Vehicles are swept away by a river of water on a Nogales street Tuesday. Vehicles are swept away by a river of water on a Nogales street Tuesday.

Heavy rains bring severe flooding to Nogales, Sonora

One woman died and a border crossing was forced to close

Severe flooding left one person dead and caused extensive material damage Tuesday in Nogales, Sonora.

Sharon Denisse Ahumada Salazar, 24, was driving in the center of the border town at around 3 p.m. when her car broke down and the force of the passing current left her trapped. She managed to phone her partner, but communication was lost, and her vehicle rolled over shortly after.

Ahumada had recently graduated from the Technological Institute of Nogales with a degree in civil engineering.

The current carried away a large number of vehicles, flooded houses, and knocked down fences, trees and power lines. Flooding at the pedestrian border crossing forced its closure and prevented United States arrivals from entering the country.

The National Water Commission (Conagua) reported 71 millimeters of rainfall from 7 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. The most damaging downpour only lasted a few minutes, according to reports by El Universal.

Videos posted on social media showed the force of the current, comparable to that of a river, sweeping away large vehicles and a fast food stand.

Governor elect Alfonso Durazo shared images of the flooding on Twitter, and urged residents to take precautions, stay under shelter and follow instructions of Civil Protection authorities.

Mayor Jesús Pujol Irastorza said the rain was welcome due to the long drought suffered by Sonora. “The rain is good news for #Nogales,” he said, adding that precautions were necessary. “Prevent accidents by avoiding risk areas, take care of yourself and your family,” he said.

The local government offered their condolences to the victim’s family. “The city government sends sincere condolences to the Ahumada Salazar family for the unfortunate accident that happened this afternoon, in which Sharon Denisse lost her life … all the institutional support that the family requires is available in these terrible moments that they are going through,” read a statement on Facebook.

Conagua’s most recent drought monitoring report, published on July 19, revealed Sonora and neighboring Chihuahua to be the only two states suffering from exceptional drought, the highest grade. Exceptional drought was affecting 13.1% of Sonora’s territory and 1.1% of Chihuahua’s.

In Sonora, 97.2% of municipalities were still affected by drought of some form at the time of the report’s publication.

Drought hit the country at the middle of last year and affected more than 80% of its territory, with Sonora one of the worst affected states.

With reports from ADN 40, Infobae, El Universal and Milenio

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