Washoe County declared a state of emergency Friday through Monday. A series of storms approaches that could flood the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, residential and industrial areas where 25,000 people live and work.
The Truckee River is already flooding two parks. Warm storms known as atmospheric rivers headed this way are expected to melt snow as high as 9,000 feet and send more water barreling down. People like to watch the river rise.
“Please Stay away from the Truckee river,” says Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve who was at the county emergency declaration today. “I know that it can look incredibly awesome but it can be very dangerous, it moves extremely fast and it is very, very cold”
An industrial area in Sparks, that’s east of Reno is in the most danger of flooding.
People are filling sand bags in sub zero temperatures 24-7. The county passed out 50,000 bags here yesterday. Laura Floyd owner of ABM Janitorial was filling 60. Her business was damaged in the last flood back in 2005.
“The carpets, the furniture, some documents and computers. That was the big damage for us,” says Floyd.
Sparks Councilman Ron Smith says people need to secure industrial materials and waste.
“The floating of barrels of whatever it may be, because we don’t know what is in those barrels, they will be floating around the City of Sparks,” says Smith.
The Truckee River Flood Management Authority initially forecasted a 50-year flood, but the storm’s track is moving farther north. If the trend continues, it could turn into a 75 or 100-year flood says executive director Jay Aldean. These storms are extremely hard to predict.
“There are 10 models out there, 9 of them are wrong and 1 of them is definitely useful. It sounds kind of doomsday," says Alden. "At the end of the day it is the best we have."
He doesn’t anticipate damage to be more than $100 million dollars. Then again, a cold front could move in and nothing might happen. The county is implementing flood management to stop this pattern, but to complete it will cost $500-600 million dollars.