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Clean Up Follows Powerful Albuquerque Storm

July 27, 2013
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Doppler Radar

Doppler Radar

Doppler Radar

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Residents cleaned up Saturday and authorities worked to fix traffic lights and restore power to thousands after a storm swept through the Albuquerque area, bringing heavy rain and strong winds to a region plagued by extreme drought.

Emergency management officials urged residents to avoid major roadways as workers battle the aftermath of floods and downed trees and utility lines.

Authorities said most of the water that created havoc on streets had receded Saturday and street signs or police officers had been placed at more than two dozen intersections to handle malfunctioning traffic signals. Officials said the storm also caused minor damage to a levy.

"Right now we need time to restore basic services," Director of Emergency Management Roger Ebner said in a statement. "The best thing the public can do is to stay home, relax and enjoy their weekend while crews work to restore power, clean the roadways and assist motorists."

(MORE: Rain Swamps Oklahoma City Metro)

Police said that traffic control officers or street signs were at more than two dozen intersections to handle malfunctioning traffic signals.

PNM reported that about 28,000 customers were without power at the peak of the storm.

The company said it was working to restore power but some customers could be without it into Saturday.

The storm, which ripped through Albuquerque shortly after 7 p.m., also downed power lines on Interstate 25 near Gibson, forcing a temporary closure of the freeway.

At the same time, a traffic collision at Interstate 40 and Coors prompted police to close east bound traffic until early Saturday, police said.

Officials said crews were called to assess a levy at Tingley and Alcalde and determined that there was no severe damage. The officials said that the conservatory district reduced all water flows to levies to ensure they would not be compromised.

(MORE: The New Dry Season)

Meanwhile, city officials said the ABQ BioPark Zoo would be closed Saturday as crews worked to clean tree limbs and other debris. Officials said the area suffered serious flooding and no major damaged was reported. No animals also were reported injured.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that winds gusts of nearly 90 mph blew past the Albuquerque International Sunport.

An inch of rain fell at the Sunport, and northeastern parts of the city also saw between 1.6 and 1.8 inches of rain, according to preliminary reports.

Mark Summerlin, 24, was driving his parents' Buick sedan west on Central Avenue under the Downtown bridge, which had flooded, when his car stalled. He sat in his vehicle as water levels rose, and continued rising, to above the center console.

"It started getting higher, so then I called 911," Summerlin told the Journal.

An Albuquerque firefighter hoisted Summerlin onto his shoulders and walked out from under the bridge as waters reached to above chest.

MORE: Billion Dollar Disasters

Queens, N.Y.

Queens, N.Y.

The Associated Press

This aerial photo shows burned-out homes in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough New York after a fire on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

  • Queens, N.Y.
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