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Storms in Ruidoso add to destruction as wildfires rage, crews prepared for more concerning weather

RUIDOSO, New Mexico (KVIA) -- Wednesday's rains in Ruidoso caused flooding that took out trees, power lines and even a trailer park in Ruidoso Downs.

Officials said within a little over 30 minutes, the area got about 15 hundredths of an inch of rain. While that may not sound like a lot, officials said it caused flash flooding through Gavilan Canyon. They said the wall of water reached three feet.

However, officials also said the impacts of Wednesday's weather weren't all bad.

"I have to say, we got both sides, because at the same time it doused some of our hot spots in the fire," said Michael Scales, the Emergency Management Specialist for Lincoln County's Office of Emergency Management, which covers Ruidoso.

"A little bit (of rain) is always really nice to have. If you get a whole lot at one time, that causes some grief," said Scales.

Wednesday's grief was mostly caused by the fires and flooding, but officials said there were other elements causing concern as well.

Scales said that a house was struck by lightning Wednesday, with the family still inside. He said no one was hurt, and while fuses blew, it did not cause another fire. But he said it serves as a reminder of how quickly things can change.

"While we were watching the storm, we counted approximately 14 strikes from lightning in the area as well. That doesn't mean much today, but in the next few days, if it stays warm, those could be starts for new fires," Scales said.

Wind is also a concern, as it can blow the fire, potentially causing it to spread more. But Scales said that's another "double-edged sword" situation.

"If it blows back on the fire and blows the fire back on itself again, it doesn't expand. If it turns the other way around, and is blowing further down the road, it has some expansion capabilities. So again, everything's a positive or a minus, depending on how you want to look at it," said Scales.

Scales said crews are paying close attention to the forecasts in the coming days to help stay prepared.

The Southwest Area Incident Management Team #5 has a Facebook page, where they are providing detailed updates on weather and other important factors.

ABC-7's StormTrack Weather team will also continue to keep you updated on the weather in Ruidoso, and other related concerns as crews continue to battle the wildfires.

Article Topic Follows: Ruidoso Wildfires

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Kerry Mannix


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