Flash flooding causes damage, prompts Eddy Co. evacuations

EDDY COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Crews spent Monday afternoon surveying flood damage in southeastern New Mexico after days and days of rain. Emergency managers said water flows are slowing, but they are warning residents to be on alert.

Residents living in about 100 homes in this neighborhood were asked to voluntarily evacuate Sunday night. County emergency managers are not sure if any of the nearby homes actually flooded, however the Dark Canyon arroyo through Carlsbad that is normally dry was running high and fast. A wall of water took away a 150-foot chunk out of a bridge overnight. Resident’s said the city just finished building the bridge six months ago.

“It’s something that I never expected to see, although it happened last year but not as bad as now,” Dick Isadoke said.

NORTHERN RAINS

Northern New Mexico was also hit hard by a lot of rain.

Officials in the Village of Cimarron say they’re getting reports of between 5-10 inches of rain overnight and they’re in the process of declaring an emergency.

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City employees think the road is fine, but they are going to keep it closed until an engineer looks at it. They hope they can get it reopened sometime Tuesday.

On the north end of Carlsbad there was another similar style bridge over a canal. A chunk of the bridge on Callaway Drive is now uneven and almost looks twisted. The bridge is also closed indefinitely because it’s so badly damaged.

Carlsbad Public Works employees checked out the damage to both bridges Monday, but they’re not sure what it will take to repair them. With so many people out trying to get a look, they are worried they’re ignoring road closures

“When we post them is for people to actually stop, not drive through because you get caught in one of these, you don’t know how deep the road is, people drive through it’s a low water crossing and they could get in trouble,” Orlando Villegas with Carlsbad Public Works said.

The Eddy County emergency manager said they have rescued several people out of cars over the last three days. They also asked people to voluntarily evacuate homes near the Bataan Recreation Area Sunday night.

Lionel Granger and his family left their home near the Pecos River Sunday night because of the water.

“I looked out my front door and water was about 10 feet behind the road closed sign, and as we’re loading stuff up within 20 minutes, it was already in my front yard, a couple inches deep” Granger said.

Granger said the water didn’t get to his home and other neighbors said they didn’t have flooding damage, either.

Classes were canceled in Carlsbad Monday and it’s not clear if it’ll be back on Tuesday.

Eddy County emergency managers said their Emergency Operations Center is still running and will continue Monday night. Workers say they’re preparing for a chance of more heavy rain. Eddy County officials say some areas have seen has much as 7 inches of rain in an hour over the weekend.

The evacuation center is still open at the Carlsbad High School at 3000 W. Church Street in Carlsbad.

Officials are asking residents to report anyone who may be stranded or need assistance to the Regional Emergency Dispatch Authority at 575-616-7155. Residents needed Red Cross assistance can contact 1-800-560-2302.

The rain has also issued a precautionary boil water advisory for water systems along the Pecos River in Eddy County. Wwater systems in the area have been affected in various ways by the flooding.

If customers of water systems in this area notice a color change or significant change in water pressure they are advised to seek an alternate source of drinking water, such as bottled water, or boil the water for five minutes before drinking, cooking, and dishwashing. This is a precautionary advisory only: no contamination has been detected in the drinking water systems at this time. Customers of water systems in the area are encouraged to contact their individual water systems for updates on the status of their water systems.

The NMED Drinking Water Bureau will continue to monitor the situation as well as provide technical assistance to the water systems in the affected area.

Sandbags can be obtained at five locations including the Old Loving Police Department at 5th Street and Cedar; Atoka Fire Station at 2511 S. and 13th Street; the Road Department at 410 E. Derrick Road; the Hope Fire Station at 609 Main Street; and La Huerta Fire Station at 1724 Muscatel.

A Joint Information Center Phone Team has been established for the public to call if they have questions or need additional information about the events occurring in Eddy County. Those numbers are:575-652-5507; 575-652-5001; 575-652-5000; and 575-652-5512.

County road closures:

  • White City Road
  • Longhorn Road at Pecos River
  • Black River Village OPEN from El Paso Highway to Old Cavern
  • John D Forehand at the river
  • Dark Canyon
  • Higby Hole at river
  • McDonald Road at river
  • Dogtown
  • Harroun Road at bridge
  • Washington Ranch at Black River
  • Onsurez
  • Ogden
  • Bolton
  • Trails End
  • Armstrong
  • Crossbuck
  • Lake Road
  • Lakewood
  • Marquez
  • Jones
  • Firehouse
  • Fanning
  • Bittersweet
  • Joy Road
  • Flat Valley

 Carlsbad Road Closure:

  • Boyd Drive at Radio Blvd
  • Lower Tansill at the low water crossing below the Lower Dam
  • State Road 137

For a complete look at all roads in New Mexico closed due to weather or other hazardous driving conditions, please visit NMRoads.com
Carlsbad Caverns remain closed.

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