Flooding leads to state of emergency - White Mountain Independent: Apache County
Flooding leads to state of emergency
Storms displace people, damage structures
Photo courtesy of Billy Altaha
Black water has been filling Cedar Creek almost to the brink. The black flow is from the Cedar Fire runoffs due to the monsoon rains. These floods have been occurring almost every day this past week.
Posted: Tuesday, August 9, 2016 5:00 am
Mike Leiby The Independent |
APACHE COUNTY — Flooding in the northern part of Apache County and in northwestern New Mexico from last week’s monsoons displaced almost 30 people and damaged several structures.
The Shiprock Chapter of the Navajo Nation and the Apache County Board of Supervisors both declared a state of emergency from the aftermath of the storms.
During a special meeting in St. Johns Aug. 5, supervisors Tom White Jr., Joe Shirley and Barry Weller, discussed the flooding from torrential monsoon rains in District 1, which have caused roads to be washed out and left people stranded in their homes.
Shirley said he had been getting calls day and night for more than a week from people in all 15 chapters within District 1 about heavy flooding and roads being washed out.
Many members of the Navajo Nation live in District 1 and neighboring District 2, a lot of them in very remote areas that are prone to flooding during annual monsoon rains.
Shirley added that more monsoon rain is expected and therefore county officials need to take steps to prepare for it. Hence, the request to declare a state of emergency.
Weller asked if the declaration included all of Apache County. Shirley responded that it does. He said that as far as he knows while flooding in Weller’s District 3 may or may not be as severe as in District 1 and 2, all three districts were in need of help to mitigate flood damage.
Weller said he started getting calls from people in his district Thursday night, Aug. 4, after sheets of heavy monsoon rain (and heavy lightning) started coming down and lasted well into the night and even into the early morning hours Aug. 5.
Chief Deputy Brannon Eagar said the Apache County Sheriff’s Office is evaluating the situation and is on alert to be ready if called on to help in any way they can.
He said people can call the county’s Roads Department for help during regular business hours if they are flooded in or in impassable roads. On weekends they can call the ACSO at 928-337-4321 for non-emergency help.
Eagar noted if there is an emergency of any kind in which there is an imminent threat to life, people should always call 911.
The Ganado road crew can be reached at 928-755-3881 or 928-755-3882. In Fort Defiance, it can be reached at 928-729-2141 or 928-729-5706. The Rock Point road crew in District 1 can be reached at 928-659-4246. In Teec Nos Pos, it can be reached at 928-656-3505.
District III engineering can be reached at 928-337-7505.
The ACSO works hand-in-hand with county road crews during these kinds of emergency flooding situations to lend a hand in any way they can. Even if it means getting muddy to help people stranded by flooding, Eagar said.
County Manager Delwin Wengert added that Apache County Emergency Management will now notify state officials of the emergency declaration. If the state goes along with it and also declares a state of emergency in Apache County, it could mean state help and even the possibility of federal dollars if the situation meets their requirements.