Eastern New Mexico Flooding Prompts Emergency Declarations

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Severe flooding in eastern New Mexico has prompted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to declare states of emergency in Lincoln and Chaves counties.

The governor issued her executive orders Wednesday, freeing up $1.5 million for the counties to use for repairs and to prevent more damage.

State officials say the flooding that began over the Memorial Day weekend continues to threaten public safety and critical infrastructure.

Local officials pointed to a levee near Roswell that was overwhelmed by heavy rain and storm runoff over the holiday weekend. They said the water had breached the levee in at least two locations.

The city of Roswell shared video footage of the flooding on social media following a tour last week. Residents also posted images and video of water flowing through neighborhoods and covering streets.

Officials in both counties said the emergency declarations will help to open avenues for relief for those affected by the flooding.

State Homeland Security and Emergency Management Secretary Bianca Ortiz-Wertheim said her agency has been working with local officials, the American Red Cross and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since last week.

"Despite this tragedy, our department has been inspired by the way these communities have come together to protect one another, propose solutions, and begin recovering from this disaster,” she said.