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Atmospheric river to bring heavy rainfall, raises flooding concerns

May contain: water, outdoors, bridge, car, vehicle, and transportation
Scotts Flat spills during a storm on Jan. 13, 2023.

(March 7, 2023) – An atmospheric river system projected to hit late Thursday into Friday has raised concerns about the potential for flooding. The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) warns that its lower division dams will be spilling, as is typical during winter storms, and the local rivers will have high, dangerous flows. Upper division reservoirs may begin spilling in the next week, which will compound the issues at lower elevations. 

Meteorologists and forecasters are indicating the risk of flooding is increased as warm rain hits the Sierra Nevada’s immense snowpack. The deep snow can absorb some of the rain, but much will melt, increasing the potential of flooding downstream.

“NID is anticipating and prepared for this storm to bring a huge amount of water to the District’s infrastructure. In itself, this is not alarming; our reservoirs and dams can handle the increased flows. The danger is to locations in lower-lying areas next to the rivers,” said Greg Jones, NID’s assistant general manager. “We also caution people to stay away from the NID canals, which will also see increased flows.”

NID’s lower division canal system will be shut off during the storm event in an effort to curtail any localized flooding. Restoration of the canal system is anticipated by early next week, but will be subject to weather conditions.

In instances of immediate flooding emergencies, call 911. For flooding situations involving NID canals, contact the District’s emergency phone numbers: during business hours at (530) 273-6185 and after-hours at (530) 273-3346.

NID personnel will be patrolling and inspecting infrastructure throughout the storm.


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