Washoe County addressing needs of residents in Lemmon Valley
County using resources from several departments to aid residents

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Joshua Andreasen

Reno, Nevada. Feb. 23, 2017.  Washoe County is using resources from several departments to aid residents affected by localized flooding in Lemmon Valley. Due to a recent string of storms that have hit the area, approximately 20 residences are currently affected by excessive water with expected long-term impacts for those residents.

“The flooding in Lemmon Valley is a tragic situation and we send our thoughts to those affected,” said Bob Lucey, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners. “Safety is our number one concern. We are meeting with residents individually to determine their needs and how we can help them through this very difficult time.”

In an effort to explain the complex details of the event and what the County is doing to support these residents, below is a breakdown.

Washoe County Response

Five of the Washoe County’s largest departments are coordinating to help residents impacted by the flooding situation.

  • County Manager’s Office – The Emergency Management Program is coordinating local, regional and state resources to provide individualized support for residents’ immediate needs.
  • Community Services Department – Continued cleaning efforts related to the storm events beginning in December including debris removal, providing sand and sand bags, snow removal, daily monitoring and identification of affected properties. Priorities are focused on life safety, public infrastructure, and home damage.
  • Washoe County Human Services Agency – Continued outreach to residents to determine individual needs, including food, shelter and other necessary assistance.
  • Washoe County Regional Animal Services – The department toured affected flood sites and has offered to respond to all animal welfare concerns. This work is ongoing.
  • Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD), along with Nevada Department of Forestry (NDF), is assisting with sandbag construction and emergency response to immediate resident issues that arise.

 “Washoe County is culminating its resources within our departments as well as reaching out to other community partners to address the situation,” Washoe County Manager John Slaughter said. “We understand this is a difficult situation for residents and we are doing everything in our power to help. Response priorities for Washoe County include life safety, preventing damage to homes, maintaining emergency access to property, and providing for safe travel on County roads.”

Situation with Swan Lake

Lemmon Valley is one of the hardest hit areas within the region with the most significant impact being near Swan Lake. Much of this area has been designated flood zone by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Here is a map that shows flood plains designated by FEMA.

Swan Lake is the lowest point in Lemmon Valley, collecting surface drainage from a very large area including portions of Peavine Mountain and other nearby mountain passes. It is anticipated that Swan Lake will continue to rise as storms continue in the region.

Residents located near or adjacent to the Swan Lake flood plain should prepare for the potential rise in the lake level and take precautionary measures they deem necessary for their property.

While Washoe County crews continue to address culverts, roadside ditches and drainages throughout Lemmon Valley, these activities will not prevent rising lake levels and the potential for flooding, including water on property and roadways.

Washoe County has sand bag resources available to residents at the following Lemmon Valley locations:

Residents in unincorporated Washoe County who are experiencing flooding should call 775-328-2180. If there is an emergency, please call 911 immediately.

Unprecedented Weather Has Made Conditions Difficult

The recent weather patterns in 2017 have resulted in major flooding in Lemmon Valley and throughout Washoe County.

“The region has been subject to unusual numbers of strong atmospheric river storms this winter, most notably in January and February,” said Chris Smallcomb, a Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno. “2017 has seen the wettest start to a year for the Reno area, with 8.9 inches of precipitation at the Reno Tahoe International Airport since Jan. 1. This also exceeds the 7.34 inch average for an entire year, in just the first month and a half of the 2017. This excessive rainfall has resulted in saturated ground that is easily prone to flooding from even just modest storms.”

More winter weather expected

The National Weather Service in Reno is forecasting scattered showers Thursday and Saturday. A more significant storm is expected Sunday-Monday. More weather information can be found on their website.

Additional information to follow.


  • E. Lemmon Valley Hydrobasin.pdf
  • Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
    Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »