ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Flash flooding carried a teenager on a 5-mile ride down a drainage channel before he was rescued, as the waters blocked roads, inundated homes and forced evacuations in parts of the Southwest.
More thunderstorms and heavy rain were likely Sunday in New Mexico, the National Weather Service said. More rain also was possible to the north in Colorado, where storms had already flooded homes and washed out roads.
A 15-year-old boy fell into a flooded diversion channel in Albuquerque on Saturday evening, and the turbulent current carried him miles, said Albuquerque fire inspector Gabe Serna. The boy had dropped his keys and slipped into the arroyo when he tried to retrieve them.
It took three attempts before rescue crews could pull him from the swift current, Serna said. He was treated for hypothermia and abrasions at a hospital.
"I don't know how many times we tell people, 'Do not play in the arroyo.' We always manage to get one that falls in," Serna said.
Thunderstorms dropped an estimated 3 inches of rain in an hour Saturday over Truth or Consequences and the surrounding area, south of Albuquerque, the weather service said.
Flooding washed out roads in Rio Rancho, just north of Albuquerque, and 4 feet of water covered an Interstate 25 exit in Socorro.
Colorado Gov. Bill Owens issued a disaster emergency order Saturday for Douglas County, southwest of Denver, where rain had washed out roads and flooded homes in areas stripped of vegetation by a 138,000-acre wildfire in 2002.
Residents of about a dozen Douglas County homes between Deckers and Westcreek were isolated by flooding Saturday. Several campgrounds were evacuated Friday, and occupants of 86 homes in the Westcreek area were urged to evacuate, local officials said.