Lemmon Valley hit by flash flooding

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LEMMON VALLEY, Nev. (KOLO) -- Hit by flooding again -- Lemmon Valley neighbors are cleaning up after a thunderstorm Tuesday afternoon dumped a lot of rain on the community.

It started around 2:30pm when a thunderstorm set up on top of a mountain near the intersection of Oregon Boulevard and Overland Road.

"They seem to get stuck right here against the mountainside," said Carra Sallaberry, whose property was hit by the flash flood Tuesday afternoon. Her driveway was covered in mud and her landscaping was destroyed. "All of a sudden the water started to come through the yard and through the driveway. It lasts about 45 minutes; then maybe 15 minutes later we had another cell come through."

From there, the water flowed downhill. Through irrigation ditches it made its way to the corner of Tupelo Street and Idaho Street, an area hit badly by last winter's Lemmon Valley flooding.

"I'd say it took seven minutes. It backed up to my house and was only about 20 feet away," said Angel Estrada, a Lemmon Valley resident.

Estrada and his family only moved back into their home three weeks ago after being gone several months because of flooding. This time, only their yard was affected, but after everything they have been through, he is fed up.

"I thought I was going to have a good living here in the North Valleys, but ever since this water keeps on going into my yard and my house, it just makes me feel like I want to leave," said Estrada.

The problem happened near the edge of Swan Lake. The Hesco barriers put up in March to keep water in Swan Lake kept water out Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, you can't place enough pumps at all areas to capture all potential issues," said Dwayne Smith, Director of Engineering for Washoe County.

There were pumps in place Tuesday that were supposed to drain the culvert, but one of them clogged with debris, allowing water to back up into the Estrada yard.

"It is unfortunate that he had water in his backyard, it is fortunate that it didn't get into his house. The pumps were able to keep up and the water levels didn't get that high today," said Smith.

A larger pump was brought in Tuesday evening in hopes of mitigating the problem during future thunderstorms, but Lemmon Valley locals say more needs to be done to keep the culverts clear.

"This is the fourth time I have had to deal with it, and the county says they are going to take care of it, but they haven't,” said Estrada.

The county said Tuesday they have been working for two days to clean out culverts in the Lemmon Valley area, but they started at the top of the neighborhood and had not yet made it down to the bottom where the issues arose Tuesday afternoon.