Flood levels are expected to peak mid-day Sunday along the Truckee River through Reno and Sparks, the National Weather Service reported at a briefing this afternoon. Water levels are forecast to recede below flood level in Reno late Sunday night and Monday morning at the Vista Gauge in Sparks.
The Regional Emergency Operations Center (REOC) was opened yesterday, along with Sparks’ EOC locations. Based on today’s 3:00 p.m. briefing of state, county and city officials, as well as representatives from utilities, medical responders, the Reno/Tahoe airport, the Red Cross and others, the REOC would like to issue the following information:
Weather & Flooding. The National Weather Service reported rainfall levels tomorrow are expected to be 1 -2 inches on the valley floor, with 2 -5 inches in the mountains. The Truckee River water level at the Reno Gauge (monitoring station located near Sutro) will be at 11 feet, which is at flood stage level for that location. Minor flooding is expected at Idlewild and the other downtown parks with flooding at approximately 11 feet deep along the tops of the banks of the river.
Peak river levels at the Vista Gauge (located near Vista Blvd. Freeway offramp in Sparks) is predicted to be at 19.2 feet, which is 4.2 feet above flood stage of 15 feet for that location. Although these levels are near those experienced in the 1997 New Years Day Flood, officials stress that the water flows are substantially less. Peak flows are expected to be at 12,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is well below 1997 peak flows. The flood depths expected are from 1 to 4 feet in the Sparks Industrial Park area and south of the river to Mira Loma Drive. Moderate flooding is also expected from Vista Drive in Sparks downstream to Nixon.
Flooding will most likely occur in all areas of Washoe County to some degree on several of the small creeks and streams, and all local governments have been inundated with requests for sandbags. Sandbags continue to be available with plenty of sand on hand. For the nearest sandbag location, please visit floodawareness.com for a map and list of the locations.
Upstream Flows Reduced. Officials say a major difference between the 1997 flood event and the current situation is that upstream storage is well below capacity including Lake Tahoe and other upstream reservoirs. The Federal Water Master has reduced flows out of Boca and Prosser Reservoirs and reduced flows to a minimum at Lake Tahoe.
High Wind Warning. High winds are expected starting Saturday evening and will continue through Sunday morning with speeds of 70 mph on the valley floor, 80–90 mph in the foothills and gusts of up to 130 mph in the Sierras after midnight through the early morning hours. This wind event could cause potential closures for I-580 and Washoe Valley. Visit the Nevada Department of Transportation website for updated information at www.nevadadot.com/Traveler_Info/Traveler_Information.aspx. Due to the high wind event and saturated soils, residents are cautioned to watch for downed trees and other debris and can report damage or clean-up by calling the 211 information center.
To date, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport is open. People are asked to call their individual airlines for flight information and possible closures.
Road Closures. The City of Reno will be closing the downtown Virginia Street and Arlington bridges starting at 8:00a.m. on Sunday, December 2. Bridges will remain closed for the duration of the storm and flooding event.
The City of Sparks Police Department will begin road closures at approximately 8:00 am on Sunday, December 2. Based on the projected increase in river flows and flooding, the Police Department will close all access to the Sparks Industrial Area at 10:00 am.
Road closures will be at the following locations: Vista Boulevard and I-80; Sparks Boulevard and I-80; McCarran Boulevard and E. Nugget Ave; Rock Boulevard and I-80; and Galletti Way and Kietzke Lane.
Road closures will be in effect until it is determined that the area is safe for citizens to return to their businesses or residences.
Evacuation Center. Citizens who need a place to go due to the extreme weather and flooding may use the Evacuation Center at Sparks High School (located at 820 15th Street, Sparks) beginning at 12:00 noon on Sunday, December 2. Please remember to bring any and all necessary personal items and medications needed through the duration of evacuation. The Washoe County Social Services Department will also be available at the evacuation center for those who may be in need of their services.
The Red Cross and Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS) will be co-located at Sparks High School with the intent that citizens and their animals can remain on the same site. The Red Cross will be setting up in the large gym with coffee, snacks, and water. If you need to bring your pet to the evacuation center please bring any medications and/or special food your pet requires along with their collar and license/rabies tag. If you need assistance with your pet or are concerned for any animal please call Animal Services Dispatch at 322-3647.
Declaration of Emergency. The cities of Reno and Sparks and Washoe County have issued Declaration of Emergencies for their individual jurisdictions as required by the State of Nevada to activate state resources such as the Nevada National Guard. The state has already deployed equipment and personnel to assist local officials.
Emergency Calls. Law enforcement officials are asking residents to only call 911 if there is an imminent danger. Because of the high volume of calls in 911, dispatchers are not able to answer non-emergency calls. Non-emergency call should be directed to 211 or 775-784-8085. Law enforcement is responding to emergencies only.
Regional emergency response officials ask for the public’s help during this flood event. Specifically, residents are asked:
- DO NOT DRIVE ON THE ROADS AND HIGHWAYS UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. STAY HOME.
- DO NOT WALK OR DRIVE IN FLOOD WATERS AS THERE ARE HAZARDS WITHIN THE WATERS AND COULD BE CONTAMNINATED.
- IF YOU MUST DRIVE, SLOW DOWN. LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORTS SEVERAL ACCIDENTS DUE TO PEOPLE DRIVING TOO FAST ON FLOODED AND HIGH WIND ROADS.
- AVOID PARKS, BIKEWAYS AND PEDESTRIAN PATHS ALONG THE TRUCKEE RIVER SPANNING FROM THE STEAMBOAT DITCH ALL THE WAY THROUGH EAST SPARKS.
- WATCH FOR DEBRIS AND EXERCISE EXTRA CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
- IF YOU ARE ASKED TO EVACUATE, PLEASE TAKE MEDICATION, IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS AND PETS WITH YOU. YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO RETURN FOR SEVERAL HOURS OR EVEN DAYS.
- IF YOU LIVE IN A LOW-LYING AREA NEAR THE RIVER, STREAMS, DITCHES OR CULVERTS, MONITOR THE SITUATION. CREWS ARE OUT CLEARING THESE OF DEBRIS AS MUCH AS THEY CAN, BUT YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS TOO.
- IF YOU NEED SANDBAGGING SUPPLIES, YOU CAN OBTAIN THEM FROM VARIOUS FIRE STATIONS THROUGHOUT TOWN. CHECK OUT WWW.FLOODAWARENESS.COM FOR LOCATIONS. IF IN WASHOE COUNTY, CALL 328-2180, IN RENO CALL 334-4636, AND IN SPARKS CALL 353-5555 FOR SANDBAGS.
- IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL 911, IF NOT CALL 211 OR 775-784-8085 FOR INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE.