Roswell rain washes out roads, engulfs homes, sinks graves

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Wild thunderstorms ripped through the state this weekend dropping more than four inches of rain in the southeast.

One of the places hit the hardest was Roswell.

Rain fell so hard and so fast there, flood waters washed out roads, engulfed homes and even sunk graves.

It was something residents say they haven’t seen since the 1960s.

“It was just a lot of water, a lot of water,” said Martha Navarrette.

There was so much water playgrounds became small ponds, bridges were nothing but floating rocks and streets looked more like fishing holes than roads.

“It was plain water, no grass, no nothing. Just water up to the highway,” said Navarrette.

Roswell got about 4.5 inches of rain on Saturday. That’s more rain than the city has ever seen in one day and it’s also a third of the total rainfall the city typically sees each year.

Navarrette says water poured into her home destroying just about everything in its path.

“I saw the water coming in. I tried picking it up with a bucket and a bowl, but I said, ‘What am I doing? It’s coming higher and higher,’ ” she said.

The heavy rain kept coming higher and higher at the local cemetery, too, tearing up grave after grave.

“It’s an awful thing to come to the cemetery and look at this,” said Evelyn Baca, whose brother passed away just five months ago.

“You can literally almost see his casket,” she said. “It’s almost like reliving the funeral all over again.”

Baca’s brother’s grave wasn’t the only one damaged. Dozens were.

“I don’t think anyone wants to come and see their loved ones unburied,” said Patricia Chavez.

Flood waters also washed out the main entrance to Bottomless Lakes State Park leaving two massive holes in the pavement and broken tree branches scattered about.

Despite the damage, residents say they’re thankful for the moisture.

Next time they’re just hoping it’s a little more spread out.

“Pray and pray to God that he don’t send us so much at one time,” said Navarrette.

Cemetery workers say they’re waiting for the ground to dry before they start filling in the sunken graves. They say it could be a week or two before each of them are fixed.

As for Bottomless Lakes, it’s still open to the public, just the main entrance is closed.

Officials say people must take the Dexter route to get there. They’re not sure when the Roswell entrance will open back up.

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