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Big mudslide blocks US 395 near Nevada-California state line

A mudslide blocks U.S. 395 at Topaz Lake near the Nevada-California border on Monday, May 21, 2018. (Photo: Nevada Highway Patrol)

Crews were working Tuesday to reopen a major highway in the Sierra that was shut down by a huge mudslide at Topaz Lake near the Nevada-California state line.

The mudslide covered U.S. Highway 395 with 100 feet (30 meters) of debris as deep as 5 feet (1.5 meters) in some spots Monday night and forced the temporary evacuation of part of the Topaz Lodge casino.

Dozens of vehicles were temporarily stranded in the lodge parking lot, but no injuries were reported.

Nevada and California highway officials say there's no estimate for reopening the route in the area about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Lake Tahoe.

Up to an inch (25 millimeters) of rain fell in about an hour before the mudslide cascaded down the hillside on the western side of the highway at about 6:30 p.m. Monday.

"It was up to 5 feet deep. Our crews were out there all night," Nevada Department of Transportation spokeswoman Meg Ragonese said.

"Our first operation was to clear a path for emergency responders so they could get back and forth through the mudslide," she said. "They're finishing up the cleanup efforts but there's no ETA for reopening the highway, particularly with the continued chance of thunderstorms."

Southbound traffic was being rerouted at Holbrook Junction at Nevada State Highway 208.

For northbound traffic, the closure begins just north of the California agricultural inspection station.

Five rooms at the Topaz Lodge suffered mud and water damage and as many as 200 people were evacuated to the second floor Monday night.

Douglas County emergency crews were assessing the possible impact to homes and infrastructure near the lodge on Tuesday.

The region has been experiencing thunderstorms and heavy rain for several days, and rain remains in the forecast into Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

Updates on road conditions are available at nvroads.com, or by calling 511.


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