Click on photo for a larger image.
Movie clips are available in MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) or QuickTime format.
Areal view of Minden and Gardnerville Areas (30 second video clip).
Aerial view of Carson Valley from Minden along the west side (30 second video clip).
QuickTime player may be downloaded for free at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download
QuickTime and the QuickTime Logo are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The Get QuickTime Badge is a trademark of Apple Computer Inc., used with permission.
Zoning map and aerial images show current use (2003-2006) of areas affected by this flood.
About 53.2 square miles of the Carson River Basin were flooded during the 1997 flood. West and north of State Route 88, floodwater from the East Fork spread laterally over an extensive area of central Carson Valley and joined floodwater that was spreading northward and eastward from the nearby West Fork. The combined floodwater formed a lake across the valley floor 2 to 3 feet deep, overflowing Muller Lane. On January 2, 1997, the flow at the East Fork Carson River near Gardnerville, Nev., (gaging station 10309000) peaked at 20,300 cubic feet per second (cfs). Downstream the floodwater flowed north past the normal confluence of the East and West Forks, northeast of Walley’s Hot Springs, and northward over Genoa Lane. Some homes and part of the Genoa Country Club sustained damage from the flood as some areas were submerged in 2 feet of water. Floodwater from the mountains and alluvial fans along the western side of Carson Valley contributed to the existing flow. About one foot of water covered Highway 395 near Cradlebaugh Bridge which has been damaged numerous times in the past during floods. On January 3, the flow at the Carson River near Carson City, Nev., (gaging station 10311000) was 30,500 cfs. Downstream the floodwater flowed northward towards Empire (east side of Carson City). The Carson River turns abruptly east and enters a narrow canyon after being joined by floodwater from Eagle Valley. Large areas of Carson City were flooded, particularly those on or near the toes of the alluvial fans around the uplands of Eagle Valley, and the lowlands along major drainage routes. Specifically, serious flooding occurred along Kings Canyon Creek, Vicee Canyon, and Ash Canyon. As the floodwater emerged from the Brunswick Canyon area two miles upstream of Dayton, the floodwaters spread over a quarter to half mile wide alluvial floodplain causing damage to some farms, ranches and homes upstream of Dayton. A mobile home park immediately downstream from Dayton was flooded as was the Dayton State Park. In addition about 30 homes in the River Valley subdivision were flooded. Through approximately a 6-mile reach through the Carson Plains, the Carson River flooded an area averaging a half mile in width parallel to the river. Flood depths in this area ranged between 2 to 4 feet. Downstream from this reach there is little development so damage was relatively minor. The flow at the Carson River near Fort Churchill, Nev., (gaging station 10312000) was 22,300 cfs on January 3, 1997.
Type of event: rain-on-snow
In December 1996, several moderate to heavy snowstorms built up a large snowpack (more than 180 percent of normal) in the higher altitudes of the Sierras with two to three feet on the valley floors. A series of three subtropical storms originating in the central Pacific Ocean brought heavy rainstorms to the region (named "The pineapple express" for the moisture-laden, subtropical jet stream originating in the central west Pacific Ocean). The last of these storms moved through the region from late December 30, 1996, to early January 2, 1997. These storms brought heavy, unseasonably warm rain to the Sierras.The heavy rains melted almost 80 percent of the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada below about 7,000 feet in altitude and produced heavy rainfall up to 10,000 feet in the mountains, contributing heavily to the runoff (USGS, 1997; NBMG, 1998). Recorded precipitation was 16.4 inches at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Ebbetts Pass SNOTEL (SNOwpack TELemetry) site (8,700 ft) and 3.5 inches at the National Weather Service (NWS) Minden precipitation gage (4,710 ft). NOAA GOES satellite image of the December 31, 1996 storm
Thomas, K.A., and Williams, R.P., 1997, Flood of January 1997 in the Carson River Basin, California and Nevada; U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-183-97. Rigby, J.G., Crompton, E.J., Berry, K.A., Yildirim, U., Hickman, S.F., and Davis, D.A., 1998, The 1997 New Year's Floods in Western Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Special Publication 23, 111p. Natural Resources Conservation Service Ebbetts Pass SNOTEL station (19L19S)
|AccessibilityFOIAPrivacyPolicies and Notices|