Heavy rain is once again causing significant flooding in parts of the Desert Southwest. Only this time, it’s shifted into areas of the southern New Mexico and far western Texas. El Paso has been especially hard hit. Early Monday morning, storms stalled out just north of the city, dumping as much as five inches of rain in some locations.
The influx of rain, over the hilly terrain, caused an immense amount of flash flooding. That lead to first responders being inundated with water rescue calls. Joe Rogash, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in El Paso explains, “There were over thirty water rescues, that we know of, by the fire and police departments.”
Unfortunately, the El Paso Police Department confirmed the flood waters were the cause of at least one fatality.
Media advisory: confirmed fatal drowning near Vulcan And Diana
— EL PASO POLICE DEPT (@EPPOLICE) September 22, 2014
As of Monday evening, a flash flood warning remained in effect for all of El Paso and some of the surrounding areas. Standing water is still a major issue for the border city. Earlier Monday, Rogash reported parts of the city were still waiting for the water to recede, “El Paso has portions of the city still underwater from earlier rainfall.”
El Paso wasn’t the only city dealing with heavy rain; Carlsbad, N.M., located in the southeastern part of the state, also recorded some pretty hefty rainfall totals. More the five inches of rain fell on the town, causing flash flooding and slowing the morning commute.
What’s Causing All This Rain?
Unlike other flash flooding events in the region, this bout with heavy rain wasn’t precipitated by a dying topical system.
NWS Meteorologist Joe Rogash explains, “We had a front move through earlier and behind the front, high amounts of moisture moved in and we also have an upper-level disturbance. Those elements are perfect for flooding this time of year in our area.”
Rain is likely to be ongoing though the evening hours and perhaps overnight as well. Any additional rain will likely exacerbate current flooding. So, if you see a road covered in flood water, do not drive through it. Did you know six inches of swift-moving water is enough to float and push a car downstream? You life is never worth taking that shortcut.
It looks like the drying trend will start on Tuesday, welcome news for the normally-arid region.
WeatherNation meteorologists will be keeping an eye on the situation and bring you updates as warranted.
Meteorologist Alan Raymond
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