Heavy Rain Causes Serious Flash Flooding On The Rio Penasco River Thursday!


Blog Updated At 9:29 AM MDT Sunday, Oct 8th, 2017.
Blog Updated At 10:08 AM MDT Sunday, Oct 8th, 2017.
Blog Updated At 10:55 AM MDT Sunday, Oct 8th, 2017.


While digging through my blog archives this morning (Sunday, Oct 8th,2017) I came across this-

Flash Flooding Along The Rio Penasco Sept 15th-18th, 2013.


Interesting to note that the flood gauge then reported a maximum flood water depth of 15 feet!

Flash Flooding On The Rio Penasco River.
(Thursday, Oct 5th, 2017).

Many Thanks To Justin Powell & Camille Graham Figueroa For Their Photos!


Courtesy Of Wendell L. Malone

My wife and I drove up to the mountains yesterday (Saturday, Oct 7th) to see the aspens. On our way up there I stopped and took a couple of photos to show you the comparison between the flooding and the normal view of the flooded areas. The top photo is the flooding that occurred on Thursday, Oct 5th between mile markers 51 & 52 and the photo I took above is the same area after the floods waters had receded yesterday.





Courtesy Of Pam Runyan.

Courtesy Of Wendell L. Malone

The top photo is the flooding that occurred on Thursday, Oct 5th between mile markers 51 & 52 and the photo I took above is the same area after the floods waters had receded yesterday.





Courtesy Of Pam Runyan.


This Photo Was Taken From The Rio Penasco River Bridge On St. Hwy 24 South Of The Junction Of U.S. Hwy 82 And St. Hwy 24 North Of Dunken. Looking West. This Is Near Mile Marker 59 Or 4 Miles East Of Runyan Ranches. The Riverbed Is About 15 To 20 Feet Below This Bridge Normally.  

Courtesy Of Wendell L. Malone

Courtesy Of Wendell L. Malone

The two photos above was taken yesterday (Saturday, Oct 7th). This shows the how high the flood waters got up (water line marked in the photo) and this also shows the normal water flow in the Rio Penasco River at this location.

Courtesy Of Wendell L. Malone

Courtesy Of Wendell L. Malone

Looking east from the bridge over the Rio Penasco on St Hwy 24 yesterday (Saturday, Oct 7th). Located on the left side of the photo is the flood gauge that apparently is not reporting. Notice how high the water line got on both river banks. Again the bottom photo shows a normal flow in the Rio Penasco.

Courtesy Of Wendell L. Malone

I took this photo of flooding on the Rio Penasco at the bridge on U.S. Highway 285 7 miles south of Artesia in Eddy County at 9:47 AM MDT Saturday, Oct 7th, 2017. It appears that it took the flood waters from the Elk and Dunken areas roughly 36 to 48 hours to reach this location. Which is 58 - 59 miles east of where the flash flooding occurred. The maximum depth of the flood waters under the bridge was estimated to be about 3 feet deep.

Photos Are Courtesy Of Justin Powell & Used With Permission.

Flash flooding on the Rio Penasco River, Little Felix Arroyo, Elk Canyon Arroyo, and Burnt Canyon Arroyo occurred yesterday around noontime according to what Justin Powell told me on the phone this afternoon. He took these photos between mile markers 51-52 along U.S. Highway 82 in southwestern Chaves County just east of Elk and west of the Runyan Ranch Fruit Stand and Zoo which is located about 3 miles southeast of this location at mile marker 55. 

Normally the Rio Penasco River is only a trickle of water a couple of feet deep and less than 10 feet wide most of the time at these locations. Note the the flood waters overflowed the Penasco's banks and the flooding was significant enough to put U.S. Highway 82 underwater. 

His dad recorded 6 inches of rain at their ranch nearby where these photos were taken over the past week. 2.50" fell Wednesday into Wednesday night with 3.50" on Tuesday. Justin says that he has heard reports that up to 8 to 9 inches of rain fell along the northern 16 Springs Canyon and the Elk and Felix watersheds this past week although this hasn't been verified by me. However given the fact that Justin's dad recorded 6" at his ranch and 4" fell at the Mayhill CoCoRaHS site west of Mayhill its entirely possible that this much rain did fall. 

Location Of The Flooding Between Mile Markers 51 & 52.






(Valid Until 8:15 AM MDT Thursday, Oct 5th, 2017).


Although a Flash Flood Warning for Otero County was issued by the El Paso National Weather Service Office it expired at 8:5 AM MDT Thursday morning. I can't find where the Albuquerque National Weather Service Office issued a Flash Flood Warning yesterday morning for southwestern Chaves County just east and southeast of the Elk area and north of Dunken. This is where the photos above were taken and the worst of the flooding occurred.

Heavy rains like these are common from time to time over the Sacramento Mountains and this event proves that more volunteer rainfall spotters/observers are needed in this area. You can become on of these simply by clicking on the link below. Please consider joining a nation-wide group of volunteers who provide valuable rainfall information that the National Weather Service who then can use these reports during these heavy rain events to adequately warn the public of potential flash flooding.

Flash Flooding On The Rio Penasco River At Runyan Ranches SE Of Elk - At Mile Marker 55 On U.S. Hwy 82 In SW Chaves County. 




Radar Estimates Heavy Rainfall In Chaves County.




Radar estimates from the Cannon AFB Radar near Clovis estimates that rainfall totals in and near the Roswell area the past couple of days are in the 2" to 5" range. 

(As Of 3 PM MDT Today).





Chaves County.


Lincoln County.


Otero County.


The Mayhill area got hit hard too with one CoCoRaHS Station located 2.8 miles west-northwest of Mayhill recording 4.09" of rain between Monday and yesterday.

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