North Valleys Winter Preparation and Open House
An update to residents

Dear North Valleys residents:

As we head into the coming winter months, we want to ensure you are aware of the measures we have in place to protect against the known flood threat. Washoe County currently works with local partners and the National Weather Service to monitor weather conditions. The first storm of the season, predicted to be light to moderate, is set to hit our area this Friday. Because the safety of our residents is our number one priority, we wanted to share with you the ways Washoe County has prepared Lemmon Valley and surrounding area for the upcoming winter, including some resources for residents:

We are prepared. With the many protections Washoe County has in place, and will continue to have in place throughout the duration of the winter months, we are confident that this area of the county is thoroughly protected from future unforeseen weather events.

Equipment. We currently have many pieces of equipment in place to protect residents, these are:

  • HESCO barrier – Five miles of HESCO barrier were built last year to stop flooding and keep water out of homes. This barrier system will remain in place throughout this coming winter. As we shared with you in August of this year, some pieces of the barrier were removed, but kept close by in order to reopen portions of Lemmon Drive. Should weather conditions necessitate moving these barriers back in place, Washoe County is ready to do so. As a result, portions of Lemmon Drive would once again be blocked and alternate roads would need to be used. Please be aware, barriers may be moved or removed depending on current weather conditions.
  • Pumps – Washoe County maintains a vendor for the use and maintenance of all pumps in Lemmon Valley. These pumps are serviced regularly and at times, locations and number of pumps may be adjusted around the lake to best protect residents. These pumps will remain in the Lemmon Valley area and will remain operable to keep the water inside the barrier.
  • Monitoring – Washoe County regularly monitors the levels of Swan Lake and Silver Lake. Currently the flood barriers provide protection to an elevation two feet higher than the designated FEMA flood plain and almost three feet higher than the highest water levels experienced in 2017. Silver Lake has over four feet of available capacity to reach the protection level.  
  • Roads  We do expect to reinstall the barriers that were removed to open Lemmon Drive when Swan Lake levels increase. If and when Lemmon Drive is closed again, we expect residents will again use Deodar Way. While Deodar Way is not a Washoe County roadway, Washoe County is committed to providing snow removal and periodic grading work for the benefit of the area residents and emergency responders. Once again, should the need arise for the barrier system to be closed in order to protect Lemmon Valley residents, portions of Lemmon Drive will be closed. Please be aware, Lemmon Drive maintains a speed limit of 25 mph for the safety of the traveling public.

What you can do to protect your property:

While Washoe County will continue to maintain the HESCO barrier system, area residents are still encouraged to protect their property in whatever way they feel is necessary.

  • Plan and prepare. We encourage residents to be proactive and plan accordingly for the possibility of rising water levels through this winter and spring. This might mean moving out furniture and belongings, protecting domestic wellheads, etc.
  • Flood insurance. Due to a number of homes located within the FEMA flood plain in Lemmon Valley, flood insurance is highly recommended. To see the FEMA flood areas, please click here.
  • Have a kit ready. In the event of another high precipitation year, Washoe County recommends all residents have an emergency kit ready. For what to include in an emergency kit, please click here.
  • CodeRED Alerts. Washoe County Emergency Services urges residents to sign up to receive critical emergency notifications through the CodeRED system. To learn more and to sign up to receive these emergency phone alerts, please click here.
  • Sandbags. Washoe County highly encourages all residents to prepare for winter weather. Should the need arise, sandbags are available to Lemmon Valley residents at the Lemmon Valley Volunteer Fire Station and at the corner of Pompe Way and Lemmon Drive.

Weather predictions. Washoe County works with several partners including the Water Master, National Weather Service, and others, however there is no way of predicting what this winter season will bring. With that, we have leaned many lessons from the unprecedented winter last year and are continuously monitoring weather conditions. Our partner, National Weather Service, has informed us there will be a storm hitting the area this Friday, November 3, that will continue into Sunday. While this is predicted to be light to moderate in severity, we advise all Washoe County residents to be prepared and take precaution to protect life and property.

Communication. Washoe County will continue to keep all residents informed throughout this winter season. If you, or someone you know, is not currently subscribed to receive Washoe County emails, please click here to be added to the list. In addition, you may contact our Washoe 311 customer service center at any time for questions, concerns or to receive the latest information by dialing 3-1-1 from any phone or by calling 775-328-2003 or emailing

You Are Invited. Please mark your calendar for an upcoming North Valleys Winter Preparedness Open House, at the North Valleys Community Center on November 18, 2017 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. This is an opportunity to have local experts on hand and available to answer any questions regarding closed basin flooding and this upcoming winter plan to protect the community.

Thank you,

Washoe County Incident Management Team

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 »