Phoenix man swept away by NM flood waters - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

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Phoenix man swept away by NM flood waters

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(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
Flood waters carried debris over the Visitor Center bridge near the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. (Source: Gila National Forest) Flood waters carried debris over the Visitor Center bridge near the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. (Source: Gila National Forest)
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, NM (AP/CBS5) -

State police have identified a man who died after being swept away by flood waters while traveling through southern New Mexico's Sierra County.

State police Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said Sunday that the man was 53-year-old Steven Elsley, of Phoenix.

Elsley's partially submerged rental car was found in a rugged area nearly a mile from a state road in Ash Canyon near Elephant Butte Dam. His body was inside.

Gutierrez said investigators believe Elsley died after his car was washed into a ravine and carried away.

Weather forecasters have been issuing flood warnings and flash flood watches for the past few days as a series of thunderstorms have dumped record amounts of rain over some parts of the state.

Flood waters have breached dams, inundated homes, closed roads and forced evacuations.

Los Alamos has seen nearly seven inches of rain since Tuesday and Socorro has gotten more than four inches, according to rainfall reports from the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. 

Glia National Forest officials said they've temporarily closed the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and the Gila Visitor Center  in Gila Hot Springs, NM.

N.M. State Highway 15 that provides access to the monument and nearby recreation facilities is closed from immediately north of Doc Campbell's Post in Gila Hot Springs since Saturday. 

Authorities in the southeastern Arizona community of Clifton have closed flood gates along the San Francisco River due to rising water levels.

Residents are being warned to move to higher ground. An RV park along the river was evacuated earlier Sunday.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for the area, saying the increased flow is expected to move downstream and into the Gila River. Forecasters say that will result in continued flows above the bank in the Solomon area.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says U.S. 191 in Clifton is closed due to the high water levels.

Officials were concerned about the water reaching the bottom of the Arizona 191 bridge.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved.  CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.

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