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Ruidoso braces for more flooding as storms continue

Lincoln County's Mobile Command Unit sits outside of the Ruidoso Convention Center as rain continues to hit the area.
Courtney Hill
Lincoln County's Mobile Command Unit sits outside of the Ruidoso Convention Center as rain continues to hit the area.

The village of Ruidoso has been hit with multiple flash floods since the two wildfires that blazed through the area burned over 25,000 acres of the Lincoln National Forest last month. The flooding, exacerbated by the burns scars, has hampered recovery efforts for the town, and has prompted evacuations and water rescues.

According to Michael Scales, Emergency Management Specialist for Lincoln County, the persistent monsoon rain has posed a major challenge to the town’s infastructure.

“We had quite a bit of water come down in about a 45 minute time period. When it came through town it blew out at least one bridge in the upper canyon and damaged a couple of others. So we have quite a bit of debris that we’ve been cleaning up,” he said. “The folks that are residents in the upper canyon, we got the roads cleaned up overnight. They were given from [6 a.m.] to 9:30 a.m. to get any kind of medications or other valuables they wanted and get out of the canyon before it begins raining again.”

Scales confirmed that there were water rescues on Tuesday, although an official number wasn’t given, and said that water rescue teams are preparing for more flooding in the coming hours and days.

“FEMA still has three teams in the area. They’re still here with their crews, and every day when the storms start coming in, they strategically place themselves throughout the county area that is flooding. So we try and have fast responses to the areas that may have folks trapped in.”

Scales said that residents need to heed evacuation orders as officials are expecting heavy rainfall to hit the area before the storms subside.

Jonny Coker is a Multimedia Journalist for KRWG Public Media. He has lived in Southern New Mexico for most of his life, growing up in the small Village of Cloudcroft, and earning a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at New Mexico State University.
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