Governor Declares State Of Emergency In Response To New Mexico’s Statewide Snow Storm

STATE News:

SANTA FE – Today, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez declared a State of Emergency in response to the massive statewide snow storm that continues to impact the entire state.

In some parts of New Mexico, more than 16 inches of snow has fallen with drifts as high as eight feet, making roads impassable in several counties. High winds and blowing snow have led to extremely dangerous and life-threatening conditions in multiple counties. In addition to declaring a state of emergency today, the Governor has directed all resources to help communities that have been impacted. 

“This is a dire situation, especially the eastern half of the state where the storm has hit hardest and continues to dump snow,” Martinez said. “We monitored the situation throughout the night and activated the National Guard to assist stranded motorists. We have a lot of resources on the ground to clear our roads, as well as conduct search and rescue operations. I ask New Mexicans to please stay off the roads until the conditions improve.”

Martinez continued, “Law enforcement and emergency response personnel will continue to work around the clock to find and rescue stranded motorists. I ask everyone to keep their fellow New Mexicans in their thoughts and prayers as the storm passes.”

Blizzard conditions are expected to continue east of I-25, with an additional six to 10 inches of snow expected across east central and southeast areas along and east of the Pecos River.

Martinez, law enforcement, and state emergency personnel are still pleading for absolutely no travel in the 18 hardest-hit counties until weather conditions improve. They are: Colfax, Union, Harding, Mora, San Miguel, Quay, Guadalupe, Torrance, De Baca, Roosevelt, Curry, Lincoln, Chavez, Lea, Eddy, Otero, Socorro, and Santa Fe counties.

In those counties, emergency personnel will actively try to keep people off roadways and in their homes. Driving is strongly discouraged throughout the rest of the state.

Saturday, Martinez announced that she put the New Mexico National Guard on standby to respond to the winter storm. In addition, the Governor ordered the Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to work closely together and prepare for the storm to ensure the safety of New Mexicans.

Homeland Security and Emergency Management is also assisting in communities that are heavily impacted by this storm. In addition, leadership continues to stay in contact with local emergency managers as this storm passes, and will continue to stay in contact as the storm leaves the state. The National Guard has units around the state and is responding where they are needed.

The Governor’s Executive Order, which declares a state of emergency, will enable counties to order and pay for additional resources needed to help with this crisis. The full text of the Governor’s executive order declaring a state of emergency is available below:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 2015-021 

DECLARING AN EMERGENCY THROUGHOUT NEW MEXICO DUE TO SEVERE WINTER STORMS AND FREEZING TEMPERATURES

WHEREAS, severe winter storms and freezing temperatures beginning December 26, 2015, have caused major disruption to public infrastructure and services which threatens the health, safety and welfare of communities throughout New Mexico;

WHEREAS, severe winter storms have caused extreme disruption to the high-traffic volume of the Interstate, U.S. and state highway systems; 

WHEREAS, severe winter storms have interrupted highway traffic throughout New Mexico having a direct impact on local and national commerce; 

WHEREAS, severe winter storms have caused a high demand for emergency shelters, emergency response agency staffing and resources for displaced persons statewide;

WHEREAS, severe winter storms have caused life threatening conditions to exist for travelers stranded by storm conditions throughout New Mexico; 

WHEREAS, this emergency is of such magnitude to be beyond local control and requires the resources of the State, such that, emergency funding must be in place, sufficient and available, to allow the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to respond quickly and efficiently to the immediate needs of communities throughout New Mexico in order to minimize economic or physical harm and to take the action necessary to protect the public health, safety, welfare and property.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Susana Martinez, Governor of the State of New Mexico, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the State of New Mexico do hereby declare a state of emergency to exist throughout New Mexico due to the effects of severe winter storms.

I DIRECT the Department of Finance and Administration to make available emergency financial resources in an amount up to but not to exceed seven hundred and fifty thousand ($750,000) to the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in accordance with NMSA 1978, Sections 12-11-23 through 12-11-25. The funds shall be expended for resources and services necessary to avoid and minimize economic or physical harm until the situation becomes stabilized and again under local self-support and control; on a temporary, emergency basis for lodging, sheltering, health care, food, any transportation or shipping necessary to protect lives or public property; or for any other action necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare and property. The funds shall be paid out upon warrants drawn by the Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration upon vouchers approved by the Governor or the Governor’s Authorized Representative.

I FURTHER DIRECT the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to coordinate all requests for assistance and responses to such requests under the authority of and as determined by the Governor and her Authorized Representative and to request such aid and assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as may be appropriate. In addition to such other eligibility criteria as may be established by the Governor and her Authorized Representative, applicants requesting financial assistance from the State for necessary action taken in response to the emergency shall be required to demonstrate that the cost of the necessary action exceeds their available resources, as determined based upon criteria developed in conjunction with the State agencies (if any) with financial and budgetary oversight responsibilities for the applicant.

I FURTHER DIRECT the Adjutant General to order into service any elements of the New Mexico National Guard as are or may be needed to provide military support to civil authorities as needed for this emergency. This action is pursuant to and in accordance with NMSA 1978, Sections 20-1-1 through 20-1-8, NMSA 1978, Sections 20-2-1 through 20-2-8, and NMSA 1978, Sections 20-4-1 through 20-4-14. Such emergency assistance shall be provided during the period of need at the discretion of the Governor’s Authorized Representative.

I FURTHER DIRECT all Cabinet Departments and agencies of the State of New Mexico under gubernatorial control to provide any assistance that may be required by the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management or by the State Emergency Operations Center under the authority of the Governor’s Authorized Representative.

THIS ORDER supersedes any other previous orders, proclamations, or directives in conflict. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect until such time as the Governor rescinds it.

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