Rio Arriba County, N.M. Declared Disaster Due to Snow

February 6, 2008

Gov. Bill Richardson declared Rio Arriba County, N.M. a disaster area due to heavy snow that has blocked roads and left residents stranded in their homes.

Richardson says emergency management, state police and the state Department of Transportation will be available for emergencies and to support local efforts to clear roads.

The heaviest snow was reported around Chama and Tierra Amarilla. The National Weather Service said a total of 33 inches of snow had fallen in Chama by Monday evening, Angel Fire had 12 inches and the Farmington area had between 4 and 8 inches. Snow also fell in Quemado, Ramah and Albuquerque.

The weather service issued a winter storm warning for much of the state, saying a storm moving over Arizona and into New Mexico would bring even more snow to parts of northern New Mexico through Tuesday.

Forecasters said windy conditions would likely accompany the snow, resulting in reduced visibility. Police and emergency management officials advised residents to stay off the roads.

The disaster declaration for Rio Arriba County makes $750,000 in state disaster relief funds available to cover the cost of crews to clear public roads, respond to emergencies, support public services and utilities and related efforts.

The state emergency operations center has been activated to monitor the situation in the northern New Mexico county.

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