New Mexico heavy rain and flash flooding prompt mandatory evacuations

Heavy rain and flash flood warnings have prompted mandatory evacuations in New Mexico's city of Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Heavy rain and flash flood warnings in New Mexico prompted officials to order some mandatory evacuations, with shelters set up for displaced residents.

The National Weather Service office announced a flash flood emergency on Friday night through early Saturday. The impacted areas included the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico and communities near Albuquerque.

Up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain had fallen by late Friday with additional rainfall up to 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) expected overnight, the weather service said.

There was flash flooding with multiple road closures on the north and west sides of Las Vegas, the weather service said.

The Las Vegas municipal government announced mandatory evacuations of parts of the city in social media posts, warning residents to prepare for overnight stays. The city said it established shelters for residents on the west and east sides of the city.

The city government asked residents to limit non-essential water use, while also clarifying that online rumors suggesting the city's water dams had broken were false and that the dams “are currently intact."

New Mexico also suffered devastating wildfires this week that killed at least two people and forced thousands to flee from the flames. The South Fork and Salt fires in south-central New Mexico destroyed or damaged an estimated 1,400 structures. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham planned to tour the disaster area Saturday.