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City Disaster History (In the 1980's)
Summer, 1980 Heat Wave. Record heat June through August with 25 days of 100° or more in metro area (prior record was 12 days). July average high was 99.1° !
Sep 17, 1980 Flash flood. Estimated 1.2" of rain washed out Golf Course Road and 23rd Street. Lesser damage elsewhere.
Feb 23, 1981 Rio Rancho officially becomes a City as residents approve incorporation.
Spring 1981 Census 1980 figures released; Rio Rancho population is reported as 11,600.
Summer 1982 Drought. Below normal rainfall January-June with no precipitation from May through July 6. (Note: This was followed by 26 days with rain between July 7 and September 30 including the two damaging flash floods noted below.)
Jul 29, 1982 Flash flood. Estimated 1.35" rain caused damage along Golf Course Road.
Sep 20, 1982 Flash flood. Estimated 1.73" rain caused damage along Lisbon Road and Tulip Road. A motorist was trapped in their automobile by flooding along the Lisbon Channel and had to be rescued.
Nov 9, 1982 Bomb explosion. A homemade bomb exploded near the Anchor Inn, Star Heights area. It left a crater 12" deep and 30" in diameter. No injuries or damage.
Dec 31, 1982 Major snowstorm hit the area. More snows in January and February 1983.
Feb 18, 1983 Civil disorder. Some 25 officers from Rio Rancho, Corrales, Bernalillo and the State Police raided a house party; 42 adults (18 years old and up) arrested and 78 juveniles (11-17 years old) taken into custody. Most charges related to underage drinking and serving alcohol to minors. Remains the largest civil incident in City history.
Nov 24, 1983 Aircraft crash. An ultra light aircraft crashed on the golf course; one injury
Nov 29, 1983 Major fire. A fire at the Sandoval County Landfill burned for two days; noxious smoke covered Rio Rancho due to northerly winds.
Feb 23, 1984 Wildfire. A fire in the bosque burned 45 acres in the area now known as Rivers Edge II.
Apr 25, 1984 Wind storm. Steady 40 MPH winds with gusts to 60 MPH uprooted trees, blew down fences, damaged roofs and storage buildings throughout the City; 3" of snow followed in the evening.
Jul 8, 1984 Power outage. Some 600 homes were without power for 3 ½ hours.
Nov 5, 1984 Multi-casualty incident. Head-on crash on Highway 528 just north of Southern Boulevard; 4 dead, 1 serious injury. Remains the most deadly accident in City history.
Mar 28, 1985 Wind storm/dust storm. Wind destroyed a mobile home, caused other damage. City Council met to discuss problems caused by blowing dust from construction areas.
Oct 8-9, 1985 Flash floods. Two days of heavy rains caused damage from 20th Street SE to 23rd Street SE; Golf Course Road closed until emergency repairs could be completed October 10th. Emergency work cost $30,000.
Aug 28, 1986 Explosion/fire. Natural gas line being worked on near Southern Boulevard and Sara Road. Gas flow was to have been turned off during welding operation; it wasn't. Two injured. Twenty-two firefighters responded; fire raged for many hours until PNM could shut the gas flow.
Oct 12, 1986 Major snowstorm. Early storm dropped 8" snow, paralyzed traffic.
Jan 16, 1987 Winter storm. The "Blizzard of ‘87" started January 16 and lasted through January 17. Snow and ice remained on the ground until a follow-on storm February 20.
Apr 1, 1988 Major snowstorm. The April Fool's Day storm dropped 11"-14" of snow throughout the area. Much tree damage by the heavy snow; rapid melting also caused problems in the following days. Largest single snowstorm in City history to date.
Jun 30, 1988 Flash flood. Heavy rains cut 6' deep channels along many roads in Star Heights.
Jul 1988 Flash flood. Heavy rains July 7 and July 8 caused damage along Southern Boulevard and throughout Unit 16. More rains July 18 caused damage along Highway 528 near Rivers Edge II. On July 29, more than 2" of rain fell in less than an hour. An estimated $500,000 damage resulted in Vista Hills and damage also occurred at Southern and Nicklaus. City responded to more than 100 calls during and immediately after the storm including several traffic accidents with injuries. (This incident initiated City action to join the FEMA Emergency Management Assistance Program which became official with City Council approval of the City Emergency Management Basic Plan on September 28, 1988.)
Sep 13, 1988 Flash flood. A major storm caused severe damage along Golf Course Road. In conjunction with the damage caused by the July flooding, the City received a State Declaration of Disaster and requested $400,000 in emergency aid. (Damage for the July-September storms impacted Albuquerque and Corrales as well. Problem areas included Blacks Arroyo, Barrancas Arroyo and Los Montoyas Arroyo. Besides the three individual communities, the State Highway Department, the Soil Conservation Service, the Albuquerque Flood Control Authority and Sandoval County contributed funds toward repairs and upgrades. A joint committee formed to address mutual issues led to the creation of Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority August 30, 1989.)
Feb 5, 1989 Winter storm. A snowstorm dropped 6" of snow; wind chills of -36 degrees exacerbated conditions.
Jul 3, 1989 Power outage. Power outages occurred at 8 AM, 10 AM and 2 PM. Most of the City was impacted by at least one outage.
Jul 24, 1989 Flash flood. A storm dropped 1" of rain in 45 minutes, causing flooding and damage along Nicklaus and Southern Boulevard. High temperatures for 4 consecutive days only reached the mid-60s.
Oct 5, 1989 Major fire. The Kindercare Learning Center burned. The 40 children and 5 staff evacuated safely. Some 50 firefighters responded to contain the blaze.
Dec 22, 1989 Power outage. The southern third of the City had no power for approximately 3 hours.

NOTE: Items in bold are more serious incidents based on number and severity of injuries or dollar value of property damage.