Streams, Ditches Could Cause Some Neighborhood Flooding - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Streams, Ditches Could Cause Some Neighborhood Flooding

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The Truckee and Carson Rivers are being watched closely, with flooding expected this weekend.  While those can cause significant damage, so can the area's streams and ditches, which run throughout the Truckee Meadows and Washoe County.  The Steamboat Creek runs along Hidden Valley, and it has flooded the neighborhood twice before. 

Mel Watson's home flooded in 2005 and 1997, when about six feet of water filled the lower level of his house.  He is preparing for the worst, this time around.

"We have to because this room always floods and we've had flooding in our garage, too," Watson said.

Watson is 78 years old, so some friends came over to help him prepare for the flood.  The first job was to move things out of the basement.

"So far, we've moved all the furniture out of here and we're going to move all the cars out of the garages, prior to Sunday," Watson said.

Connor McPhail is a Reno High School student, who spent the day helping Watson.  He helped move that furniture out of the flood zone.

"We moved a bunch of furniture from the basement up to the top level of the house and we had to put some furniture on the pool table," McPhail said.

He also helped fill sandbags and truck them over to Watson's house.  Once those are stacked, they will start on the side of the house.

"We're going to be putting some black plastic alongside of the garages and the sides of the house," Watson said.

Emergency officials say anyone living in low-lying areas, near creeks or ditches should take a look at their property.

"Any of the named creeks have the potential for flooding in prolonged rain and that's what we expect," Aaron Kenneston, Washoe County Emergency Manager said. "We want people to be aware of their surroundings, check their property, and if you have areas that are prone to flooding, in other words, if they flooded in 2005, you should be very aware of that."

Part of the problem with the streams and ditches is the amount of river flow.  The ditches were designed to handle a couple hundred cubic feet per second, but when rivers can handle thousands of CFS.  When river water finds its way into the ditches, they can overflow.  Rain runoff can also overwhelm the system for ditches and creeks.

Carole Billau's home flooded in 1997, after the Steamboat Creek rose above the levy and ran through her neighborhood.  While her house had about two inches of water in it, her neighbor's had a couple of feet.

"They rise fast and when you see it rising, get your cars out. Get to higher ground," Billau said.

Like others, Billau started filling sandbags, Friday morning.  She plans on stacking them in front of her house, Saturday.

"It's back-breaking work and what I really feel bad for is that we have elderly neighbors," Billau said.

Emergency officials are keeping a close eye on burn areas from recent wildfires.  The Sutcliffe and Little Valley burn areas could both present challenges because of water runoff and erosion.  The Little Valley has 28 inches of snow, which could melt in the rain storm and could flood the community down below.

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