Mt. Charleston areas under threat of potential flooding - 8 News NOW

Mt. Charleston areas under threat of potential flooding

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Courtesy: National Weather Service Courtesy: National Weather Service
Courtesy: National Weather Service Courtesy: National Weather Service
Courtesy: National Weather Service Courtesy: National Weather Service

MOUNT CHARLESTON, Nev. - Flooding became a nightmare last year for people living on Mount Charleston and in the northwest part of the valley.

Forecasters will keep a close eye on monsoon season this year. That's because if heavy rain falls on burned areas of Mount Charleston, it could cause major flooding and debris flows for residents of the mountain and some valley neighborhoods.

Rain water charged through the Rainbow Canyon subdivision last year. The water was raging so fast, search and rescue teams had to bring residents to safety. Flash floods tore mountain roads and ripped sections of homes with mud, rocks and water. The damaging debris flows sheared the bark off of trees.

Weather officials say they are concerned if a storm drops a few inches of rain in some areas of the mountain, the same problems from last year could re-emerge.

“The soils up there become hydrophobic, which means the water runs off readily fast,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Lericos. “So, the same debris flows and flash flooding that we saw last year could easily occur this year. The steepness of the slope, the amount and the rate at which the rain falls are two of the factors that make the runoff so fast and so dangerous.”

Trout Canyon Road, Kyle Canyon Road, Harris Springs Road, Highway 157, Highway 160, Lovell Canyon Road and the area near U.S. 95 and Farm Road remain under a high threat of flooding.

The National Weather Service is working with the Regional Flood Control District to add rain gauges near Kyle Canyon Road. The gauges will help weather forecasters better estimate how much rain is falling in Harris Canyon, so they better prepare residents.

The flood project, meanwhile, is making progress at Grand Teton Drive, and the Forest Service is engaged in runoff mitigation. The process, however, is slow-moving, and officials say little progress has been made at Rainbow Canyon.

If you live on the mountain or plan to hike or camp there this summer, pay attention to the forecast and change your plans if conditions get too dangerous.

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