SANTA FE — Today, Gov. Susana Martinez directed the activation of the New Mexico Emergency Operations Center to assist in the coordinated response to flooding across the state and in preparation for possible severe storms entering New Mexico relating to Tropical Storm Newton.
Several of the affected southern counties have already been hit with heavy monsoonal rain over the past two weeks. The remnants of Newton began hitting our southwestern counties this morning with the heaviest rains forecasted for this evening in Catron and Sierra Counties. The storms are expected to exit New Mexico early Friday morning.
“As remnants of Tropical Storm Newton continue to bring heavy rains and flooding throughout the southern half of the state with more severe storms expected over the next 24 to 36 hours, I’ve activated the Emergency Operations Center to monitor the situation and assist in response as needed,” Martinez said. “Our emergency response professionals will continue to communicate and work with local partners in areas that have been affected by monsoon flooding to help ensure that all available resources can be coordinated to keep New Mexicans safe.”
The Governor has directed the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation, New Mexico Department of Human Services, and the New Mexico Department of Health to monitor and assist in response as needed.
The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is working with the New Mexico National Guard and local officials in affected areas to prepare for further flooding. This includes availability of additional sandbags, coordinating public announcements, clearing drainage systems, coordination of road closures and additional warning signage, and the availability of high clearance vehicles should they be needed.
The Department continues to work closely with the National Weather Service to coordinate advance warning of potential flooding in areas around the state. The area around the Whitewater Baldy burn scar is of high concern and the National Weather Service will continue to closely monitor the additional sensors that were placed following the fire in order to provide improved advance warning and alerts. The Red Cross has also been contacted for possible additional support and resources.
During a flood, individuals should be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move. Do not enter into or attempt to cross flood waters.