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18 stranded in New Mexico 'ghost town' amid flooding

By Elwyn Lopez, CNN
updated 5:20 PM EDT, Tue September 17, 2013
A construction crew begins work on multiple utility lines in a sinkhole in La Union, New Mexico, on Monday, September 16. Workers estimated the hole to be 13-feet deep and 30-feet wide. New Mexico declared a statewide disaster on September 13 because of widespread flooding. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/12/us/gallery/colorado-flooding/index.html'>View photos of severe flooding in Colorado.</a> A construction crew begins work on multiple utility lines in a sinkhole in La Union, New Mexico, on Monday, September 16. Workers estimated the hole to be 13-feet deep and 30-feet wide. New Mexico declared a statewide disaster on September 13 because of widespread flooding. View photos of severe flooding in Colorado.
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Severe floods in New Mexico
Severe floods in New Mexico
Severe floods in New Mexico
Severe floods in New Mexico
Severe floods in New Mexico
Severe floods in New Mexico
Severe floods in New Mexico
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 18 stranded when town's only road is washed away
  • Mogollon billed as "the ghost town that refuses to die"
  • New Mexico declared a statewide disaster last week

(CNN) -- Eighteen people are stranded in the town of Mogollon, New Mexico, after the only road in and out of town was washed away, according to a spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez.

New Mexico declared a statewide disaster Friday because of flooding. The torrential downpours and severe flooding that hit the state left one person dead.

Mogollon is a secluded mountain town surrounded by the Gila National Forest. It once was a mining hub for silver, copper and gold and was home to about 2,000 people before the mines closed in 1942, according to Mogollon Enterprises, which operates tourist storefronts in the city.

Billing itself as "the ghost town that refuses to die," Mogollon hosts an antiques store, artisans gallery, cafe, museum and theater, most of them re-fashioned out of the town's original 19th-century structures. The Mogollon Theater is considered the oldest "intact" movie house in the state, Mogollon Enterprises says.

Roughly an equal distance from Albuquerque, New Mexico, El Paso, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona, Mogollon is now largely a tourist attraction boasting hiking, hummingbirds and stargazing.

The National Guard will be providing food, water and sanitary supplies Tuesday, and a bulldozer will scrape the road to provide access to the village, said Enrique Knell, the governor's spokesman.

The plan now is for the National Guard to bring supplies to the village on foot instead of flying them in. "It is only about a mile walk, and they had trouble finding a good landing zone," Knell said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to assist. No air evacuations are expected.

Colorado flooding: Residents return, but some find no home

CNN's Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.

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