM, forces evacuations

3:37 p.m. — The chief of the Artesia Fire Department has had to cobble together a fleet of boats and helicopters to rescue as many as 75 people from an Lakewood RV park and a small neighborhood, but he said the efforts have gone smoothly.

“You’d think we do this every day,” chief J.D. Hummingbird told the Journal.

Nearly 20 more people have yet to be evacuated from the four-foot-deep flood in Lakewood, he said, but there have been no reports of injuries. The department is using half a dozen boats and two helicopters. A Blackhawk helicopter is on the way.

The rain fell around 6 a.m. this morning, he said, and evacuations began between 9 a.m. and 9:30.

South of Lakewood, a cargo train has gotten stuck. The crew has remained on board until help arrives, Hummingbird said, but he didn’t know how many members were on board.

Evacuees will be bused to a shelter in Carlsbad.

Keep with for updates

Video: The Pecos River in Carlsbad, N.M., flows heavy due to recent rain. The river normally flows underground in the area. (Courtesy Ashley Denton)


3:17 p.m. — The Red Cross is preparing to house between 200 and 300 evacuees from Artesia after a flooding evacuation there, according to a Red Cross spokeswoman.

The evacuees were initially going to head to Roswell, she said, but are now being sent to Carlsbad. The Red Cross is sending a shelter team and a trailer to the shelter there to beef it up, the spokeswoman said.

Elsewhere in the state, the Red Cross is reporting that only five people are taking shelter at their shelter in Vado, and two people are sheltering in Roswell.


Keep with for updates.

2:48 p.m. — Much of New Mexico is grappling with heavy Thursday rains, and the Red Cross is setting up temporary shelters to house evacuees from flooding in Artesia.

Totals from the National Weather Service are striking, with Eddy County being the hardest hit in the state. More than 5.5 inches have fallen in Queen, and nearly three inches have fallen in parts of Carlsbad since Sept. 11.

The service has also issued a flood warning for De Baca and Chaves Counties until 3:15 p.m.

Those areas are getting four inches and more of rain, and areas along Pecos River are flooding, including River Road on the east side of Roswell. The river has reached 13 feet, which is “flood stage”

The Red Cross in New Mexico is operating a shelter in Chavez County and is taking evacuees from Artesia to a shelter in Roswell. The service provided this information about shelters in southern New Mexico:

  • The Red Cross Shelter in Roswell is located on The Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Campus Gym.
  • In Dona Ana County, the Red Cross is supporting a County Shelter at the Community Center in Vado for families evacuated due to flooding.
  • The Red Cross will continue monitoring conditions throughout New Mexico and working with Emergency Management officials.

More than 50 people were rescued by boat in Artesia, according to KOAT-TV.

Albuquerque also saw record-breaking rain totals Thursday. The Albuquerque International Sunport got .53 inches of rain by 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, which broke a more-than-70-year-old record for the day.

Other parts of the city have, over the last 49 hours, gotten anywhere ranging from just under three inches to trace amounts.

Here’s a breakdown, per the National Weather Service, of some notable rainfall totals:

  • Sumner Lake got 8.0 inches as of 11:45 a.m. this morning.
  • The village of Tijeras has received 2.93 inches of rain as of 9 this morning.
  • The area of Indian School and Morris in Albuquerque got 1.3 inches as of 12 p.m.
  • Glenwood in Catron County got 1.58 inches as of 7:48 a.m.
  • Melrose in Curry County got 5.18 inches as of 6:55 this morning.
  • Bonito Lake in Lincoln County got 4.22 inches as of 10:55 a.m.
  • Farmington got more than 2.2 inches as of yesterday morning.
  • Las Vegas, N.M., got more than 3.2 inches as of 9:15 a.m.
  • Socorro got more than 4 inches as of 9:15 this morning.


Keep with for updates.



ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Heavy rainfall is forecast throughout much of central and northern New Mexico through the weekend, with the possibility of flash flooding.

The National Weather Service says areas with recent wildfire burn scars and mountain slopes — and places downstream from those areas — are particularly vulnerable.

Meteorologist Kerry Jones says it’s likely some areas could see 6 to 10 inches of rain through the weekend.

American Red Cross volunteers have opened a shelter in Chavez County in southeastern New Mexico to help motorists stranded by flooded roads.

A shelter in Dona Ana County is helping families evacuated due to flooding.

Officials at Carlsbad Caverns National Park have closed the main highway due to potential flooding, and two rain-caused rock slides on both sides of a tunnel on U.S. 82 east of Alamogordo closed the highway briefly Wednesday.