TRFMA works to create flood resilient communities by providing resources to help businesses and residents better prepare for flood emergencies.
Many of the region’s most devastating floods occur during the winter months. The 1997 New Year’s Flood caused approximately $700 million in damages in Washoe County alone and more than $1 billion in damages across northern Nevada. Washoe, Carson, Douglas, Storey, and Lyon counties were declared federal disaster areas. Experts estimate that another similar flood could cause $2 billion in damages.
| Flood Awareness Basics
Although we live in a desert environment, we are at risk from three main types of dangerous floods. People who live in a valley or close to a river may experience main channel flooding. Main channel flooding occurs when water flows over the banks of a river and spreads out onto adjacent areas known as floodplains. This type of flooding typically occurs during large winter storms and/or during spring snowmelt.
People who live in the foothills or mountains may experience alluvial fan flooding or debris flows. Alluvial fan flooding occurs along small streams and desert “washes” that form at the base of steep canyons. Violent flash floods after intense summer thunderstorms are common on alluvial fans. Debris flows are a mix of rocks, sediment, and water flowing down steep canyons; these fast-moving slurries have the potential to cause catastrophic damage to anything in their path.