LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It has been a busy 36 hours for Las Vegas fire crews responding to dozens of water rescues. Clark County officials are calling the recent rainfall a “significant weather event” that is testing the valley’s flood channels and basins.
Melissa French of Regional Flood Control took 8 News Now on a tour around the Tropicana Detention Basin.
Littered across the basin were items that could be found in a dump. 8 News Now found plastic bottles, a mattress, several couches, a glass canister, a propane tank, and toys.
“It’s really important to pick up your trash. Not only is it just the garbage but pet waste,” French said.
There was even a skeleton that was intact, so it’s safe to assume it’s not from a real human.
Most of the water that falls in Clark County eventually makes it to one of the dozens of basins, and with it, all the debris that it picks up.
“This is our drinking water. All this water will end up at Lake Mead. You can see there’s quite a bit of debris that’s been left over,” French said. “We have 106 detention basins, and the flood control facilities were working as designed.”
By design, certain streets will flood in Clark County as water moves swiftly along the 684 miles of flood channels to a detention basin, according to the Regional Flood Control.
This is why it’s important for people to avoid getting near the channels, a point that rings true for the number of homeless people who live in them.
“There’s always a chance that rain could be falling on the west side of town and that water could be moving quickly into the detention basins,” French said. “You might get caught off guard. You may be injured or lose your life.”
French also recommends not driving through flood-prone roads. It only takes about 6 inches of moving water to knock down an adult, and 18 inches to push a vehicle.