- Associated Press - Monday, February 13, 2017

ELKO, Nev. (AP) - Concerns about flooding caused by rain and rapid snowmelt dissipated Monday in one city, but headed downstream like a wave along the Humboldt River toward rural areas and drought-parched reservoirs across northern Nevada.

Sheriffs said Monday that no one had been injured, and water was receding from damaged houses and mobile homes in the city of Elko where people stacked sandbags and operated pumps to try to stem the tide.

“It’s starting to recede,” Elko County Sheriff Jim Pitts said. He reported flood damage in the city of Wells and in the hamlet of Deeth east of the city, but he added that a reservoir’s water level was down and its dam appeared safe.

“There’s still water in some houses in Elko. The city is working on that,” he said.

City police Lt. Ty Trouten said as many as 100 homes and several businesses in a 20-block area were flooded, but he said damage estimates were still being made.



Among those affected was Nevada state Assemblyman John Ellison, who was hospitalized Sunday after becoming overcome by carbon monoxide spewing from generators used to power pumps to remove water from his house.

An elementary school remained closed, and Pitts and Trouten said several families stayed at motels or with relatives and friends while the area began experiencing cycles of nighttime freezing and daytime melting that slowed the effect of excess water.

Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday declared a state of emergency in Elko County, shortly after he signed a letter seeking nearly $15 million in federal disaster funds to clean up after severe flooding in the Reno area last month.

Pitts said Monday the Nevada National Guard with high-water vehicles hauled food rations and water to the town of Montello. A Nevada Division of Forestry helicopter was used to reach several people with medical conditions, the sheriff said, including a pregnant woman.

The National Weather Service said the Humboldt River was flooding in rural downstream communities like Carlin, where police and an Elko County undersheriff didn’t immediately respond to telephone messages.

Downstream to the west, Eureka County Sheriff Keith Logan said officials were warily watching a river that’s usually a lazy wading stream turn into a muddy torrent.

“No casualties, no injuries, no loss of anything that I’m aware of,” Logan said. But he said water rose to within a foot of a highway bridge at the hamlet of Beowawe.

In Humboldt County, Sheriff Mike Allen said officials were monitoring river gauges and meeting daily with the National Weather Service and state emergency management administrators.

Allen said flood stages were predicted Thursday near Valmy, and Friday at Winnemucca.

The water is expected to eventually reach drought-stricken Rye Patch Reservoir in Pershing County, to serve farmers who received a fraction of their annual irrigation allotment last year, and no allotment at all in 2014 or 2015.

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