Lincoln County Emergency Management (LCEM) and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) are continuing to monitor the flooding concerns and issues across the county.
The damage to Echo spillway and dam integrity have been evaluated by the State Structural Engineer. At the time of assessment, Echo Dam was deemed safe, with no sign of breaking. Repair efforts are being considered for the spillway. Nevada Task Force-1, specializing in swift water rescue, has visited the area and prepared a projected flood plan to provide authorities with a better idea of impact zones. The projected flood plan will assist in preparing for future evacuations and further courses of action. A March 19 update from LCEM states, “The Eagle Valley and Echo dams are in good condition, and water levels have started to drop at both reservoirs.”
Eagle Valley State Park and Echo State Park remain closed. Emergency Management recommends caution as water continues to flow, and additional traffic on the roads may impede emergency response and repair efforts.
Extensive road damage has been reported throughout the county as a result of the rain and watershed experienced Thursday, March 15 and Friday the 16th. State Route 319 to Panaca experienced approximately one foot of water flowing over the highway Thursday morning. Throughout the day, the road was closed or open to one lane. Once water receded, the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) closure signs remained, and drivers were warned to travel at their own risk. In Caliente, water rushed through the creek and beneath the bridge near the Hot Springs Motel. Just past Kershaw-Ryan State Park, State Route 317 completely flooded, and water remains pooled under the bridge between Caliente and Kershaw. Carrigan Road also experienced flooding with water filling the dip and the road, eventually becoming impassable. Water did flow across the top of the cattleguard at Beaver Dam Road, and the road remained open and passable. A mudslide was also reported to have occurred in Pioche, behind the Mother Lode Motel, and an adjacent residence.
In the heart of the emergency, officials and residents pulled together to sandbag homes. Road access to the east area of Ursine was lost early in the flooding, and eventually, all access roads were reported to have been wiped out due to erosion. Delmue Ranch Road, SR 319 to State Route 322 between Echo and Pioche, remains closed due to heavy damage, and travel is not advised. Asphalt buckled and forced large pieces of debris near the cattle guard. State Route 322 is open up to mile marker 16-18, just after Eagle Valley Resort. The Lincoln County Road Department continues to repair and assess roads to ensure emergency access to all communities.
Additional potential for flooding is being monitored as Lincoln County prepares for rain and snow throughout the week. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Winter Storm Warning on Monday for Lincoln County. A significant winter weather event is expected between 5 a.m. Tuesday, March 21 and 5 p.m. Wednesday, Mar. 22. The weather service warns that travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations and should be avoided.
Local crews have placed 600 feet of Hesco barriers near Eagle Valley resort, and over 35,000 sandbags have been staged or deployed throughout the county. Sandbags are available to the public at the Panaca gravel pit one mile east of town on SR 319, Ursine and Pioche fire stations, and the Beaver Dam Estates dump. There is a limit of 50 bags per household.
The Sheriff’s Office reminded the public over the weekend that if an evacuation becomes necessary, there will be a two-hour window before the water reaches Panaca. Residents that will need to evacuate will be notified via reverse 911 calls, and information will be posted on social media.
Emergency Management has been made aware that many residents in the area did not receive notification of the voluntary evacuation on March 15 or 16. Authorities are compiling a list of high-needs individuals that may require additional assistance and time evacuating if the need presents itself. Those with questions or concerns for LCEM can contact Kade Lee via email at email@example.com or LCSO at (775) 962-5151.