COUNTY, CITY, STATE CREWS IN ‘EMERGENCY MODE’ TO ASSESS FLOOD DAMAGE

COUNTY, CITY, STATE CREWS IN ‘EMERGENCY MODE’ TO ASSESS FLOOD DAMAGE

Heavy rains in the Las Cruces area early Thursday morning displaced mobile homes from their foundations and washed out roads in many parts of the East Mesa, forcing area emergency response crews to act quickly to save lives and property.

Sgt. Joel Cano of the Las Cruces Police Department has been designated the official public information officer regarding the flooding. Cano said 3.91 inches of rain were recorded in the early morning hours Thursday at a gauge near the town of Organ.

Runoff from the west face of the Organ Mountains, he said, has filled holding ponds to capacity and, in some cases, washed mobile homes off their foundations. He said a Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputy also rescued a 70-year-old woman who tried to cross a washed-out road in her car and was swept away by rushing waters.

Both Doña Ana County and City of Las Cruces road crews were mobilized in full force to make all marginal roads passable and to close dangerous roads until they could be made safe. Travel was discouraged in many other areas where large amounts of debris and silt in the roadway made navigation hazardous.

Cano said emergency crews have been warned that light rainfall could continue throughout the day, and that another powerful thunderstorm may be headed this way as early as 8 p.m. He said all local emergency personnel – as well as crews from Alamogordo, White Sands Missile Range and New Mexico State University – are being coordinated for fast response in the event more flooding occurs.

Since rains stopped at mid-morning, however, staffing levels have been correspondingly downgraded. Damage estimates are still being conducted.