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Flooding, mud forces Vado families from their homes
By: Genevieve Curtis
VADO, N.M. -- Families in Vado are finding shelter with the American Red Cross after Wednesday night's severe thunderstorm brought thick mud and high waters to their front doors.
"When I measured one of our clients homes, there was over 42 inches of mud," said James Guttierrez a Red Cross volunteer.
The storm brought rushing water and mud down from a huge dirt pile at a nearby quarry right to Maria Lopez's front steps. The rushing water was so powerful it knocked an electrical post on its side and mud covered gas meters.
"The current was strong enough to push the gas tank off and once that happened you were able to smell the gas in the air," Lopez said.
Lopez said that in the middle of the night, her family had to make a daring escape from flood waters.
"We all grabbed each other's hand and one by one started getting out of the trailer and into the water before everybody got out," Lopez said.
The mud that covered tree trunks and cars has now hardened. The experience and the mess now before Lopez is overwhelming.
"It was very scary," Lopez said as she wiped tears from her eyes.
In the daylight, families faced a new landscape because the hardened mud raised the ground several feet.
"I'm trying to take out all the mud from around the car and see if I'm able to pull out the car with a tractor. The car is in very deep," said Juan Lopez.
He spent the morning trying to dig out his car which was quite literally, stuck in the mud.
The Red Cross took in several families at a makeshift shelter in Vado overnight.
"We are thinking right now. What are we going to do? Because we are sacrificing our things. It came and it stopped. The problem that we also had yesterday right now the electric post outside our home started to bend," said Maria Lopez.
The Red Cross said they will be placing about four or five families, including the Lopez family, displaced by the flooding in hotel until its safe for them to return home.
Even if home doesn't look like it did before.
"There was a lot of stress; it was a lot of something you just can't explain because at the moment you don't realize what's going on," said Maria Lopez.
The Red Cross said one of the main reasons they are keeping the Lopez family and others in a hotel is because with more storms in the forecast there's a potential they'd be in danger again.