Flood watch begins 3 p.m. Saturday

The East Fork of the Carson River pours over the old power dam during a lull around lunchtime on Wednesday.

The East Fork of the Carson River pours over the old power dam during a lull around lunchtime on Wednesday.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Around lunchtime on Wednesday, enough water to fill nearly 1.5 Olympic sized swimming pools every minute was flowing over the old power dam on the East Fork of the Carson River, and that was during one of the lulls.

At its crest 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, the spot saw 1.52 million gallons a minute enter the Carson Valley, or about 280 acre feet an hour.

A flood watch has been issued for both forks of the Carson River and the East Walker River as warm temperatures have increased the flow on streams across the region.

“Warmer and drier weather quickly returns for the weekend,” National Weather Service Reno Meteorologist Dawn Johnston said on Thursday. “The mild and above average temperatures this weekend may accelerate snowmelt and result in increased flows across area creeks, streams, and rivers which could create minor flooding issues for a few areas.”

Johnston said temperatures are expected to be 5-10 degrees above average today and Sunday.

The flood watch is in effect from 3 p.m. today until 7 a.m. Monday.

The forecast calls for high temperatures of 66-68 degrees both Saturday and Sunday, before cooling down to a high of 52 degrees on Tuesday.

It will likely be a repeat of last weekend when high temperatures soared to the upper 70s and the East Fork of the Carson River came close to the 13-foot action stage.

According to the National Weather Service, the river is forecast to crest at 12.6 feet 3 a.m. Monday. The West Fork at Woodfords is forecast to crest at 12 feet around midnight Sunday.

Ebbetts Pass at the top of the East Fork is reading 255 percent with 75.5 inches of water in the snowpack.

Carson Pass at the top of the West Fork is reading 67.7 inches or 247 percent of median as of Thursday. That exceeds the reading from 2017, which set the previous record of 63.6 inches on April 20.

Wet weather drove the drought from Douglas County in March, which was the third wettest since records started being kept in 1906 with 3.33 inches. It has been 38 years since the 5.17-inch record was set in 1995, according to National Weather Service records. That’s in addition to 8.33 inches in January, which broke a 114-year-old record and the third-wettest December.

Streams coming out of both the Sierra and the Pine Nuts are running higher as snow melts in the lower elevations.

River Math
The East Fork crested 9:15 p.m. April 11 with 3,390 cubic feet per second or 1,521,432 gallons per minute. An Olympic-sized swimming pool contains 660,000 gallons of water. That’s 2.3 swimming pools worth of water every minute.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment