Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Area has potential for heavy rain, flooding

Staff and wire report

Eastern New Mexico may miss the brunt of the remnants from Tropical Storm Odile, but the potential for heavy rain and flooding are still possible today and Friday.

Paul Nelson, Clovis’ acting emergency management director, said he’s been in briefings Tuesday and Wednesday with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque about severe weather that could dump as much as 8 inches of rain in the southern part of the state before the storm system weakens Friday.

“Between today and Friday we’re expecting about 2 inches of rain,” Nelson said. “Locally, there could be some heavier downpours.”

Nelson said his department has been working closely with the public works department, making sure they have pumps ready in case there’s flooding at Greene Acres and Dennis Chavez lakes. He added the city has sandbags if needed.

Nelson aid because it is still the tail end of monsoon season in New Mexico it is not unusual for the area to receive 2 or more inches of rain this time of year.

Large storm clusters hung over New Mexico on Wednesday, generally moving from the southwest toward the northeast. So far, Socorro and Catron counties have seen around 3 inches of rain in two days, officials said.

Five-day National Weather Service forecasts call for up to 5 inches in southern New Mexico, with up to 8 inches in the southwestern and south-central mountain regions. Heavy rain is expected throughout the week with most severe weather coming Thursday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said parts of Arizona and New Mexico could receive 6 to 9 inches of rain and possible flash flooding.

“Problems are going to happen when we have these embedded thunderstorms,” said meteorologist Todd Shoemake said.

Shoemake said those isolated storms, which are part of the larger system, can dump rain very quickly on already saturated soil and trigger floods around the state.

In addition, Shoemake said officials expect the Gila and San Francisco rivers will get close to flood levels.

The remnants of Odile, which had been downgraded from a Category 3 hurricane to a tropical storm, were expected to reach Arizona by Wednesday evening and strike hardest in the Tucson area before moving into New Mexico.

Managing editor Rick White contributed to this report.