Be prepared for potential flooding |

Be prepared for potential flooding

A deep snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, a reservoir more than half full and two more months of winter … could it be the perfect storm that may lead to spring flooding in the Lahontan Valley?

While areas west of Fallon have already experienced some minor winter flooding, runoff from the spring thaw could cause more widespread flooding including areas downstream of the Carson River in Churchill County.

It seems like every 5 to 10 years this area experiences flooding of some type. The last major flooding affecting Churchill County occurred during the 1996-1997 winter floods and before that in 1983.

The Churchill County Sheriff’s Office, the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District TCID, emergency management officials from the county and city and other agencies have been meeting to formulate emergency plans. In less than a month, the number of acre feet (about 326,000 gallons) in Lahontan has more than doubled yet below the safe capacity of 295,000 acre-feet.

The agencies are asking residents who live near the river to check for any obstructions that could back up water onto property. Furthermore, local government officials in Churchill and Lyon counties and beyond emphasize that no scenario should be overlooked.It’s not a matter of if they happen, but when.

Flooding can be costly when considering personal monetary and property loss — and also the potential for loss of life.

In the meantime, though, the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA has tips for residents in potentially affected areas:

Know your flood risk. Learn whether you live, work or travel through areas prone to flooding.

Monitor weather reports provided by your local news media.

Find out what alerts are available in your area.

Consider buying a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards receiver, which receives broadcast alerts directly from the National Weather Service.

Think about how you will stay informed if there is a power outage.

Know your evacuation routes; plan your transportation and a place to stay.

Know your community’s local flood evacuation plan and identify several escape routes for your location if roads are blocked.

If you will evacuate by car, keep your car fueled and in good condition. Keep emergency supplies and a change of clothes in your car.

If you have pets and plan to go to a shelter, call to inquire whether the shelter can accommodate your pets. Shelters will accept service animals.

Practice how you will communicate with family members. Decide where the members of your household will meet after the flood.

LVN editorials appear on Wednesdays.