According to a press release from the Gila National Forest Office, officials are currently cleaning up and re-establishing basic services to residents in and around the communities of Glenwood, Mogollon, and Alma. These areas of Whitewater Creek, Silver Creek, and Mineral Creek were among many in the state that flooded during this past week of heavy rains. Much of Catron County received over 8 inches of rain in the past week. Waters flooded homes and businesses and wreaked havoc on area roads.
Work continues in Glenwood and the Whitewater Creek area as the NMDOT and private bulldozer operators clear out debris in the channels in case the area, still devastated by last year’s Whitewater Baldy Fire, should receive additional rainfall. Two motels are among flood-damaged buildings, and several houses remain in jeopardy of bank erosion. The New Mexico Game and Fish Hatchery is also being threatened, and the department has mobilized equipment to build up the dike separating the hatchery from Whitewater Creek.
Highway 159 in Mogollon where it enters Deadwood Canyon has been totally destroyed, according to the news release. The best available estimate is that the initial ATV/4 wheel drive road access will be established by late today. Search and Rescue operations are still underway for one person still missing for Mogollon, who was last seen moving his vehicle to higher ground in case the Silver Creek flooded.
Crews have re=established the main road up to Mineral Creek, but 22 residents of the Alma area are still unable to get out of the upper part of the canyon. Multiple homes received minor flood damage, and several remain in an immediate danger zone. Power and phone lines that were damaged have been repaired.
The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security, Catron County, New Mexico State Forestrym USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, the State Police, the NMDOT, and the US Forest Service all have representatives set up at the incident command post at the Blue Front Cafe in Glenwood. The Type 3 Incident Management team from Santa Fe has been cancelled, and the Red Cross closed the emergency shelter at the Glenwood Elementary School this morning. Workers are either on scene or en-route to start clearing debris from roads and bridges and begin reparations of dikes as needed.
For more information, contact the Gila National Forest Office or view images of the flood and aftermath at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gilaforest/sets/