Flooding Could Cost Lyon County Millions
Wednesday's rain storm brought high amounts of precipitation to northern Nevada, and while many were watching the river flows, it was flash flooding that caused damage to homes, barns, and infrastructure in Central Lyon County.
Wednesday's rain storm brought high amounts of precipitation to northern Nevada, and while many were watching the river flows, it was flash flooding that caused damage to homes, barns, and infrastructure in central Lyon County. About 300-400 homes were affected by the flash floods in Dayton, alone.
"It's amazing, the amount of water that was here and how badly it affected people's homes and property," Jeff Page, Lyon County Manager said.
Many residents voiced concerns about how county leaders should have done a better job of diverting the water away from their communities, but Page says that would have been very difficult to do with such an extreme and unprecedented storm.
"The drainage system out here is designed for normal runoff, not for water like this," Page said. "We've had people who have taken out their culvert pipes and graded in their driveways. So, it backed up. We've had ditches that people blocked off or changed the pipe size."
Page says the hardest hit areas of Dayton have never flooded before, but that the storm was too much for the area to handle.
John Gavin is a rancher along the Carson River, on the east side of Dayton. He was one of about 50 people who helped shore up an area of the Cardelli Ditch, which broke and allowed water to flood through the area.
"He probably had a 30-foot break, so that became the Cardelli Ditch, and all the runoff from the mountains came down, went down that ditch and into his yard," Gavin said.
The water flooded a detached garage, and left a muddy mess in the driveway. Resources were stretched thin, since the flooding and other storm-related issues were happening across the region. Lyon County had about ten road workers and 20 utility workers to handle Dayton's problems. That is why volunteers and community involvement was critical.
"It really does take a group of people to make a neighborhood and we all jumped in and did what we knew how to do," Gavin said.
While the water has receded, there is a lot of work ahead. Residents are encouraged to report their structural damage to Lyon County as soon as possible. Once the county reaches the required threshold, a presidential declaration could be made. Page says it would allow homeowners to qualify for low-interest loans to repair their homes. It does not include damage to landscaping.
"The sooner we know about it, the sooner we can bet to the state so that we can meet that threshold and get individual assistance out here," Page said.
While hundreds of people will be affected, financially, by the flooding, it will cost the county at least seven figures to repair roads and ditches.
"Our preliminary assessment, right now, just on public infrastructure is about $1.3 million, and we're not going to be surprised if we double or triple that by the time we get done with this assessment," Page said. "It takes about $5,000 a mile to deal with the drainages, and you add another $2,500 on top of that for each culvert that has to be replaced. So, $7,500 a mile."
With possible storms on the way, residents are encouraged to leave their sandbags in place. Others in the Dayton area can pick up sand bags at a number of locations. Flooding will continue in the future, but Page is hoping to find a way to help reduce its impact.
"Now, it's time to figure out how we deal with getting the water where it needs to go, safely, with the least amount of impact to private property," Page said.