Texas and New Mexico rainfall

Texas and New Mexico rainfall

Just three months after a devastating flash flood event affected the semi-arid region, extensive damage again occurred when record floods threatened homes, motorists, and major highways. An unseasonably strong cold front interacted with a tropical-like air mass over west Texas and southeastern New Mexico produced periods of widespread thunderstorms and very heavy rainfall from July 24 to July 28. Torrential rains fell during the pre-dawn hours on July 25 over the Guadalupe Mountains along the Texas and New Mexico border and over the Lower Trans Pecos region of west Texas. NEXRAD radar estimates indicated six to eight inches of rainfall over northern Terrell County. Rainfall amounts recorded by automated observing sites over the steep and rocky terrain of Guadalupe Mountains National Park measured five inches.

The heavy rainfall and associated runoff in Terrell and eastern Pecos Counties caused extensive damage as flash floods along the Pecos River and smaller creeks threatened major highways and structures. An eighteen foot tall flood wave propagated down Dry Creek and washed away segments of a Texas State Highway 349 bridge north of Dryden. Slabs of asphalt that measured 100 feet were removed. Huge mounds of debris blocked the highways at several locations and other bridges were threatened. Raging waters along the swollen Pecos River carried vehicles and camping trailers miles downstream and killed livestock. A ranch headquarters sustained major structural damage as the rushing Pecos River registered record heights.

In southeastern New Mexico, runoff from the Guadalupe Mountains caused extensive flash flooding of numerous draws and creeks in the foothills and adjacent plains of Eddy County. Rushing flood waters trapped motorists in low water crossings on several secondary roadways. Swift water rescue teams from area fire departments and military helicopter rescue crews from Fort Bliss, Texas spent most of the day bringing stranded flood victims to safety.

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