Flooding causes issues in drought-stricken eastern New Mexico

EASTERN NEW MEXICO — Severely drought-stricken areas of New Mexico are getting more than their fair share of rain, which is causing flooding and damage.

Around 10 p.m. Thursday, a severe thunderstorm hit Tucumcari in Quay County. It brought baseball-sized hail, 82 mph wind gusts and flooding that submerged some streets in a foot or more of water.

The storms also hit places like Grady and San Jon with hail, rain and high winds. They also hit Conchas, Variadero, Conchas Lake State Park, Conchas Dam, Trementina, Bell Ranch and other places.

Between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., reports indicated around seven or more inches of rain near San Jon. These storms affected I-40 between mile markers 314 and 340. They also affected State Road 104 between mile markers 43 and 54 – and between markers 62 and 105.

The storms stretched down into southeastern New Mexico. Heavy rain left standing water on multiple roads, causing at least two closures reported Friday by NMDOT:

  • New Mexico Highway 77, from mile marker 9 to mile marker 12, just north of Clovis
  • New Mexico Highway 321, from mile marker 1 to mile marker 2, just east of Causey in Roosevelt County

NMDOT reported a weather advisory in the Clovis area. Drivers should be advised of flooding on U.S. Highway 70, U.S. 60, NM-209, NM-108, NM-224, NM-288, NM-275, NM-241 and NM-311.

Over the last year, an abundance of precipitation allowed the state to rebound from extreme-to-exceptional drought conditions. The eastern plains have seen some relief but are still dealing with moderate-to-severe conditions.

As of the last drought monitor update, May 23, Quay County is in moderate-to-severe drought conditions. Most of Roosevelt County is also seeing severe drought conditions and Curry County is seeing severe-to-extreme conditions.

Despite the floods caused by the heavy rain storms, the next update may show improvement in the area.

Another chance of storms and possible flooding is likely again Friday night.