Lyon County declares state of emergency

The Lyon County Commission on Monday has declared it is in a state of emergency due to the recent severe weather and flooding to seek assistance from the Nevada governor and state agencies.

Lyon’s decision came after a base of snow and water already had settled in the area from the New Year’s weekend storm and in anticipation of new weather events expected as of Tuesday with a potential break Wednesday and Thursday before another system arrives, according to a statement from the county.

During the meeting Monday as the item was introduced, county officials gathered by Zoom, including interim county manager Andrew Haskin, emergency manager Taylor Allison and Sen. and public health officer Robin Titus, Haskin said the county would continue to experience rain through at least Tuesday.

“With some of the snow we’ll have, we’re anticipating some flooding that’s going to come with that,” he said. “We want to be prepared by issuing this declaration.”

Washoe and Storey counties and the City of Reno issued declarations on Friday ahead of the storm that began Sunday night. Officials have been asking residents to prepare for atmospheric river events with sandbagging.

Lyon’s board thanked staff members who have been working diligently since the New Year’s weekend events to help mitigate impacts to residents and businesses

“I would just like to point out Mike Workman (Lyon County’s former utilities director) is one of the strengths of Lyon County,” Commissioner Robert Jacobson said of residents and previous staff members who have helped current officials in geographical areas challenged by the weather. “We have a lot of institutional knowledge. We have a lot of folks who have been there and done that. We have a nice list from Mr. Workman, even if it’s just reminders on where trouble areas may be.”

Jacobson said he was asked about receiving a backhoe for the bridge on Dayton Valley in case a logjam occurs there.

Titus, a resident of Smith Valley, spoke about the county’s response after the New Year’s storm, when residents were without power.

“Notifications went out, and I got called from Dayton residents and Mr. Haskin had sent out information about the warming center … my power was down, my Internet was down,” she said. “…I very much appreciate the commissioners being forward thinking and keeping everybody safe in this.”

Resident Jim Kinninger also expressed concerns about the community being without power for so many days due to the weather.

“The power outage not only stops the electricity, everyone is on a well so it stops the water,” Kinninger said. “Without water, you can’t flush a toilet, much less take a bath. Seniors here have gone to pellet stoves, and without stoves, you have no heat. That combined with the phones being out. If we had one more days, we might have seen people resort to non-heating instruments that could result in asphyxiation and death.”

Kinninger said he hoped to see the emergency funds Lyon receives to create more power long-term or emergency shelters in similar atmospheric river events.

After the meeting Monday, Haskin and Allison told the Appeal Dayton and Mound House continue to be Lyon’s biggest areas of concerns, although officials are eying all areas in the county. Water is expected to rise in streams, creeks, culverts and drainage areas, although river flooding was not anticipated, officials said during the meeting.

“In Dayton, it’s the Dayton Valley Ranchos and Dayton Valley Road and in Mark Twain,” Haskin said.

The county has activated an emergency operations center available to respond to needs across the county. Citizens are encouraged to call 775-461-3757 for flooding and weather-related concerns and assistance.


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