ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Heavy rain late Friday night caused problems throughout Albuquerque including some major flooding in the downtown area.
APD is discouraging travel downtown until the water subsides. Officials say the water has even lifted manholes, exposing holes which may be difficult to see.
The flooding started around 10:30 p.m. Much of it sent Albuquerque police officers and firefighters scrambling through the city trying to close roads and help stranded drivers.
“I think the whole city is getting pounded,” said Commander Jed Hyland with the Albuquerque Fire Department.
One of the areas that flooded the worst was the Central Avenue underpass beneath the railroad tracks between 1st Street and Broadway Boulevard.
At least three cars tried to drive through the high water there. In each case, the drivers abandoned their cars and climbed to safety.
“Two guys jumped out of the yellow Mustang or Camero I think it is, and we were trying to help them out but, it’s like a river,” said Edward Villa, a witnesses who saw it all happen while riding on a city bus.
Albuquerque Police shutdown the Central Avenue underpasses for several hours shortly after 11:00 p.m. High water there reached an estimated 7 to 9 feet above the roadway, which has a more than 13 foot clearance.
The water didn’t stop at the Central underpass either. A News 13 photographer saw water rushing into the Q Burger restaurant several blocks away on the corner of 3rd and Central.
In east downtown, Broadway Boulevard also saw a lot of problems not only with high water, but road damage.
Albuquerque Fire closed down Broadway at the intersections of Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard and Lomas because of the water. At MLK Jr., rain caused a major pothole to tear up a portion of the asphalt in the middle of the intersection.
At Broadway and Lomas, Albuquerque Fire closed the entire intersection after a nearby retaining pond on the northwest corner of the lot flooded.
“Frankly it looks like it just got overwhelmed, so the water came to the right place and there just wasn’t enough space to hold it,” said Hyland.
At least four cars were abandoned by drivers at the intersection when high water rushed in.
“A couple of them actually were completely covered all the way up to the hood of the car,” said Hyland.
AFD says no drivers were hurt, but several had to be pulled to safety from the flooded intersection.
“We had a pretty good coordinated response out here and luckily there weren’t any injuries.”
AFD says the storm was a major test for their crews.
“We haven’t seen conditions like this before,” said Hyland.
Lots of mud and debris washed on roads elsewhere in Albuquerque. West of downtown, manhole covers were bubbling over with flood waters in the Raynolds Addition neighborhood along Lead and Coal.
Up closer towards Nob Hill, the rain even brought down a tree near Coal and Walter in the Huning Highlands Neighborhood.
Drivers should be careful Saturday morning as mud and debris is expected to cover many roads, especially in the downtown area.