A series of thunderstorms pounded Washoe County from June 29 to July 8, 2015 leading to a significant amount of flash flooding, especially in the North Valleys.
Washoe County Community Services Department Director Dave Solaro said the intense rainfall caused county storm drains to clog and overflow. He said flash flooding damaged landscaping and flooded inside some homes.
“Washoe County’s storm water conveyance systems are designed to convey the regular and persistent storm water flows from small events and are regulated within Washoe County Code Chapter 110,” Solaro said. “However, this series of storms were extremely intense events producing large volumes of water. In Lemmon Valley, we had a one in 500 chance of this severe of a storm actually happening. Unfortunately, we can’t control nature and many residents were caught in the path of a powerful storm.”
Lemmon Valley residents claimed that the county was not doing enough. Engineering and Capital Projects Director Dwayne Smith reiterated that from an engineering standpoint, the North Valleys drainage ditches were not meant to withstand the force of these storms.
“They meet minimum design standards,” he said. “Anything over that, it’s going to overwhelm these systems. Washoe County’s job is to maintain the ditches. Are they perfect? Absolutely not, but (county staff) busted their tails out there during the floods and the following week.”
The flash flood damages did not meet state or federal criteria for emergency funding.
Commissioner Bob Lucey commended Solaro and the roads team on their work to help residents.
“This is a large area and the population is extremely spread out which makes it difficult to respond,” Lucey said. “However, the job Washoe County roads crews did to clean drains and respond to residents’ needs is impressive.”
Washoe County has identified funds to help flood victims.
“The County Manager, staff and all Washoe County Commissioners all care deeply for the residents in Lemmon Valley,” Commissioner Jeanne Herman said. “We are all working hard to find solutions to help Lemmon Valley residents clean, rebuild and fix the damage done by July’s flash flooding.”
From the county:
If you are a resident who would like to be considered for the available grant funds, please the attached form (Lemmon Valley FINAL). If you know of someone who did not receive a letter but should have, we would greatly appreciate you informing them that they can access the form on the county’s website at: www.Washoecounty.us or call Andrea Tavener at (775)-328-2720.
These funds may be used for rehabilitation that include: flooring, and/or limited structural repairs to make these homes safer, and healthier. Funds cannot be used for landscaping or other nonessential repairs and have associated income eligibility requirements.
The deadline is October 31, 2015.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.