- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - Remnants from Tropical Storm Odile moved across southern New Mexico early Thursday, dumping more than 4 inches of rain on the small town of Rodeo near the Arizona border and causing flooding and minor damage across the region and into Texas.

Emergency management officials said that while there was street flooding and reports of swamped homes, there were no serious issues reported from the storm, which had been forecast to bring as much as 9 inches of rain to some places. It was still raining from Deming to Las Cruces Thursday afternoon. And more rain was expected as the system moved to the southeast.

“We are now expecting to see some heavy rains in Roswell, Hobbs and the far southeastern corner of the state,” said Estevan Lujan with the state Homeland Security Department’s emergency operations center. “Our biggest concern, because the ground is so saturated, is flash flooding.”

Lujan said the state sent the National Guard out and had a couple of helicopters and high-water vehicles positioned to make rescues if necessary.

Officials were also keeping a close eye on the Ruidoso area for any mudslides from wildfire-scorched areas in the mountains.

“We are monitoring that to make sure debris doesn’t come down and take out a bridge,” Lujan said. “But so far so good; better than we thought. We’ll see how it goes overnight.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation said Highway 152 in the southwestern part of the state was closed indefinitely Wednesday after trees fell, debris washed into the road and parts of the asphalt crumbled away.

NMDOT Bridget Spedalieri said it could be mid-October or later before Highway 152, which runs from Highway 180 to Interstate 25 over the Black Range, will be reopened to motorists.

Dona Ana County officials said overnight rainfall forced some residents to temporarily flee water-logged homes. The American Red Cross opened the shelter just after midnight at the senior center in the border community of Sunland Park, but the center was closed by morning.

Around 250 sandbags were sent to Sunland Park overnight, officials said.

In Luna County, authorities said deputies saved a 78-year-old motorist Tuesday after his vehicle was swept away by a strong current of floodwaters in rains that fell ahead of Odile.

Twenty-four-hour rainfall totals from the National Weather Service showed Rodeo had received 4.5 inches Thursday morning and Santa Teresa in Dona Ana County had 1.45 inches. Over the past three days, more than 4 inches have fallen in Mogollon, 3 inches in Socorro and nearly 2 inches in Ruidoso.

In West Texas, forecasters issued a flash flood watch through Thursday night for the El Paso area, where two people were rescued from a swamped vehicle. A third person who swam to safety was being treated for minor injuries, El Paso Fire Department Battalion Chief Carlos Franco said.

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