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Last week’s flood topped by previous years’ storms

by Linda Monohan

You’ve heard the old expression, “The good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise?” Well, the creek did rise out here in Fish Springs last weekend, as it did throughout the whole county. But it looked like Fish Springs weathered the storm a whole lot better than many other areas of Douglas County. We were lucky that the snow pack in the Pine Nut Mountains was comparatively light so the heavy downpour of rain didn’t have as much to melt.

Our little mile-high valley fared better with this storm than we did in some past ones. There was plenty of warning last week about the impending wind and rain and people were prepared. For the most part, residents took care of themselves and their property. Neighbors also helped each other. I met two new residents of Fish Springs who came to the fire house to fill sandbags, even though their home was not in danger of the flood waters. Joe Nenzel and his teenage son Trevor helped a lot and we certainly appreciate them. And once again, Nancy and Steve Swart were out there shoveling sand, just as they did during a severe flood on March 10, 1995. That one was a spring flood and the major roadways in Fish Springs were rendered impassable. Lupo Lane was renamed “Lupo Falls” by the nearby residents.

During another flood event back in 1986, my husband and I couldn’t get to our house at the north end of Fish Springs until after midnight when the flooded roads were finally passable. By the time we made it home, our long dirt and gravel driveway had washed out. We parked the truck on the road and walked through two-feet of standing murky water, the “seasonal stream” that crossed our property.

As the storm was brewing last Saturday morning, we saw a few people clearing debris from their clogged up culverts and that prevented them from overflowing and flooding their yards and homes. It seems appropriate that residents clean out the culverts under their driveways as the county won’t have time to do it during a wide-spread situation like we had last Saturday. Some of the culverts in Fish Springs are too small to handle the large amounts of fast-moving water, so the water backs up and comes over the roadway and sometimes undermines the road. The concrete dip sections on Jo Lane, Out-R-Way, Mel Drive and Calle Pequeno filled up with water, as they were designed to. The Buckeye Creek was flowing very fast and very efficient through the culvert under East Valley Road.

Be prepared. If there are any culverts around your property, clean them out. Have enough food and bottled water to survive for at least a week. Filling your bathtubs with water is a good idea. Have a family plan for evacuation and make arrangements ahead with relatives or friends that you can stay with. Keep your kids away from the fast-moving creek water as the banks can break away without warning and pull your child in. Don’t cross flooded roads. The roadbed might be washed out under the water. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles. If barricades block your route, find another route.

If your well cap gets covered with water during a flood, you should have the water tested by the health department before drinking it. As in past flood events, sand and sandbags are available at local fire stations. The Fish Springs Volunteer Fire Station is located on the corner of Fish Springs Road and Myers Drive. Our thanks to the NDF inmate crew that came out and worked hard cleaning up the road debris and clearing out the street culverts here in Fish Springs. We know the creeks are going to rise again. It’s inevitable. Sudden floods have helped to shape our beautiful high desert valley in the past, and no doubt they will also be a part of our future.

And then the snow came down.

On Sunday and Monday, beautiful, deep, clean, white snow covered all the mud and debris of the flood. While my husband shoveled our walkways and driveway, I tromped around our 5-acre yard and knocked the heavy snow off many big old Juniper tree branches that bent down to the ground. I was too late for some of them as the branches had already broken. Guess that’s nature’s way of pruning.

Life goes on.