Overton residents help each other after flooding

LAS VEGAS - A muddy cleanup resumed Friday for dozens of families in Southern Nevada towns where floodwaters from Western storms have subsided.

"I bet there's 6 inches of silt everywhere," said Melanie Vallet, 42, whose sandbagged home remained barely dry when the trickling Muddy River turned to a torrent in Overton. "It's still flowing through our back yard."

Neighbors who helped place sandbags when flood warnings began Monday showed up Thursday to help remove them, rip up wet carpets, clear mud and debris, and pump water from garages.

"People have said when you're ready for shovels, let us know," Vallet said Friday by telephone from a home she said had become waterfront property. "We had people coming over with food and offers of tractors."

The Muddy was the last of washes and rivers along the Nevada-Arizona-Utah border to swell this week with sudden snowmelt from mountains in Nevada and Utah.

Residents pitched in to fight what some called the worst flooding in decades. No serious injuries were reported.

At the height of flooding, Clark County officials said 250 homes were evacuated in Overton, near Lake Mead, and neighboring Logandale, Moapa and Glendale. Authorities have not said how many homes flooded, and called it too early for damage estimates. No homes were thought to have been destroyed.

In the Clark County resort town of Mesquite, on the Nevada-Arizona border, Mayor Bill Nicholes called for 1,000 volunteers to help clean 75 homes flooded by the Virgin River. He deemed three homes uninhabitable and 10 badly damaged.

A demolition expert detonated dynamite along Mesquite riverbanks on Thursday, in an unsuccessful attempt to coax the river back to its original course.

Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn was considering adding the Northern Nevada counties of Washoe and Storey to a storm emergency declaration, Guinn spokesman Greg Bortolin said. Reno, Sparks and Virginia City were still digging out after record snowfall.

Guinn on Thursday declared a flood emergency Thursday in Lincoln and Clark counties.

In the Lincoln County community of Caliente, cleanup continued three days after the harrowing evacuation of half the town's 1,200 residents and an airlift of 140 children and counselors from a state youth corrections facility.


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