Flood watch issued for West Fork | RecordCourier.com

Flood watch issued for West Fork

Jobs Peak is reflected in the water covering a field.
Tim Berube

A flood watch has been issued for the West Fork of the Carson River in Carson Valley by the National Weather Service.

The watch for late Thursday through Saturday morning was issued at 12:31 p.m. Tuesday, according to the weather service’s web site.

The West Fork is expected to approach flood stage late tonight and Friday nights with flooding possible on Friday and Saturday mornings in Carson Valley.

“Potential flooding impacts are expected to remain in agricultural areas of Carson Valley, with flooding possible on to or over rural east to west oriented roads crossing the Valley,” forecasters said.

That would affect Centerville and Mottsville Lanes just east of Foothill Road.

According to the Weather Service, the West Fork is expected to crest and begin to subside by midnight Sunday.

Both forks of the Carson River are filling with snowmelt from what has been a substantially productive winter.

However, the East Fork entering Carson Valley isn’t forecast to rise above the action stage this week, cresting at 12.3 feet, well short of the 14-foot flood stage. Its peak discharge on Jan. 8, 2017, was 9,770 feet, which brought it to 13.13 feet.

In comparison, the New Year’s Flood of 1997 saw 20,300 cubic feet per second.

Snow telemetry in the Sierra shows there’s still plenty of water.

As of Wednesday, the basin is at 209 percent of snow-water equivalent, according to the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

That translates into 58.1 inches of water in the snow at Ebbetts Pass, located at the headwaters of the East Fork. That’s down from 62.4 inches on April 17.

There are 47.8 inches of water in the snow at Carson Pass, which feeds the West Fork. That’s down from 50.4 inches on April 17.

Snowmelt is the chief source of water for agriculture in Carson Valley.