The El Paso area received more than 2 inches of rain in three days as storms blanketed the area — and more rainfall is expected into next week.
The El Paso International Airport reported more than 1.47 inches of rain Sunday with another .6 Monday and .12 inches Tuesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Hefner said.
Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico also saw nearly 2 inches of rain Sunday through Tuesday.
Rain is still in the forecast for the rest of the week, the July Fourth holiday weekend and early next week, Hefner said.
El Paso-Las Cruces region remained under a flash flood watch through Wednesday night.
A flash flood watch alert by the National Weather Service said the area could see an additional half-inch to 1.5 inches of rain through Wednesday night.
Juárez remains on “yellow alert” due to the rains and street flooding.
While Sunday through Tuesday saw rainfall spread out through area, the coming days will likely see heavy isolated storms, Hefner said.
“The widespread rains will be less, but as we get further out, especially Saturday, Sunday, Monday, we become more convective,” Hefner said. “So, if you’re lucky enough to be under a thunderstorm, you could get another inch or two. I think it’s going to be a little bit more hit or miss as we get into the weekend and the first part of next week.”
He added, “We’ve been more of a widespread tropical-type regime and we’re switching to more convective — a little bit spottier.”
Storms produced deadly conditions
There have been two weather-related deaths reported in the El Paso and Southern New Mexico areas over the past three days.
A high school teacher from Austin, 39-year-old Christina Garcia-Mata, died Monday after she was swept away by water currents and fell off a cliff as she was hiking in the Franklin Mountains near Thunderbird Drive in West El Paso.
On the heaviest rainfall day so far, the El Paso Police Department received 2,196 calls for service Sunday, compared with 1,632 the previous Sunday, El Paso Police Department spokesperson Detective Diane Mack said.
El Paso police dispatch reported that calls regarding flooding were citywide as the storm spread throughout the area, Mack said.
A breakdown on how many of the calls were weather-related was not immediately available.
In Carlsbad, a driver died about 10 p.m. Tuesday after fast flowing water swept the vehicle from a low-water crossing, according to the Carlsbad Current Argus.
It is believed the motorist drove around a barricade at the intersection of Boyd Drive and Monterrey Street and then was swept away by floodwaters, Eddy County spokesperson Jeri Strong told the Carlsbad Current Argus.
El Paso emergency officials urge the public to take precautions and take weather conditions seriously.
“Common sense should be applied — avoid traveling the streets during heavy rain unless absolutely necessary,” Mack said. “Never drive or walk through floodwaters or drive around barriers blocking a flooded road. It only takes a foot of water to carry away most cars and less to knock over a grown adult.”
Six inches of moving water can knock an adult off his or her feet, while 12 inches of moving water can move a light car. A full-size pickup or SUV can be moved by 24 inches of moving water, according to the El Paso Fire Department.
“We want to remind the community the dangers of approaching or trying to cross a running water stream,” fire officials said. “Even when it is moving slowly, water carries a lot more strength than what it appears.”
Texas Department of Public Safety officials urged motorists to slow down during rainy conditions, especially at night where visibility is low. They also asked motorists to allow extra following distance, watch for debris on the roadway and never put their vehicles on cruise control during bad weather.
- El Paso Water Northeast Stormwater Operations Center, 4801 Fred Wilson Ave., from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
- Blackie Chesher Park, 9292 Escobar Drive, from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
- Artcraft Booster Station, 7830 Paseo Del Norte Blvd., from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
- Must bring a Texas ID card or an El Paso Water bill. Sandbag limit is 10 per visit.