Courtesy Photo of Mineral Creek, whose channel was less than 50 FEET wide in most places before the flood.
Alan Beaty – Incident Commander
Lorenzo Espinoza -DHSEM Liaison
Bucky Allred - County Commissioner District #3
Cathlyn Snider – County Manager
Doug Boykin – Public Information
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Catron County Flood Response
In response to flooding brought on by a week of intense rains, officials are in the process of cleaning up and re-establishing basic services to residents along several drainages in and around the communities of Glenwood (Whitewater Creek), Mogollon ( Silver Creek) and Alma (Mineral Creek). While most of the county received over 8 inches of rain in the last 7 days, the area around Glenwood was the most effected by the devastating floods, where waters breached levees, flooded homes and businesses and destroyed a portion of NM 159 into the mountain community of Mogollon, leaving 13 residents stranded, but they do not want to leave. Access has been made to the 22 residents who are stranded in Mineral Creek. None of these stranded residents are in any kind of eminent danger at this time and waters are starting to recede.
Crews have completed the re-establishment of the main road up Mineral Creek where multiple homes are located. Twenty-two residents are still unable to get out of the upper part of the canyon. Work is progressing to pioneer a new road in areas where Mineral Creek jumped its banks so that food and water can be taken to those residents if they are in need. This work should be done within 48 hours. After that, as resources permit, work will be started to restore the road to the original condition, which may take several weeks. One home was directly affected by the flood waters, multiple homes received minor flood damage, an RV park and a mobile home park were damaged and several others close to the new channel are in immediate threat. Power and phone lines that were damaged have been restored. One Catron County bulldozer is on scene with one more due to arrive this afternoon.
Glenwood ( Whitewater Creek)
Work continues on removing sediment from under the Whitewater Creek/US Hwy 180 bridge, using private dozers and NM DOT equipment. There is less than 3 feet of freeboard under the bridg, and it is critical that the channel gets cleaned out in the event of additional rainfall in upper Whitewater Creek, which was devastated by the 2012 Whitewater Baldy Fire. There are 3 homes along Circle Drive that are still threatened by bank erosion, and Catron County will be moving dozers in there today to build a berm that will push the main channel of Whitewater Creek back to the south, away from the homes. There are two local motels that received heavy flood damage impacted by the floodwaters, along with several outbuildings. The NM Game and Fish Hatchery is threatened and the Game and Fish Department is mobilizing equipment to build up the dike separating Whitewater Creek from the hatchery. Governor Susana Martinez visited the area and was briefed by incident officials, as well as Catron County representatives.
Mogollon (Silver Creek)
Ground resources where able to hike into Mogollon on Tuesday, Sept. 17, and make contact with all residents. NM Hwy 159 has been totally destroyed from where it enters Deadwood Canyon , southwest of Mogollon, east to where it climbs out of Silver Creek about 3 miles upstream of the town site. Power and phones are still working. Heavy equipment from NMDOT is working east on Hwy 159 to pioneer a 4-wheel-drive road down Deadwood Canyon and the south fork of Silver Creek into Mogollon. Work is slow because 10-15 foot drop offs from the old road are common and boulders the size of small vehicles have been washed into the drainages. Best available estimate is that the initial ATV/OHV/4-wheel-drive road access will be established by late today, if things go according to plan. Search and Rescue operations are still ongoing for one person missing from Mogollon. The last time anyone heard from him was when he left Mogollon Saturday night to park his vehicle on higher ground in case Silver Creek flooded. Search and rescue operations will continue today.
Due to the unprecedented damage to NM 159, it may be several months before it is open for public travel. All other major roads in the Glenwood area are open.
Representatives of NM Dept. of Homeland Security, Catron County, NM State Forestry, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, NM State Police, NM DOT and the US Forest Service have set up an Incident Command Post at the Blue Front Café in Glenwood. The Type 3 Incident Management Team from the City of Santa Fe that has been ordered to assist Catron County with recovery and re-construction has been cancelled. Heavy equipment from Catron County and NM DOT are either on scene or en-route to start clearing roads, bridges, repairing dikes, etc. The Red Cross closed the shelter at the Glenwood Elementary School this morning.