Arroyos and Flooding Under the Influence of Climate Change in NM


“Ditches are deadly, stay away.” This phrase has been drilled into every New Mexican child’s head from the time they could understand words. Tales of La Llorona haunted our dreams and local flood authorities made sure to terrify us with horror stories of people being swept away in flash floods. Flash flooding has always been a big problem in New Mexico, but in the face of climate change, it can only get worse.


In this graph we can see how the time of day effects when most flash floods are to occur. Other than basic trends, flash floods can be unpredictable. In the past year or so, Albuquerque has endured massive afternoon thunderstorms that ascend after long periods of drought. Most notably, the flooding in the summer of 2013. Albuquerque residents were in shock as cars were swept away and houses flooded. How could this be happening in the desert?
The answer is climate change. Climate change brings dramatic shifts in the weather. For New Mexicans, we can expect more violent thunder storms as well as more severe droughts. Because the storms will be more sporadic, this means that flash floods are more likely to occur. When dry soil has not been beaten down by the rain in a long time, large sheets of rain can turn a sandy hill into a landslide. Water will be able to move rapidly and uncontrollably.

AMAFCA, the organization responsible for flood control in Albuquerque can only do so much. They perform maintenance on arroyos, and launch immense campaigns to dissuade people from playing in ditches. They issue weather announcements and flash flood warnings. They will have their work cut out for them within the next few summers as conditions become more extreme.


This summer especially make sure to stay out of arroyos and ditches, because they will be more deadly than ever.



4 thoughts on “Arroyos and Flooding Under the Influence of Climate Change in NM

  1. This post is really nice! I like that its both casual and formal; it’s a good balance with really interesting pictures. The information is easily understood and I learned a lot of new stuff. Your writing style is effective because it draws the reader in and it’s very creative and relatable, but at the same time it’s serious and tells important information. I think you should add some space or a blank line between “how could this be happening in the desert?” And “the answer is climate change” to make the paragraphs more equal in size. Other than that, great job!!

  2. This blog is very informative and yet very scary to read at the same time. You really explained how serious flooding is and can be if the climate continues to change so drastically. I loved the pictures. They really aided your post. I appreciate of the little extra warning to stay out of ditches and arroyos. You can never say that too many times.

  3. Images are captivating, but don’t forget the captions that should accompany them to explain what they represent. Always define acronyms “AMAFCA” stands for? For those not familiar with La Llorona, you must explain. You switch third person to first person – be consistent. How is a flash flood defined? It seems obvious but it is not. It is important to include a comparision of rainfall rates in years past to the current situation. Explain why flash flooding occurs in a desert like ours. Lots of detail missing. You err on the side of too concise. GOod inclusion of the graph – very informative.

  4. Nice job! I agree with Ms. Beamish in that a bit more detail could have improved it, but I really enjoy your writing style. It’s very personal while still remaining informational. My only complaint (though this may be just personal preference) is that the pictures are too big. The pictures take up more space than the writing does, so unless you really wanted us to focus on the pictures, I would recommend that you scale them down.

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