LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Access to Mount Charleston communities remained limited or completely closed off over two weeks after Hurricane Hilary ravaged transportation connections throughout small residential communities.
A contractor hired by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) began repairing roads where eight or more feet of pavement washed away during the late-August flooding that prevented access to multiple subdivisions.
Previous news conferences indicated that it could take until winter to fully fix those roads.
NV Energy said the entire mountain was reenergized within days of the initial floods, and the Las Vegas Valley Water District lifted most boil water notices on Saturday.
However, some residents are skeptical about trusting that water.
Chris Wills evacuated his longtime residence in the Rainbow subdivision ahead of the rain and returned as a witness to damages through the water system on the mountain.
“We have a water tank there for the other neighbors to come and get because even though it says water is good in our neighborhood, we’re not drinking it,” Wills said Monday morning. “I don’t get to go up and visit my neighbors up the hill because it’s too dangerous of a drive.”
While those such as Wills know going ‘back to normal’ is a long way away, they also acknowledge the journey there can be uplifting.
That was demonstrated Monday morning during one of the first community events since the floods.
The Retreat – which was initially a shelter for residents, first responders, and utility crews during the storm’s onset – held its Labor Day Food & Artisan Festival Monday morning amidst construction trucks hauling in construction materials and neighbors seeing each other after weeks again.
Owner Deanna Crossman said it was meant to unite mountain communities by disconnecting obstacles.
“All the small businesses have to look out for each other,” Crossman said in the hotel’s patio with vendors surrounding her. “A rising tide rises all ships, right? The more we synergize together, the more we all win and bring awareness to the greatness of Mount Charleston, even when there’s devastation above.”
Wills featured his most recent statues and bowls along with Catherine Britton, who jointly runs Cathe’s Art Studio in Las Vegas.
“They didn’t know that we existed until we were here,” Britton said, speaking of the exposure her business received during the event.
The exposure and reconnections are what Wills said give him and his neighbors remnants of normal that they will one day live again.
“It’s been a great way to relieve the stress in a great way,” Wills said, speaking of how his art has stabilized him throughout the past two weeks. “Totally a form of therapy.”
Clark County said the brunt of the past weekend’s storms was felt in the valley, with the mountain communities relatively unscathed.
Crossman said despite some minor mudslides, her retreat saw little impact from the rain.