New Mexico rivers could flood due to ample snowmelt
April 25, 2019 06:26 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The snowpack last year was dismal and almost nonexistent. That's not the case this year.
In fact, most of New Mexico's snowpack is way above average and it's already starting to melt.
"We've already started runoff," said Royce Fontenot, a hydrologist at the National Weather Service's Albuquerque office. "Typically we start seeing peak runoff in New Mexico the second half of May, first half of June."
Fontenot says it's a really big deal.
"We're going to start seeing flows in those rivers that we really haven't seen almost in 20 years," said Fontenot.
The high flows may even lead to river flooding – especially if storms add to the snowmelt.
"When we start to see impacts to human life and property. So minor flood stage is usually where there are minor impacts – some roads might be impacted, some overbank flow going on there," said Fontenot.
While catastrophic river flooding isn't likely, Fontenot says everyone needs to be aware whether they're recreating around rivers or just driving around.
"Any flood, river or flash flood – do not drive into it, your car will not make it, no matter how large the vehicle," said Fontenot.
Updated: April 25, 2019 06:26 PM
Created: April 25, 2019 04:08 PM
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