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Locals Prepare For High Waters

KOLO-TV Mar 4, 2009
By Auburn Hutton

RENO - One mention of heavy rain in our area, and thoughts about flooding always come to mind.

Residents of Fernley learned the hard way last winter, that it's not always easy to predict when a flood will occur. Local emergency managers say there are no flood watches or warnings currently, but nonetheless, locals aren't taking any chances.

The Truckee River is known for overflowing about every ten years. The most recent major floods were in 1997, and then again in 2006. While we're still not due for a large flood until the year 2016, some people are already getting prepared.

Jad Fricke maintains the building at the Edison Industrial Park in East Reno. Sand is already piled up in his parking lot and a boat is sitting on standby. He says he's seen the area flood three times, so when rain comes in large doses, the Truckee becomes his worst enemy. "When it gets to be a foot below that ledge, I get a little concerned," said Fricke.

Crews who take care of the Last Chance Ditch in Southwest Reno are also busy clearing out space for heavy water flows. A flood there last winter left up to six feet of water in people's yards and basements. They say the clean-up is just preventative, in case the storm sticks around.

Washoe County Emergency Manager, Aaron Kenneston, is reviewing flood plans, and answering questions from local disaster response managers who are concerned about the rain. But Kenneston says a flood is still a long ways away. The Truckee's downtown water level has peaked at under six feet. Flood monitoring only begins when it reaches 11 feet. But still, Kenneston says predictions about storms are not always perfect.

"Clearly, the Fernley flood, that was a classic example. We were ready for flooding in the Reno-Sparks area, and it happened in Fernley. In those cases, that's why they call it a crisis," said Kenneston.

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