Past Flooding Events

While some sort of seasonal flood-related damage occurs nearly every year, the flooding event of New Year’s Eve 1997 represented the most recent significant flooding. On New Year’s Eve 1997, prolonged precipitation accompanied by an early snowmelt, and provoked by a warm-weather trend known as a “Pineapple Express”, caused many rivers and creeks throughout Western Nevada watersheds to rise to 100-year flood levels, generating flooding in both rural and urban areas. Damage to Carson City businesses, residences, and infrastructure was estimated to be roughly $5.3 million or 6 percent of the City’s annual budget.

The Carson City Risk Management Office estimated that the flood of New Year’s Eve 1997 affected more than half of the City’s residents.

Although the flood of 1997 represented a recent large-scale disaster, it is not unprecedented within the history of Carson City. City records dating back to 1851 indicate that nine events occurred up to 1900; both the Carson River and west side tributaries caused significant flooding to the City. During the twentieth century, 19 flood events were recorded. The last major flood event occurred over New Year’s Eve in 2005, a 25- year event, and caused over 2 million dollars in damage to private and public facilities. Since the City was founded in 1851, 157 years ago, 29 major flood events have happened, one about every 5 to 7 years. Two of the past flood events, 1955 and 1997, have been estimated to be the so-called 100-year flood, or Base Flood, and all other flood events were between the 10 – and 50 – year flood events.