LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — One of the Las Vegas valley’s worst floods happened on July 8, 1999. Homes were lost and lives were changed.
The flood hit hardest at Miracle Mile Mobile Home Park near the edge of the Flamingo Wash, on Boulder Highway, near Sandhill Road and Sahara Avenue.
Residents remember all to well how the day started. What they didn’t know is how it would end.
“It started raining when we were over here on the Strip side of town but nothing like out of the ordinary rain,” said Sereafin Calvo, Las Vegas resident.
When it rains in southern Nevada, there is always concern of flooding. It’s something Calvo was familiar with, so he was cautious. However, July 8, 1999 was different.
“By the time we got down to Sahara, like Maryland Parkway-Sahara area, it had flooded like really, really quickly,” he said. “It was scary because Sahara turned into a river and there was a lot of rushing water traveling eastbound and the cars that were parked were being tossed around.”
At the time, Calvo worked for the city of Las Vegas wastewater treatment plant. He and a coworker were driving a huge motor back to the plant.
“As we continued to drive eastbound, we saw more vehicles that were stranded, stuck,” he said. “The streets were like rivers. Everything was flooded. You couldn’t see anything. So, you don’t know if you’re going to make it through.”
They did make it through, but not before witnessing several homes at the Miracle Mile Mobile Home Park slide into the Flamingo Wash floodwaters.
“You see all these catastrophes that happen in other parts of the world, in other parts of the country. You say wow I’m lucky I live in Vegas. That was probably the closest to one of those disasters that I’ve seen on TV,” Calvo said.
Because of what happened at the mobile home park and in other parts of the valley, Clark County declared a State of Emergency and ever since then the messages are loud and clear.
“There’s a lot of campaigns that tell you don’t drive into flooded waters. Listen to it. At a minimum you could ruin your vehicle and the extreme is that you can lose your life,” he said. “Don’t take the chance. Be prepared.”
The 1999 storm was so unusual because it dumped three inches of rain in 90 minutes.
It was so much rain in a short period of time that it caused widespread drainage problems, causing street flooding and record high flows in wash areas and flood control facilities.