Eddy County Commission approves flood declaration after damaging rains
Carlsbad Current-Argus (NM)
The Eddy County Board of County Commissioners approved a local flooding disaster declaration on Tuesday.
Last week heavy rains flooded parts of Carlsbad and southern Eddy County as strong runoff from the Guadalupe Mountains filled arroyos and water crossings causing extensive damage to county properties.
County Commission Chairperson Steve McCutcheon said the declaration allowed Eddy County to request federal and state funds.
Eddy County Manager Allen Davis said the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) was aware of the county’s situation after last week’s disaster.
“It’s simply an insurance policy," he said. Davis said receipt of federal and state did not obligate the County to undertake any project.
Eddy County Emergency Manager Jennifer Armendariz said flood waters carried away asphalt from some county roads and damaged culverts.
She said members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) got a firsthand look this week at the damage caused by the floods.
More: Sitting Bull Falls damaged by floods, closed to public
Eddy County Public Works Director Jason Burns spent Wednesday touring impacted flooded areas.
He said roadwork undertaken by Eddy County 18 months ago paid off.
"The damage was less than anticipated," he said.
Burns said some low water crossings washed out and needed repairs.
He could not estimate the cost of damages sustained by infrastructure impacted in the floods.
Though Eddy County experienced precipitation on Monday and Tuesday, Armendariz said a predicted dry spell through Saturday would allow her to catch "up with office duties.”
“The break in the rain is a little nice,” Armendariz said.
June 29, Eddy County activated the Emergency Operations Center responding to emergencies which resulted from the rainfall and flooding.
“The water is still running. So, we haven’t been able to get a true look at what the damages are,” Davis said.
He added once assessments are complete County personnel would go through the data, make a plan to repair the damage and report to commissioners.
Floods prompted evacuations in the City of Carlsbad and Eddy County last week. John Paul Koch of Carlsbad died June 29 when he drove past a barricade on Radio Boulevard and was swept away in Dark Canyon Arroyo.
High water and intense floods prevented a rescue by emergency personnel. His body was recovered on June 30.
More: Heavy rains hit Eddy County
“There have been a dozen rescues at a minimum. They (people) don’t appreciate the force that, that water has on their vehicle and what it can do. Physics are incredible [sic]," Davis said.
City of Carlsbad administrators were expected to discuss options for repairs with engineers and disaster experts.
"Which we will evaluate in order to make an informed decision on damages and our response," said City of Carlsbad Deputy City Administrator KC Cass.
Cass said the San Jose low-water crossing sustained some damage, but the roadway was reopened to traffic.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said the low-water crossing on Callaway Drive sustained structural damage as crews from the City and Eddy County worked to clean up debris which collected in the area.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Carlsbad Current-Argus: Eddy County Commission approves flood declaration after damaging rains
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