Doña Ana County

LA COMISIÓN DE INUNDACIONES DEL CONDADO AGREGA SIETE ESTACIONES DE TIEMPO DEL SISTEMA DE ADVERTENCIA DE INUNDACIONES LA COMISIÓN DE INUNDACIONES DEL CONDADO AGREGA SIETE ESTACIONES DE TIEMPO DEL SISTEMA DE ADVERTENCIA DE INUNDACIONES

LA COMISIÓN DE INUNDACIONES DEL CONDADO AGREGA SIETE ESTACIONES DE TIEMPO DEL SISTEMA DE ADVERTENCIA DE INUNDACIONES LA COMISIÓN DE INUNDACIONES DEL CONDADO AGREGA SIETE ESTACIONES DE TIEMPO DEL SISTEMA DE ADVERTENCIA DE INUNDACIONES

The Doña Ana County Flood Commission recently installed seven new stations bringing the total number staff operates to 29, expanding the County’s Flood Warning System by 24 percent.

The new automated weather and rainfall stations were installed at the Butterfield Trail Ranch, Chaparral Fire Station, Rincon Fire Station, Radium Springs, Lower Bilbo, West Mesa Cothern and the Williams Family Ranch, near Chamberino.  All 29 stations collect a variety of data and continuously report rainfall depth, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, over a radio network, via repeaters at Caballo Peak, A mountain and in Chaparral, to a central base station at the Government Center.

Altogether, the Doña Ana County Flood Warning System is a network of 68 automated weather monitoring stations, rain gauges, pressure transducers and stream gauges that provide weather alerts and enable warning notifications throughout the state’s southwest region. The system is a collaborative project between the Doña Ana County Flood Commission, City of Las Cruces, Elephant Butte Irrigation District, EBID, New Mexico State University, NMSU the National Weather Service, the Las Cruces and Santa Teresa Airports, along with other organizations.

Installing the new stations is part of the ALERT2 Flood Warning System defined in the Flood Warning System Master Plan, which was implemented in 2013. A disaster-mitigation grant from the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, DHSEM funded the $60,000 investment.

“As we continue to equip our Flood Warning System with more monitoring stations, we will be more effectively able to prepare for and respond to seasonal weather events that cause damage to County infrastructure and pose threats to residents’ well-being.” said Michael Garza, Flood Engineer with the Doña Ana County Flood Commission. “If we expect a large storm to occur in a particular area, we have the ability to warn residents who may be impacted by flash flooding or hazardous driving conditions so they can prepare, adjust or even evacuate.”

The Flood Commission team includes two staff members devoted to the operation and maintenance of the Flood Warning System.  They diligently monitor equipment readings to ensure the stations transmit accurate information and look for oddities or deficiencies to determine if the equipment is functioning properly or needs maintenance, Garza said.

“Our long-term plan is to continue increasing the efficiency of the system by adding more stations, continuously improving functional capabilities and ultimately, making people aware of the information we collect,” Garza said.  “We would like to add stream gauges inside major waterways to measure depth and velocity of flow, while also setting triggers for automatic emergency notification when flow characteristics reach potentially dangerous levels.”

These notifications would enable Flood Commission staff to warn of hazardous areas such as low water-crossings or areas known to have a high-risk of flooding. “Most importantly, they can help us keep residents informed and safe, countywide.  Our Flood Warning System is well on its way to helping us reach that goal,” Garza said.

Weather and rainfall data collected by the flood warning system is available at weather.donaanacounty.org.  Operators, researchers and residents can access real-time weather and rainfall data from across Southern New Mexico in a variety of formats, including graphical overlays which provide data points and can be can be useful when looking at forecast elements, such as rain amount and comparing it to a particular terrain.

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