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New Mexico to get share of Tropical Storm Odile

September 17, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Severe weather from the tropical storm that has caused flooding across Mexico’s Baja California peninsula could bring around 7 inches of rain to parts of already flood-damaged areas of New Mexico.

The National Weather Service said severe weather from Tropical Storm Odile will move across most of New Mexico this week, with the heaviest rains expected Thursday in the southern part of the state, where officials are concerned about flooding and mudslides in areas left bare by recent wildfires.

“What we are concerned about is that this will be a long event,” said meteorologist Deirdre Kann.

Flash flood watches already are in effect through early Wednesday in parts of southern and central New Mexico along the Rio Grande and in the state’s southwest mountains. Officials said the storms could produce 1 to 3 inches of rain during short periods, creating the threat of flash flooding.

Otero County in southern New Mexico also may see flooding Wednesday as severe weather could top spillways at Silver and Mescalero lakes.

In Las Cruces, officials said the Las Cruces Fire Department was handing out sandbags to help residents and businesses protect against flooding.

While an active monsoon season has already caused damage across the state, the heavy rains are easing the state’s drought.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, less than 40 percent of New Mexico is under severe drought, compared with 78 percent last year.

Meteorologist Todd Shoemake said this season’s rain has made “a significant dent” in the state’s drought, but conditions still aren’t where they need to be.

The latest storms come after a weakening Tropical Storm Odile pushed up Baja California early Tuesday. Los Cabos airport was damaged by the storm, and Mexican television showed the terminal full of debris.

Emergency officials in Baja California reported that 135 people were treated for minor injuries from flying glass or falling objects, but there were no serious injuries or deaths so far. About 30,000 tourists were in temporary shelters.

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Associated Press writer Alba Mora Roca in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, contributed to this report.

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Follow Russell Contreras at http://twitter.com/russcontreras.

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