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Several years ago, Kansas City rock band The Rainmakers wrote a song about drought called "Dry Dry Land." The following year, the rains came in force and flooded much of Missouri and eastern Kansas. I remember hearing singer Bob Walkenhorst commenting during a show that summer that it was nice to know God had heard their plea, but enough is enough.

The memories of that year of flooding came back to me this week with the reports of rising water throughout northern New Mexico.

We've been in a serious drought situation down here since before I moved to Albuquerque in July 1994. The most visible result of the dry conditions — at least to other parts of the country — have been our numerous large wildfires (it was five years ago last week when the Cerro Grande Fire wiped out much of the town and government facilities of Los Alamos). Admittedly, the last couple of years have seen less of the huge fires than previous summers but that's mostly due to better/more stringent prevention measures than a lack of dry tinder.

But the last six months or so have seen quite a bit of moisture throughout the state — not enough to end the drought by any means, and causing new problems.

Writing from an Albuquerque perspective it has been an odd weather year so far. We received our first snowfalls in early October — not odd by any means — setting up an alternating pattern of cold and warm weather. One day it would be sunny with temperatures in the 50s or 60s. The very next day would see blizzard-like conditions in the city of Albuquerque. And that snow would stick (a real rarity in the Rio Grande Valley). We definitely saw more accumulated snowfall in the city than in the previous 10 years I've lived here.

The rains came in January and February — so much that we broke precipitation records that had stood since the American Civil War! Also broken (or at least weakened) were numerous acequias (complicated drainage canals dating from the Spanish colonial days), dikes, and levees — not to mention road surfaces with large sinkholes appearing on a number of major thoroughfares. One rainstorm in April earned the city to be declared a Federal disaster area (which probably didn't make the national news but which garnered us Federal funds to conduct repairs with).

March, April, and early May saw several other alternating snow/sun weather patterns — Raton Pass was actually closed to all traffic because of a freak blizzard at the beginning of this month. All this time, the local media warned us that the drought definitely wasn't over (and we've seen numerous small brush fires and a couple of larger forest fires since March).

For the past two weeks, we have seen lots of sun and very high temperatures. I think it's been in the mid-90's every day of the past ten here in Albuquerque. It's been even hotter down south (Carlsbad reached 110° yesterday). I don't mind the heat (it's a "dry" heat, afterall), but it has caused some severe problems.

Most years, the snowpack in the northern mountains melts gradually over a long period of time — some mountains such as Wheeler Peak have snow all year around. This year, with record snowpack amounts (even Sandia Peak had over 30 inches as recently as two weeks ago) and sooner-than-expected sustained high temperatures, all of that snow has melted practically all at once. All of this runoff is creating havoc for numerous small communities (and a few larger ones) throughout southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.

The Pecos River near Taos seems to have the worst flooding so far. Other creeks and rivers nearby are also running over capacity. And the Rio Grande has more water than I've ever seen it (in recent years, the great river through Albuquerque has consisted of dry sandbars punctuated with a few small pools of standing water). There was a report on the news last night saying that the water is so high here that even the Open Space Police can't effectively use their fancy high-tech hydrofoil because the clearance under the cross-river bridges isn't high enough!

No one is sure when these rivers and creeks will crest, or at what level.

I'm particularly worried about how this flooding will change the shape of northern New Mexico. There are many old Spanish and Mexican villages (and a few dating back to the American trappers of the 1850s and the hippie communes of the 1960s) that look to receive quite a bit of damage from the flooding. The water is running so fast and so high that a number of the rafting companies that look to tourism during this time of year are having to cancel expeditions out of safety concerns. The economy has already been hit hard by the drought, now to receive too much of a good thing seems a severe slap in the face. One of my favorite eateries in the state — Embudo Station (formerly a waystation on El Camino Real) — is close to being flooded.

I'm sure all of this inundation running through the waterways of New Mexico will destroy already severely eroded banks and other land features. It will cost the state untold millions to repair those that need to be repaied. We may even see the Rio Grande change course once again in several spots.

I do like seeing water rushing through those mountain creeks but this really is too much of a good thing. As Bob once said onstage, enough is enough.