Stressed dam forces El Paso evacuations

Aug. 4, 2006 at 10:52 AM
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EL PASO, Texas, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Torrential rains this week have forced the evacuation of more than 1,500 people from two El Paso, Texas, neighborhoods that would be inundated if a dam breaks.

Police went door-to-door in the historic Chihuahita and Segundo Barrio districts Thursday helping transport children and elderly residents to the Judson F. Williams Convention Center, the El Paso Times reported.

Authorities fear a break in the earthen La Frontera Baja dam on the west side of Juarez, Mexico, one mile south of the border, could send 6 million gallons of water flooding into El Paso in minutes.

"We are talking about a tidal wave hitting downtown El Paso," said Mayor John Cook, who ordered people to leave the areas as a precaution after being advised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "If we get another storm like we had (Wednesday) night, it will compromise it."

Water in the Rio Grande was six feet deep, two feet below flood stage.

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