Preparations underway for flooding |

Preparations underway for flooding

People fill sandbags at the Johnson lane fire department Friday afternoon.
Brad Coman |

Carson Valley residents took advantage of a break in the weather on Friday to prepare for forecast heavy rain and rapid snowmelt by sandbagging and clearing storm drains.

“Now is the time to be working on preparations for flooding ­— along rivers and near flood prone areas in the Sierra and Western Nevada,” said Chris Smalcomb, National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist “Make good use of the time available because Saturday weather will not be as favorable for flood preparations and significant flooding is likely Sunday.”

A winter weather advisory goes into effect 4 a.m. Saturday, according to the weather service. A flood watch takes effect at 4 a.m. Sunday, and has been upgraded to a flood warning for early Monday morning.

“At this point we’re in the ‘get ready’ stage — inventorying resources, assigning staff responsibilities, pre-planning for stream flow issues, and watching the weather,” Douglas County Manager Larry Werner said.

One of the first communities along the East Fork of the Carson River is Carson Valley’s largest, the Gardnerville Ranchos.

“Our storm drain system is holding up well,” Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District Manager Bob Spellberg said. “If we have an issue it will be with the basins on Tillman Lane. We have cleared our drop inlets and cleared the county’s on Tillman and west Kimmerling.”

Carson Valley Golf Course is one of the first places to be flooded in the Valley, and some of the Ranchos wells are located there.

“We are preparing to protect our wells on the golf course,” Spellberg said. “We will be working with emergency management if it gets really bad.”

Spellberg said work on a half-mile restoration project on the East Fork between Washoe Tribe land south of the Carson Valley Golf Course conducted last year could help preserve the area.

“We are hoping that the work that was done on the river this summer will stop any breaches of the banks,” he said.

Further north, the Nevada Department of Transportation in 2016 completed $1.6 million in work to retrofit Cradlebaugh bridge crossing the main stem of the river on Highway 395.

Roughly 8,000 cubic yards of rock was also placed in the riverbed to reduce future erosion of the bridge supports.

Gardnerville Town Manager Tom Dallaire said keeping the town’s drains clear will be a priority during the storm, which is the the Valley’s fourth atmospheric river of the water year, which began Oct. 1.

“We will be monitoring the drainage system in town,” he said. “Town staff has removed ice and snow from the catch basins and drop inlets and gutters and will be monitoring the drainage system over the weekend.”

Dallaire suggested that residents should be prepared to stay home during the storm. The town prepared a list of items for a 72-hour emergency kit, which can be found at

Indian Hills General Improvement District Manager John Lufrano said the district is working with emergency management in preparation.

“We typically make sure all of our storm water facilities are flowing without obstructions,” Lufrano said. “I’m in contact with Chief Tod Carlini and his office, they are aware of equipment we have that may be of use throughout the County. I’ll have three field staff along with myself on standby for any emergency that may arise within the District or if East Fork request assistance.”

The East Fork Fire Protection District, serving as Douglas County Emergency Management under contract, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas County Road Department, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District and several other entities, including the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, are working together and staying in close communication with the National Weather Service and Nevada Division of Emergency Management to monitor changing conditions, spokeswoman Melissa Blosser said.

Residents should be advised that weather conditions can change quickly. Douglas County Emergency Management is advising residents to be prepared with a 72-hour kit, which should include extra water, a three-day food supply, flashlight with batteries, first aid kit and an AM/FM radio.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said he has been briefed by the state department of emergency management.

“I have been updated on potential disaster preparations at the local, county, and state level,” he said. “The State will do whatever it takes to ensure that the local, county and tribal partners have the resources they need to manage this potential disaster and protect our citizens.”

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