County Declares Emergency as Storm Slams Southern Nevada - 8 News NOW

County Declares Emergency as Storm Slams Southern Nevada

Posted: Updated:
Packing sandbags in Mesquite Packing sandbags in Mesquite

LAS VEGAS -- Clark County is under a state of emergency after a winter storm dumped rain all over southern Nevada.

Clark County Manager Virginia Valentine issued a declaration of emergency to deal with threats of flooding in southern Nevada. The county has set up an emergency operations center to help coordinate the response to the emergency.

"Clark County has issued an emergency declaration to help the community cope with widespread impacts from this incident," said Valentine in a statement.

Southern Nevada and the western United States are getting drenched by this powerful and very slow moving storm system. Residents of the Coyote Springs Golf Course in Mesquite are banding together to throw sandbags in the path of the flood waters. So far, it has been successful in the neighborhood.

Upstream, neighborhoods are not so lucky. Earthmovers at Beaver Dam Estates tried to scoop up mud to create a makeshift dam. Most of the time, they just seemed to be scooping up muddy water.

Looking at the Riverside Bridge in Mesquite is a good indicator of how quickly the water levels are rising. At 8 a.m., there was still 10 feet of bridge pylon visible. Now, it is getting close to the steel support beams. The National Weather Service says the river has not crested yet.

Some of the heaviest rain has fallen in the west part of the valley in and around Red Rock Canyon.

There is a lot of standing water in the valley and there's been some minor flooding in some places. The rain runoff goes downhill and in Las Vegas, from the northwest to the southeast. Washes built to prevent major flooding are doing their job, but the water in them is high and running fast. The washes and some areas around them are dangerous.

Areas outside Las Vegas are also being affected. The rains have caused the Virgin River to swell to dangerous levels but because of the danger the Red Cross has opened an evacuation shelter for residents of the Beaver Dam and Littlefield areas near Mesquite at the Virgin Valley High School. They expect 100 people to arrive tonight.

Those two towns are on the river just across the Nevada border in Arizona.

There has already been some flooding in southern Utah. The mayor of St. George has declared a state of emergency for his town and Zion National Park is closed.

St. George Mayor Daniel McArthur declared a state of emergency because of heavy rain and flooding to the Virgin and Santa Clara Rivers. Flooding has caused several road closures.

The heavy snow on Mount Charleston is good for the ski resort, bad for residents.

State Route 156, the road to the Lee Canyon, is closed because of the weather. SR-157, the road to Kyle Canyon, is closed to all but four-wheel drives and vehicles with chains. It also could be shut down completely because of the storm. SR-158, connecting Lee and Kyle Canyons, is also closed.

About 300 to 600 people have lost power on Mt. Charleston because the wet, heavy snow knocked down power lines. NV Energy says the situation at Mt. Charleston is "extremely dangerous." Crews say it is the worst storm they have ever seen on the mountain. Snow is building up on power lines and on trees, which are falling on to power lines.

NV Energy says it will take at least 72 hours to get the main power lines up and running and then crews will begin restoring individual lines.

The Red Rock scenic drive and visitor's center, along with State Route 159, the road through Red Rock, are closed because of flooding and debris on the roads.

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