Staff Reports · 9 min read
MINDEN, Nev. — Flooding across the East Fork and main stem of the Carson River had widespread impacts across the Valley Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
The main stem of the Carson River flowing from Genoa into Carson City reached a peak of 11.04 feet, just over the major flooding stage, Tuesday morning. From there, it before leveled off and gradually dropped below the flood stage around 8 p.m. that evening.
The East Fork of the river through Gardnerville peaked Sunday evening at 15.9 feet, forcing evacuations from Aspen Mobile Home Park and Kingslane Mobile Home Park, and temporarily closing the bridge on Highway 88 near the high school early Monday morning.
Highway 395 was closed in both directions due to floodwaters over the roadway Monday afternoon, and was hampered by at least some amount of traffic control through Tuesday morning.
The closure was one of many significant events caused by the Carson River flooding that began on Sunday. Kingsbury Grade re-closed after drainage near the where the sinkhole was repair suffered heavy erosion. Portions of Aspen Mobile Home Park and Kingslane Mobile Home Park were evacuated Sunday evening as the East Fork crested through Gardnerville and Minden.
Numerous county roads suffered damage as a result of the initial down pour of rain, which started Saturday and continued in heavy force though Sunday evening. All roads except for Kingsbury Grade had been reopened as of Tuesday afternoon.
Fire crews battled a structure fire on Mad Cap Lane early Monday morning, but a washed out road leading to the property affected their ability to fight the fire. Read more about that here.
Highway 395 was closed to southbound traffic shortly after 1 p.m. on Monday, with northbound closures following about an hour later, as water backing up at Cradlebaugh Bridge began lapping up over the lanes north of the bridge.
Crews worked to reopen one northbound lane while southbound traffic reported up to two-hour travel times along the alternate route along Jacks Valley and Foothill roads between Carson City and Minden. Heavy snowfall Monday evening further complicated travel on the alternate route.
NDOT contractors staged heavy equipment at dozens of state road bridges from Reno south to the Carson Valley, including on Cradlebaugh, to remove flood-related debris, etc.
“For public safety, we have had contractors from Road and Highway Builders staged on U.S. 395 at the Cradlebaugh Slough to remove flood-related debris and monitor safety of the bridge and roadway,” said NDOT spokesperson Meg Ragonese.
Douglas County Emergency Management transported sandbags to the scene to help with containment of the water and facilitate the re-opening of the northbound lane.
Southbound lanes remained closed for nearly 19 hours before one lane was reopened around 8 a.m. The northbound lanes were fully opened earlier in the morning and the southbound lanes reopened before 11 a.m.
The main stem of the Carson River grew throughout the day Monday and reached flood stage late in the evening. Flows peaked just above the major flooding stage early Tuesday.
PJ Nosek took a tour around Johnson Lane Monday afternoon and sent in a number of photos of flooding and damage. A portion of Nye Drive off of Stephanie Way has been washed away.
Heavy rains Sunday brought on the flooding of the East Fork Carson River, forcing the evactuation of homes in Aspen Mobile Park and Kingslane.
The rains also eroded the drainage areas around the recently repaired sinkhole on Kingsbury Grade, forcing an indefinite closure of the road from Foothill to Tramway.
Last week, NDOT and contractors repaired a sinkhole which formed where a drainage pipe crosses underneath the road at mile marker 4.3, approximately 10 miles up the road on the Carson Valley side. All of the new roadway surface and much of the new earth that was placed down to fill the previous erosion remained intact through the storm, according to Nevada Department of Transportation spokesperson Meg Ragonese.
“With the overwhelming amount of precipitation, additional erosion occurred in the area, particularly to drainage areas,” Ragonese said. “With snow and winter weather forecast, NDOT will do all possible to repair the road efficiently and quickly, but no timeframe is yet set. Alternative routes between the Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe are available through U.S. 50, State Route 431 and various routes in California.”
Forty-nine homes in Aspen Mobile Home Park, 15 homes in Kingslane Mobile Home Park, and with another six on Bishop Circle were evacuated after the East Fork flooded over its banks after 7 p.m.
Evacuees were taken on at the Douglas County Community Center on Waterloo and returned to their homes on Monday.
Fish Springs incurred a flash flood Sunday evening, but no structures were affected and waters receded.
Flows began to consistently subside on the East Fork in Alpine County starting around 9 p.m.
Also around 9 p.m., Highway 395 closed south of town between the Nevada state line and Bridgeport as water from the Walker River reportedly breached over the roadway. It had reopened by Monday morning.
Crews monitored five homes on Mahogany in Westwood later in the evening as water ran high in their backyards and homeowners are sandbagging and fortifying.
Highway 88 was closed at the bridge near Douglas High School early Monday morning as crews worked to clear flood-related debris from water running under the bridge.
Earlier Sunday evening, the East Fork in Markleeville reached a flow of 11,ooo cubic feet per second leaving Carson Valley downstream bracing for impact.
The National Weather Service warned of potential flooding of homes, businesses, roads and bridges along the East Fork in Gardnerville and Minden. The NWS also warned of rain and snowmelt flooding as up to five inches of rain had fallen in the Sierra and foothills, though most reports were between 1 and 3 inches. The melting snow added to the excessive runoff.
A number of county road closures were issued in the late afternoon and early evening, including Muller Lane, Mottsville Lane, Genoa Lane, Nye Drive (which had a portion washed away), Centerville between 88 and Foothill and the dirt road alongside the old Power Dam. Highway 88, Waterloo near Lampe Park, and Centerville from downtown Gardnerville to the Ranchos were all closed for periods of time as well.
Western Nevada College issued closures for all of its campuses and Douglas County cancelled its teacher in-service in the Valley and classes at the Lake. Numerous businesses in town and in the Ranchos also closed for the day.
Crews were kept busy around the Valley assisting with reports of water into garages and downed trees and water over various local roads.
The East Fork reached flood stage (12.32 feet) in Gardnerville around 1 p.m. Sunday while across the Valley, emergency crews tended to a multiple-vehicle crash at Highway 88 and Mottsville early Sunday afternoon as rain started to pick up around the Valley. Two vehicles incurred major damage, the other minor. All occupants were out of the vehicles upon arrival of the ambulance.
Water eclipsed the top of the old power dam late in Sunday morning as flows on the river exceeded 2,260 cfs. Rain caused localized flooding on several roads in the Gardnerville Ranchos which persisted through the duration of the flood warning.
Sunday began with the East Fork running at 1,410 cubic feet per second near Gardnerville, which exceeded the previous recorded maximum for the same date from 1997 (971 in the aftermath of that flood). The flows increased from there.
Some of the preparation for the storm within Douglas County included increased staffing by all fire and law enforcement agencies, as well as Douglas County’s Road Department.
The Nevada Department of Transportation has stationed five heavy excavators at key bridge locations for potential debris removal, while Douglas County maintained contract retention of General Engineering Contractors for additional heavy equipment needs.
Three Nevada Division of Forestry Hand Crews were used for sand bad filling at several sites in the Carson Valley.
Douglas County Emergency Management made available more than 30,000 sand bags at 13 different sites over the weekend.
Douglas County is encouraging residents to contact its flood hotline at 775-782-9099 or 775-783-6404 from 7 a.m.-8 p.m., or e-mail damages to firstname.lastname@example.org for all flood related questions and concerns, and to report damage caused by the flood. Be prepared to provide location address with photos and video. For non-emergency questions local/regional events call 2-1-1.