Ruidoso Flood News Reports

Senator Pete Domenici
Senator Pete Domenmici announces USDA flood disaster relief sought

Ruidoso News
Ruidoso News

KQRE channel 13
KQRE Channel 13

KOAT Channel 7

LNFS release

SBA Disaster Role

Ruidoso Flood Other Links

Rio Ruidoso Stream Flow - Upper Canyon (broken)

Rio Ruidoso Stream Flow - Hollywood

USGS - Water

Lincoln County

Village of Ruidoso

The Ruidoso Flood 2008 Story

Ruidoso, NM -- The day dawned on Sunday July 28, a little cloudy and cool, after a night and a day of rain from the remnants of Hurricane Dolly. The total amount of rainfall around the Ruidoso area ranged from five to seven inches. By no means a record but still a significant amount of rainfall.

The peak flow measured at the Hollywood Station registered 1630 cubic feet per second (cfs). This was the second highest amount recorded at this gauge since records have been kept starting in 1954. Other significant water flow amounts that have been recorded are in the table below. (source USGS)

Year Date Gage Height
1957 Jul. 26 7.80 1,070
1965 Jun. 17 9.05 1,340
1978 Dec. 19 8.63 1,570
1984 Aug. 11 9.68 2,120
1984 Dec. 20 5.60 1,400
2006 Sep. 04 4.76 739
2008 Jul. 27 12.08 1630

1941 flood in Ruidoso courtesy Herb Brunnell
1941 flood - Carrizo Creek
and the Rio Ruidoso.

Other documented cases of flooding in the area, through eye witnesses, photos, or writings include: the flood of 1869, 1930's, and the "big one" of 1941. The following link leads to the Proceedings of Meeting of New Mexico Flood Control Association Council Chamber, City Hall, Santa Fe, New Mexico October 30, 1941

Most of the year, the Rio Ruidoso is a tiny creek meandering though town. However, with just a little rain it can quickly become a torrent roiling and boiling through town. It is interesting to note that on Sept. 4, 2006, the gage height was almost 5 feet with a streamflow of only 739 cfs.  This is much less water then some of of the other floods over the past 50 years. 


Rivers Edge condos copyright 08 Mark Doth
Rio Ruidoso condo development - 7-27-08

The 08 flood damage has been exacerbated by the continued development along the Rio Ruidoso. Well meaning people have straightened several areas along its course while others, including developers, have squeezed its path with retaining walls and encroachment.

What the development along the river has effectively done has been to focus the river like a laser, increasing its force and intensity along its path. Where there was a bridge or path across the river it was basically taken out during the flood. Culverts were blasted out the ground like playthings. Concrete and asphalt were pulverized into sand. Man's efforts are sometimes no match for the force and fury of Mother Nature.

Eagle Drive copyright 08 Mark Doth
Eagle Drive - 7-27-08

What this website will attempt to do is: 1) serve as a record of what has happened and 2) educate people to the destructive force of the Rio Ruidoso during a flood.

Too often we hear people say that they did not know that the river could get so big or do so much damage. Too many times we have heard developers disregard local's testimony in Planning and Zoning meetings about what they have seen historically happen along the river.

We hope then that this site will help people understand why they shouldn't build their "cute" little cabin or house along the river or erect a mobile home park in a flood plain. The river will always flow along the path of least resistance. It may be through your living room.



Due to flood related damage the Lincoln National Forest will close various areas. Click here for a release.

Watershed Description and Location

The Hondo Valley watershed, also known as the Rio Hondo Watershed, is a sub-basin of the Lower Pecos and is located in South-Central New Mexico. It is bordered by the Sacramento Mountains on the west, the Capitan Mountains on the North, and Pajarita Mountain on the south. As shown in the map below, 55% of the watershed is in Lincoln County, 12% is in the highlands of Otero County, and the remaining 33% is in downstream Chavez County.  The Hondo Valley watershed drains its 1,076,480 acres (1,674 square miles) into the Pecos River near Roswell, New Mexico.