Gov. Sandoval declares state of emergency ahead of potential Reno flooding


Northern Nevada authorities are closing flood-prone roads and bridges in the Reno-Sparks area as they brace for what's forecast to be the region's worst flooding in more than a decade.

Reno police closed three low-lying bridges across the Truckee River in the downtown casino district late Saturday.

State troopers plan to close at least two Interstate 80 off-ramps on the east edge of Sparks early Sunday afternoon.

That's in an area where about 5 feet of water rushed into the Sparks Industrial area in the winter of 2005-2006.

The Truckee River is expected to begin to overflow Sunday afternoon in both Reno and Sparks, where a flood warning continues into Tuesday.

The river's expected to crest in Reno about 2 feet above flood stage late Sunday or Monday, and about 6 feet above flood stage in Sparks Monday morning.

7:50 p.m.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has released this statement:

"Governor Sandoval has declared a state of emergency due to the severe weather system developing in northern Nevada and the consequent danger to life and damage to property.

"The Governor directed all state agencies to supplement the efforts of Washoe, Douglas, Lyon, and Storey counties, the City of Carson City, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribes.

"As of January 7, 2017, the counties of Washoe, Douglas, Lyon, and Storey, the City of Carson City, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, have declared a state of emergency due to the anticipated disturbance cause by the severe weather system.

"Nevada Revised Statute 414.070 authorizes the Governor to issue a proclamation declaring a state of emergency when assistance of state agencies is needed to supplement the efforts and capabilities of political subdivisions to save lives, protect property, and protect the health and safety of Nevada citizens."

2:20 p.m.

Authorities in the Reno area of northern Nevada are advising residents to stay home if they can during what they're saying will be a "significant flood event" later in the weekend.

Flooding from runoff in the Truckee River is expected starting Sunday afternoon and evening and continuing into Monday in Reno and Sparks.

Flooding is also expected in creeks, streams, ditches and low-lying areas.

Washoe County Sheriff Chuck Allen says residents should stay home if possible and away from water and out of the backcountry to remain safe.

2:05 p.m.

The American Red Cross of North Nevada is gearing up to provide evacuation shelters in the Reno area because of anticipated flooding.

The Red Cross has already opened a shelter at Sparks High School in Parks for people living in areas which may be flooded by runoff from this weekend's storm.

The charity says it also has prepared an overflow shelter at Wooster High School in Reno.

The Truckee River is expected to flood Sunday and Monday from runoff from rain falling on heavy snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.

1:15 p.m.

The school district for Reno and nearby communities in northwestern Nevada has canceled classes for Monday because of a storm expected to produce flooding and other potential dangerous conditions.

The Washoe County School District serves Reno, Sparks and Incline Village.

The Truckee River is expected to flood Sunday and Monday from runoff from rain falling on heavy snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.

12:55 p.m.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and local officials plan to visit flood-prone areas of Washoe County in advance of anticipated flooding in the Reno area later in the weekend due to storm runoff.

The Saturday afternoon tour was to take Sandoval and other officials to several locations, including downtown Reno and a park in Sparks.

Those participating with Sandoval in the tour and a briefing including Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve; Sparks acting Mayor Ron Smith; Washoe County Commission Chairman Bob Lucey.

Sandoval says the state will do "whatever it takes" to ensure that local authorities have what they need to manage the situation and protect people.

The Truckee River is expected to flood Sunday and Monday from runoff from rain falling on heavy snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.

10:50 a.m.

Officials in Sparks say longtime residents of the northern Nevada community say longtime residents know what to expect from this weekend's expected flooding, but newcomers are starting from scratch.

Acting Mayor Ron Smith says drought conditions in the last five years have at times reduced the Truckee River to a trickle, and that newer residents can't believe it's going to flood.

Smith says that's why officials are urging residents to take flood warnings seriously.

Acting City Manager Neil Koutz says residents are better prepared to deal with the anticipated flooding than they were in the past, partly due to flood forecasting technology that provides days, not hours of warning.

Koutz says sandbag locations were set up Thursday, well in advance of flooding expected to begin Sunday.

10:45 a.m.

The Reno area will be under a flood warning Sunday and Monday, while mudslides are expected in Central California as heavy rain and snow are predicted from the Pacific to the Sierra Nevada.

The National Weather Service says the Truckee River in Nevada is expected to reach flood stage Sunday afternoon in downtown Reno due to runoff from nearby mountains.

Flooding is expected in an industrial area of nearby Sparks later Sunday, with peak flows at about 5 feet above flood stage early Monday.

Thousands of sandbags have been filled to try to secure property from flooding.

A winter weather advisory issued for the Reno area for Saturday warned of hazardous travel conditions due to light snow and freezing rain.

In California, forecasters predict 8 inches of rain from Sonoma to Monterey counties, with mudslides on the Central Coast hit hard this summer by wildfires.

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