- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - Flood waters were beginning to recede across southeastern New Mexico on Tuesday, allowing emergency management officials their first look at some of the damage caused by days of heavy rain.

Eddy County officials said the damage is significant in some areas, but it’s too soon to place a dollar figure on it.

“We’re starting to do some damage assessment of the roads and low-water crossings. We’re not able to open any roads yet,” said Joel Arnwine of the Eddy County Office of Emergency Management. He warned residents to abide by the road closure signs for their own safety.

Some residents were forced from their homes early Monday due to flooding along the Pecos River near Carlsbad. Water came rushing over streets and bridges, causing pavement and concrete to buckle. Some of the water found its way into homes.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service reported Carlsbad received a total of 2.7 inches of rain from Sunday to Monday and more than 8 inches since last Thursday. Areas outside of the city received more.

“It got us good,” Norbert Rios, a resident of Black River Village south of Carlsbad, told the Carlsbad Current-Argus (http://bit.ly/1sWkqFo).

Rios said the water levels had risen as high as the midway point of a pickup truck in some areas of the town. He said he tallied more than 22 inches of rainfall at his water gauge in the last two and a half days.

“There was water everywhere,” said Rios, who helped neighbors shovel dirt and water throughout the weekend.

A flash flood watch remained in effect through Tuesday night.

Once the water recedes, officials said cleanup efforts can begin in earnest.

Arnwine expected the county to issue a disaster declaration in the coming days. That would clear the way for federal emergency funding, he said.

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