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Texas, New Mexico brace for more flooding

More rain was expected Monday in parts of Texas and New Mexico after weekend storms and floods drove dozens of people from their homes, closed roads and collapsed an interstate bridge.
Vehicles sit in flood waters in Carlsbad, N.M., on Sunday.
Vehicles sit in flood waters in Carlsbad, N.M., on Sunday.NBC News
/ Source: The Associated Press

More thunderstorms were forecast Monday for parts of Texas and New Mexico following weekend flooding that drove dozens of people from their homes, closed roads and collapsed part of a highway bridge.

At least 21 deaths were blamed on the weather system in Mexico.

More than 40 of the 100 residents of Toyah, Texas, had to be evacuated early Sunday when arroyos and ravines flooded rapidly and the water ruptured an earthen dam. Water 3 feet deep rushed through the town, forcing out even Toyah’s own emergency crews.

“We had like 8 inches of rain fall all at once,” said Toyah Mayor Pro Tem Diana Tollett, one of about 20 residents who were stranded in town by the flooding.

Not far from Toyah, a bridge carrying eastbound lanes of Interstate 20 over a small stream collapsed. No one was injured because police had closed the roadway earlier. Authorities also shut down a nearby Union Pacific Railroad bridge.

As traffic was detoured around the I-20 bridge, three tractor-trailer rigs collided early Monday on a two-lane highway about 25 miles southeast of Pecos, killing five people and critically injuring another.

It was not immediately clear if weather was a factor in the wreck, which closed the highway being used for the detour, police said.

The same storm system caused flash flooding Monday in northern Mexico that killed at least 21 people just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. Dozens more were reported missing and U.S. Border Patrol helicopters helped rescue survivors from roofs. The Escondido River rose 25 feet in 15 minutes, authorities said.

Hail almost as big as golf balls pummeled Crystal City, Texas, about 80 miles southwest of San Antonio. A grocery store roof collapsed under the weight and at least 25 homes had broken windows, said police Chief Luis Contreras.

“I’ve never seen something like that,” Contreras said. “Buildings and carports were just caving in.”

Hail piled up a foot deep in Fort Stockton and looked like snow, said fire Chief Melvin Thomas. The town also had flooding that was up to the level of car bumpers and forced about 30 residents to leave their homes.

Parts of New Mexico got snow mixed with hail and rain that iced highways and caused flooding. Gov. Bill Richardson ordered state agencies to be prepared to assist.

Eighteen residents of Carlsbad, N.M., were still out of their homes Monday although water was receding after flooding streets up to 2 feet deep, said police Capt. Robert Bird

Water releases from an overloaded reservoir added to the flooding in the Carlsbad area.

With more rain forecast Monday, residents of low-lying areas were warned to be ready to leave in case of flooding, and Carlsbad schools were closed.

In northern New Mexico, more than 1,000 customers of the Mora-San Miguel County Electric Cooperative were in the dark for a second day Sunday after as much as 2 feet of snow fell.

Parts of Texas and New Mexico braced for more rain Monday after weekend thunderstorms gave rise to swift floods that drove dozens of people from their homes, closed roads and collapsed an interstate bridge.