Nevada March 19, 2019
In 1997, A Massive Flood Swept Through Nevada That No One Can Ever Forget
Just over 20 years ago, the Silver State was taken by surprise when a massive flood impacted the Reno-Sparks area. This flood was one of the largest we had ever experienced and it’s a natural disaster we can’t ever forget. Known as “The New Years Flood”, the disaster was the result of the perfect storm and it created tons of damage throughout The Biggest Little City. If you lived in Nevada at the time, it’s likely you remember this massive flood, the damage it caused, and the impact it left on our state.
It's been over 20 years since The New Years Flood of 1997 occurred. However, it definitely hasn't been erased from our minds. If you were living in Nevada at the time, it's likely you remember the event with the utmost clarity.
The 1997 flood changed a lot of things. Prior to it, Nevada simply didn't have a special flooding program or protocol to follow in the event of a flood. The New Years Flood changed all that. Nevada may be known as the desert, but this disaster reminded us that our state isn't impervious to flooding.
The flood occurred due to a powerful winter storm that crippled much of Western Nevada, most notably the Reno-Sparks area. The storm began on December 20 and lasted about three days. During that time, it dropped up to two feet of snow in the region. At the time, it was described as the biggest winter storm of the decade.
Reno and Sparks weren't the only towns affected. Towns like Carson City, Minden, and Virginia City were also victims of this massive snow storm. At the storm's peak, around 16,000 homes were without power. The initial storm may have ended after three days, but the worst was yet to come.
All of that heavy snow eventually melted and was a humongous factor in causing one of the worst floods in our state's history.
As the snow melted, the Truckee, Carson, Walker, and Susan rivers all began to overflow with rushing water. Additionally, a chain of rainstorms continued to hit the Reno-Sparks area, which only exacerbated the problem by melting the snow even faster.
It's estimated that the 1997 flood caused around $1 billion worth of damage. Runways at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport were entirely underwater, vast measures were taken to protect the city's casinos, and over 1,400 homes and businesses were damaged. Over 50 individuals were injured during the flood, and two were killed.
Eventually, the flood passed and the city began to recover. However, some valuable lessons were learned from this disastrous event. We won't be forgetting those lessons or the effect this flood had on our state anytime soon.
For more information, check out the video below which commemorates the flood’s 20th anniversary.
Were you around for this massive flood in Northern Nevada? This is one natural disaster we can’t ever forget. Nevada has definitely seen its fair share of catastrophe. Just check out our list of
16 Horrifying Disasters That Happened In Nevada.