Clean-up continues after 100-year flood
July 27, 2014
Where people living in northern Carson Valley would be typically walking dogs or riding bicycles, backhoes and Bobcats are moving the sand and silt from a 100-year flood that hit a week ago.
Heavy rain on July 20 sent floodwaters rushing downslope from Hot Springs Mountain and into the yards of residents living north of Stephanie Way.
The flood not only filled culverts, but in some instances excavated them, along with underground power, phone, television and gas utilities.
In some instances, ditches alongside Stephanie Way went from shallow swales to deep canyons as waters overwhelmed both public and private structures designed to divert floodwaters.
The flood control structure along Johnson Lane between Vicky and Clapham lanes was filled nearly to the brim with dirt and sand.
County officials said their flood control structures are designed to carry a 25-year flood generated over 6-24 hours.
The July 20 rainstorm was part of a cell that stretched from Sacramento to Battle Mountain and left 1.21 inches of rain in one hour and 20 minutes at the base of Hot Springs Mountain in under two hours.
Residents along Mac Drive reported watching flood waters rage down the mountain and into their yards, washing away landscaping, and forcing its way into garages and other outbuildings.
The Olson family was hard hit by the flood which washed away their landscaping. Water seeped into their kitchen and gathered underneath their house. Water and mud smashed the garage doors in and left 3-4 feet of mud in the garage, ruining their vehicles and their home office.
Daylin Olson started a gofundme page where they'd raised $1,050 as of Friday. The page is located at http://www.gofundme.com/bzavo0
While Douglas County commissioners considered declaring a disaster, they decided against it after consulting with state emergency officials.
"As significant as this event was, state officials were in agreement with local officials that the event would not qualify for FEMA assistance," County Emergency Manager Tod Carlini said. "In order for disaster declarations to be considered, certain financial loss thresholds have to be met. This event did not meet those thresholds."
Carlini and County Manager Larry Werner acknowledged that residents had sustained significant damage.
"Flooding of any type can be just as devastating as a fire," said Carlini, whose own Lyon County property was damaged in the 1997 flood.
Werner said the flood, while creating major issues in parts of the county, didn't rise to the level of a national emergency.
Even if the county had declared a disaster, the state would have had to concur for any FEMA support.
While residents have expressed disappointment that the county did not declare a disaster area there is also an argument brewing over the off-highway vehicle trails that cross Bureau of Land Management territory.
One located directly north of the end of East Valley Road is rutted from runoff directed into the neighborhood, which is located east of Mac Drive.
Two signs along Lindsay express both sides of the issue, with one blaming off-road vehicle riders for creating the trails and another saying that the trails were there before homes were built along the street.
County officials have established two locations where residents may dump flood debris.
The sites are located at the Johnson Lane Volunteer Fire Station off Stephanie Way and a site north of Johnson Lane east of Heybourne.
County officials said claims for flood damage are between residents and their insurance companies. While flood insurance is required in parts of the county because of FEMA flood maps, few of those areas hardest hit were subject to flooding.
The July 20 flood came two days short of the anniversary of the July 22, 1994 Johnson Lane flood.
Rain fell mostly in the Pine Nuts and flowed down Buckbrush and Johnson Lane washes in that storm.