Threat of flooding minor |

Threat of flooding minor

by Amy Alonzo
Widespread flooding in the Carson Valley has not happened as predicted after the record winter of 2016-17.
Brad Coman |

Moderate weather has eased the threat of spring flooding and future runoff is more likely to be an inconvenience than a threat, according to local officials.

“We should be OK, other than those times when it becomes more of an inconvenience than a disaster,” said East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini. “The weather has actually cooperated quite well over the past several weeks where we didn’t actually get the hot temperatures we would normally get.”

At an April meeting Douglas commissioners declared a preemptive state of emergency in anticipation of spring flooding. The declaration, made in preparation for “substantial water runoff [that] has the potential to destroy significant amounts of property and will threaten the lives of Douglas County residents,” was the third made within a four-month period. Emergency declarations were made in January and February following flooding.

At the April meeting, Carlini said flooding was expected in the Valley during a two-week period around Memorial Day. While routes such as Mottsville Lane have closed periodically due to water on the road, flooding has been pretty mild.

“We got some cooler temperatures,” Carlini said of the lack of flooding over the holiday weekend. “It doesn’t take very much for it to change the snowmelt and the runoff. The weather cooperated.”

The mostly-mild spring weather the Valley has enjoyed is set to disappear this week, as temperatures are expected to hit the upper 90s Monday and Tuesday.

“When it gets hotter, we could see river levels climb up closer to flood level, but we won’t see it climb up to the level it was at earlier this year,” said Mark Deutschendorf, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “For the rest of June there could be some minor flooding during heat waves.”

As of Friday, the East Fork of the Carson Valley River was at 11.77 feet. Flood stage is at 13.8 feet. The West Fork of the river was at 12.46 feet, with flood stage at 14 feet.

As Valley residents head out to enjoy the sunny skies and warm temperatures, Carlini asked that people remain vigilant when participating in activities on the water.

Carlini said he hasn’t seen a rise in water-related incidents yet this year, but people should look out for fast-moving currents, submerged objects and undertows.

“Everyone seems very respectful of the river,” he said. “It’s been awhile since we’ve had this much water in the river…. We certainly want to encourage everyone if that’s what they want to do, do it safely. You can really underestimate the power of water.”