Flash Flooding

Flooding and Stormwater Management

The small creeks and the typically dry washes that flow into the Carson Valley from the surrounding mountains are susceptible to occasional flash floods. From their canyons or ravines, a wall of water can rush onto the Valley floor just minutes or hours after after an intense summer thundershower has drenched the headwaters a few miles upstream. These alluvial fan floods are normally associated with intense summer thunderstorms. Localized flooding occurs during these larger storm events, that are common in the Northern Nevada high-desert environment.

Flash Flood Awareness

Douglas County has declared July 2016 as Flash Flood Awareness Month. Douglas County recognizes flash floods as an issue that our residents face each year and provides the following information in an effort to bring awareness to both the causes of flash flooding and recommendations for what residents can help do to prepare should you encounter a flash flood.

Flood Safety Information

  • If you come upon flood waters, stop, turn around, and go another way. Climb to higher ground. If water is moving swiftly, even water six inches deep can knock you off your feet. Many people are swept away wading through flood waters, resulting in injury or death.
  • Stay away from flooded areas. Even if it seems safe, flood waters may still be rising.
  • If flooding occurs, get to higher ground.  Get out of areas subject to flooding.  This includes dips, low spots, drainage ditches, canyons, washes etc.
  • Road beds may be washed out under flood waters.  NEVER drive through flooded roadways - you do not know the condition of the road under the water. Turn around, don't drown.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas.  If floodwaters rise around you car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups.
  • Stay away from creeks and stream banks in flooded and recently flooded areas. The soaked banks often become unstable due to heavy rainfall and can suddenly give way, tossing you into rapidly moving water.
  • Never play around high water, storm drains, ditches, ravines, or culverts. It is very easy to be swept away by fast moving water.
  • Throw away all food that has come into contact with flood waters. Contaminated flood water contains bacteria and germs. Eating foods exposed to flood waters can make you very sick.
  • Keep a first aid kit on hand. An up- to-date emergency kit is always recommended.

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