MOAPA — Heavy rains pummeling southern Nevada threatened to overflow the riverbanks near the small town of Moapa, forced the evacuation of an Indian reservation and sent cars floating off Interstate 15, officials said.
Four inches of rain fell in the rural, sparsely populated Moapa in a two-hour period Monday afternoon, sending the Virgin River to 2 feet below the 11-foot flood stage mark, according to Erin Neff of the Clark County Regional Flood Control District.
Officials said 190 people from the Moapa River Reservation were being sheltered, she said. Tribal police had warned that the waters of the Muddy River were close to breaching a dam there.
“I cannot state this more clearly — it is a life-threatening emergency situation in Moapa,” Neff said.
National Weather Service officials declared a flash flood warning throughout Clark County until 6:30 p.m. Flood control officials said Moapa and the nearby town of Overton might be in for more flooding later in the evening, although Neff couldn’t say where it might occur or how many homes would be threatened.
Moapa, a town of about 1,000 people about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas, received the brunt of the storm, which combined seasonal monsoon moisture with the remnants of Hurricane Norbert. Homes and cars in Moapa were partially submerged in muddy waters.
Fifteen employees of the Reid Gardner Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant near Moapa, were sheltering in place Monday afternoon, Neff said.
No serious injuries were reported by early Monday evening, although Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson said some vehicles on I-15 near Moapa were washed off the road.
Also in the Moapa area, segments of State Route 168 and Interstate 15 were closed.
In Las Vegas, several cars had stalled out on waterlogged city streets.