Four Corners flooding concerns grow as Animas River expected to rise
FARMINGTON, N.M. — What accompanies springtime is water, but here in New Mexico, it’s not in the form of rain clouds.
“We always have spring runoff and due to the snow pack this year, currently it’s at 150% above normal we anticipate a pretty good spring runoff this year,” said Mike Mestas, emergency manager for San Juan County.
A lot of water melting at high elevations raises the potential for flooding.
“It’s a little over 2,000 (cubic feet per second) right now a month ago it was 300,” Robert Sterrett, fire chief for the City of Farmington said. “Historically in the 2019/2015 years, we’re kind of right on par with what those years did.”
And in both of those years, there was standing water in Farmington’s river parks. So, to get ahead of an optionally overflowing Animas river, Farmington officials are taking precautions.
“There is not a massive flow of water coming right now so it’s just a good opportunity to set up sandbags and be prepared for whatever mother nature throws at us,” Sterrett said.
Close to 1,000 sandbags are on standby.
“Depends on how quickly we warm up if it rains up in high elevations, unfortunately, those are things we have no control over that could drastically change how much water comes down the river,” Sterrett said.
Only time will tell because most of the high flows occur between mid-May and mid-June.
“Be prepared now and let’s not wait until something happens within our community,” Mestas added.
The city and county are offering free sandbags residents can pick them up behind the Farmington Recreation Center, La Plata Fire Station 2, or the Aztec Fire Ops Pepsi building.