Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) volunteers and emergency operations centers (EOCs) in Nevada are now standing down as the threat of additional widespread flooding damage diminishes. Over the weekend, ARES members in Nevada stood ready to support the disaster response effort. Recent heavy rainfall, sparked by a weather system called the Pineapple Express, caused flooding along rivers and forced evacuations in some areas of Nevada and neighboring California. The flooding prompted Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to declare a state of emergency. In Reno the Truckee River crested above 12 feet on January 9, and at 19.5 feet in Sparks. The river is now below flood stage and, despite a forecast of more rain and snow, was expected to remain so.
Carrying moisture-laden warm air from Hawaii, the Pineapple Express “atmospheric river” flowing across a narrow band of the Sierra Nevadas brought snow followed by rainfall of up to 15 inches to northern Nevada and California. While the rainfall may have broken the back of the region’s lengthy drought, it caused the snowpack in the Sierras to melt, initiating avalanches and mudslides, washing out roadways, and causing heavy flooding.