QUAY & CURRY COUNTY, New Mexico (KVII) — Strong to severe storms developed just before dark Thursday in eastern New Mexico before sticking around the same locations, leading to floods of water that account for nearly have the region's annual rainfall overnight.
These storms produced up to baseball size hail and blanketed areas in white with up to 2" of hail accumulation on the ground in Lesbia, New Mexico in Quay county.
As the night continued, periods of heavy downpours continued to move over the same areas and as of Friday, localized areas in Quay and Curry county logged 6 to 8 inches of rain.
This is a major event for this geographical region. To put this into perspective, Tucumcari, New Mexico receives an average of 17 inches of rain per year. This has caused widespread flash flooding in the canyons, streams, creeks and low-lying areas. Tucumcari escaped the heaviest rainfall but still encountered significant flooding in town.
The wash, rinse, and repeat cycle is not expected to end any time soon.
After three years of severe to extreme drought conditions, this area will not get an extended break of dry weather through the rest of May or the first week of June.
An added 2 to 5 inches of rain could be on the table in the coming days for areas that have already seen 2 to 6 inches of rain over the last week. Amarillo, Texas is closing in on one of the wettest May's on record and could rival some years like 2015 where over 9 inches of rain fell during the month.
In nearby Perryton, a driver had to be rescued after swift water carried his truck away during flash flooding.
According to Perryton Fire EMS, the driver "encountered approximately 6-inches of water" while traveling at 1:30 a.m.
Swift water then carried his truck 80-feet from the road into 3-feet of water.
Perryton Fire EMS and a Texas Game Warden was able to get him out of the truck and back to dry ground.
According to the National Weather Service, flooding is one of the leading causes of weather related fatalities in the U.S.
On average, flooding claims nearly 90 lives each year.
More than half of these deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways.
"This happens because people underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving," said NWS.
Any time you come to a flooded road, follow this simple rule: Turn Around Don’t Drown.