New Mexico governor signs another declaration for flooding

August 30, 2021 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed an emergency declaration for Rio Arriba County, clearing the way for the local government to access funding to help with recovery efforts.

Recent heavy rainfall overwhelmed drainage systems and caused damage to roads and infrastructure, including traditional irrigation systems known as acequias.

“Failure to restore the operations of our local acequias will have severe adverse effects on our predominately agricultural communities,” said Alfredo Montoya, the county’s fire marshal and emergency services chief.

Similar emergency declarations were made earlier this year for Lincoln, Chaves, Valencia, Eddy, Doña Ana and Mora counties, as many parts of the state have seen more rain during this monsoon than in the past two summers. Climate experts have said some parts of the southwestern U.S. have seen as much as four times their average precipitation levels for this time of year.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service say the potential for flash flooding will increase sharply Wednesday through Friday as more heavy rain is expected across the western half of New Mexico.