ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Flooding and storm damage in two southern New Mexico communities have brought out the volunteers from the American Red Cross.
On Wednesday the Red Cross staffed a shelter for residents of Vado after flooding in southern Doña County.
Not far from Vado in northwest El Paso, Texas, a weather spotter reported framing and boards from a building under construction were blown down at about 7:40 p.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service forecast office in El Paso.
The weather service described the Wednesday night storm as the largest coverage of heavy rain across the El Paso forecast area since 2006. A flash-flood watch is currently in effect for much of southern New Mexico through late Thursday night.
Also on Thursday damage-assessment team also was headed to Columbus on the Mexican border in Luna County Thursday after a microburst from a severe storm blasted the community on the Mexican border on Tuesday. The National Weather Service forecast office in El Paso, Texas, estimates may have reached 90 mph.
The storm rolled some mobile homes, ripped roofs off buildings and damaged power polls. At least a dozen buildings were reported to be seriously damaged.
And in the last 24 hours Red Cross volunteers also respond to assistant residents displaced by house fires in Farmington and Mountainair.
Red Cross safety tips for severe thunderstorms and flash flooding include:
- Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.
- Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.
- If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
- Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
- Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.
- Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
- If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe
- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice.
- When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
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