Flood Warning Issued for Carson River: Information, Tips And Preparedness Items

Staff Reports · 6 min read

MINDEN, Nev. — The National Weather Service had issued a flood warning for the Carson River, effective Sunday through Monday.

The warning was issued for the East Fork Carson River below Markleeville affecting Alpine and Douglas counties and near Carson City affecting Carson City and Churchill,Douglas and Lyon counties.


For the Mainstem Carson River…including Carson City…Major
flooding is forecast.
For the East Fork Carson River…including Markleeville…Moderate
flooding is forecast.

An atmospheric river will produce intense rainfall with snow levels
near 9000 feet Sunday and Sunday night. Saturated soils and some
melting snow will combine to produce excess runoff and cause the
East Fork of the Carson and the Carson River to flood. Rain and snow
levels will decrease on Monday, however flooding may continue along
the Carson River from below Dayton to Lahontan Reservoir into


Flood preparations should be completed by Saturday morning, before
weather conditions deteriorate. Never drive through flooded areas
and follow the directions of emergency officials.

The next forecast update for these locations will be issued at about
4 pm.

Flood Warning for the East Fork Carson River Below Markleeville.
* At 8:00 AM Friday the stage was 3.0 feet.
* Flood stage is 8.0 feet.
* Moderate flooding is forecast.
* Forecast…Rise above flood stage by early Sunday afternoon and
crest near 9.2 feet by late Sunday evening. The river will fall
below flood stage by early Monday morning.
* Impact…At 9.0 feet…Moderate flood damage in the Carson Valley.
Flooding of homes, businesses, schools, roads and bridges in the
lower portions of Minden, Gardnerville, Centerville, Genoa and
Washoe Indian Reservation. Transportation, communication, water and
power systems begin to be affected. At about 10200 cfs.
* Flood history…This compares to a crest of 9.1 feet on December 31, 2005.

Tips and preparedness items are below:

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Douglas County from late Saturday night through Monday Morning.

According to the National Weather Service, an atmospheric river will likely produce a period of intense rainfall with snow levels rising as high as 9,000 feet early Sunday morning to Monday morning. Rainfall totals of 6 to 12 inches are possible around the Tahoe basin and in the Carson Range with up to 3 inches of rain in the lower elevations around Reno-Sparks, Carson City and Douglas County.

A combination of intense rain on saturated soils will lead to excessive runoff. Recent snowfall around the Tahoe basin may be blocking drainage paths, causing water to back up near culverts and urban areas. Flooding of creeks, streams, urban areas and farmland is likely, including Washoe Valley and areas near the Little Valley burn scar.

The Carson River at Highway 396 in Minden Thursday afternoon. Photo by PJ Nosek

A significant rise on the Truckee and the East Fork, West Fork and main stem Carson Rivers is likely, though the extent of flood impacts is uncertain at this time.

Travel could be affected with water over roadways. Anyone with interests along area creeks, streams and the Truckee and Carson Rivers should begin to take action to remove or protect valuables in flood prone areas, according to the National Weather Service.

Information on how to prepare for a flood can be found at www.nevadafloods.org.

The emergency preparedness Web site Ready.gov offers the following tips during a flood watch in areas prone to flooding:

  • Turn on your TV/radio. You will receive the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Know where to go. You may need to reach higher ground quickly and on foot.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Gather items you will need to bring with you if evacuation is needed:
    • Water: At least a three-day supply (one gallon per person per day and extra if you have pets)
    • Food: At least a three-day supply of nonperishable, easy to prepare foods
    • Medications: At least a seven-day supply
    • Medical items: Hearing aids and batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, canes or other walking assistance tools, items for people with disabilities
    • First-aid kit
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Rubber boots and rubber gloves
    • Copies of personal documents (medication lists, important medical information, deed/lease to home, birth and/or marriage certificates, insurance policies, etc.)
    • Cell phones and chargers
    • Family and emergency contact information
    • Extra cash
    • Extra blankets, clothing, shoes
    • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
    • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, water, carrier, bowl, blankets, toys)
    • Extra sets of vehicle and house keys
    • Priceless items or valuables
    • Rain gear
    • Camera for photos of damage
    • A NOAA weather radio that receives broadcast alerts directly from the National Weather Service
  • Bring in outdoor furniture and move important indoor items to the highest possible floor. This will help protect them from flood damage.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.
  • If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve. This helps prevent fires and explosions.
  • Precautions for protecting livestock can be found here.
When to leave your home: If the danger is significant, local authorities may issue an evacuation notice to alert residents that flooding will be or is occurring, and it is important to leave the area. Evacuation orders vary by community and state, and may range from voluntary to mandatory. When authorities issue a mandatory evacuation notice, leave the area immediately. If you have pets, take them with you. If you cannot take them with you, arrange to board them at a facility well away from flood danger. Keep in mind the Five Ps of Evacuation: people, prescriptions, paper, personal needs and priceless items.
During a flood:
  • Listen to the TV and/or radio for flood warnings and reports of flooding.
  • Check websites (for example, http://www.water.weather.gov/ahps/).
  • Be prepared in case there is a power outage. Have electronic devices charged.
  • Take advantage of sandbags if your home/business is in a flood-prone area. Be prepared, as these take longer to fill than you might think (see videos below)
  • If you have a basement, make sure your sump pump is working. Consider a backup battery-operated one if necessary.
  • Clear debris from gutters or downspouts.
  • Cautiously clear small items out of waterways. Anything bigger than a tumbleweed should be removed by an emergency service person.
  • Anchor any fuel tanks and outdoor furniture.
  • Move important documents and valuables to a safe place.
  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Do not try to walk in floodwaters. Just 6 inches of water is enough to knock you down.
  • Do not try to cross a flooded road. Turn around and find an alternative route. Most cars can be swept away by less than 2 feet of water.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize potential dangers.
  • Know your evacuation routes (several may need to be identified) and have a place to stay.
  • Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas and is ready to go if you need to leave an area quickly.
  • If you do not have a place to go, contact the city for locations of evacuation shelters.
  • Establish a communication plan with family. Determine ahead of time where you will meet or go if you should get separated.
  • Use text messaging or social media to let friends and family know you are safe.
  • If you should happen to get trapped in a building, vehicle or outdoors during a flood, get to the highest spot you can and try to signal or call for help.
After a flood:
  • Only return home when officials have declared the area safe.
  • Shut off utilities until it can be determined that they do not pose a risk.
  • Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches, or matches, to examine buildings, as open flames may cause a fire or explosion if gases have been leaking.
  • Before entering your home, look for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
  • If parts of your home are collapsed or damaged, approach carefully.
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, rubber gloves and rubber boots.
  • Be especially cautious of mold, asbestos and lead paint contamination.
  • If food or water have come into contact with floodwater, discard these items.
  • Work with your insurance company if you have flood insurance.
  • Let people know you are safe.

Here is the current map and list of public sandbag fill sites within Douglas County, including one site at the lake located at the Zephyr Cove Park.


Sheridan Fire Station
980 Sheridan Lane
Sand is located behind the station in the upper parking area

Genoa Fire Station
2298 Main Street
Sand is located behind the station in the upper parking area

Jacks Valley Fire Station
3450 Jacks Valley Road
Sand is located in the front parking lot, east side of station

Johnson Lane Fire Station
1450 Stephanie Lane
Sand is located in parking lot, west side of station

Fish Springs Fire Station
2249 Fish Springs Road
Sand is located in parking lot rear of building

Ruhenstroth Fire Station
2008 Pinto Circle
Sand is located in lower parking lot, west side of building

Topaz Ranch Estates Community Center
4001 Carter Drive
Sand is located in front parking lot

Fire District Warehouse
941 Mitch Drive
Sand is located front parking lot, north side

Zephyr Cover Park
Hwy 50 and Warrior Way
Sand is located at the upper parking lot

The Army Corps Of Engineers put together this video on building emergency levees with sandbags:

And the California Conservation Corps offers this video on flood fighting methods:


If scraped for time and resources, sandbagging in front of the doors of a residence and lining the barriers with plastic is recommended.

For more information and updates on the flood watch visit this link.

This information has come from the Red Cross, Douglas County, FEMA, the National Weather Service and University of Nevada, Reno, and parts were written by Lindsay Chichester, Carson City Extension Educator at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

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