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Regional Flood Control District prepares ahead of flood season in Southern Nevada

Posted at 5:59 AM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 10:50:01-04

NORTH LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — While the temperatures outside may feel hot and dry, the potential for rain and even flooding is looming, and can come when you least expect it.

Monsoon season brings flash flooding — waters that can prove dangerous and even deadly.

If you've lived in Las Vegas long enough, you may have experienced a sudden downpour that just washed away your summer plans. That's due to the summer monsoon season that comes every year and is sure to bring spontaneous rain to the valley.

The Regional Flood Control District is working vigorously to stop storm water from flowing into valley neighborhoods and around businesses in an effort to keep roads and communities safer, says Steven C. Parrish, general manager and chief engineer at the flood control district.

“These facilities are working as a big system, really, to catch water as it comes out of the mountains, or water that falls from rain storms in the city itself, and is collecting all of that water and conveying it through the city and out to Lake Mead in a safe manner," Parrish said.

Currently, there are 104 basins and 677 miles of channels intertwined across the Southern Nevada region. Although that may seem like a lot, the Regional Flood Control District says they still need more.

"We're 75 percent complete on our flood control system," said Parrish, "which translates to about 38 detention basins and 200 miles of channels left to build."

Larger basins can hold up to a 100 million gallons of water. However, many basins you'll see around town right now look dry and empty.

Experts say that is because the last seven out of eight monsoon seasons have been relatively dry.

Still, experts with the flood district say nothing is certain when it comes to monsoon season and its torrential downpour and flooding.

"Just about at anytime, anywhere, the conditions are right for this to happen during the hot summer months, and so we want to remind everyone that you can get caught off guard by these floods, that water can happen, and rainfall can happen when you least expect it," Parrish said.

Flash flood season is also arriving here in the valley. July, August, and September may be summer months, but, they also can be wet ones.

Whether it rains on Mt. Charleston or in Summerlin, the entire region could be affected by flood conditions.

"It's conceivable that what's happening here in Las Vegas could affect our residents here in Henderson, as well. So it's making good decisions and working regionally to make a smart decision for our residents," said Henderson Mayor Debra March.

So, what can you do to stay safe?

Experts say to always be weather aware. Take precautions during monsoon and flash flood seasons — especially when on the roads, as it’s critical to avoid rising water.

March emphasized that roads can be the most dangerous during a flash flood.

"Fifty percent of all the deaths during flood season are people involved in a vehicle, so it's important for folks to make sound decisions and to be wise, " March said.

The Regional Flood Commission says regionalflood.org is a great resource to find out what areas are flooded around the valley.

Also, remembering phrases like "Turn Around, Don't Drown" and "Water Always Wins" could be life-saving when encountering flooded roads.

Check current weather conditions and forecasts, both daily and by-the-hour, at ktnv.com/weather.