Four months ago, the slopes above Carson City were literally on fire. The struggle then was to contain the flames and save homes.
Now as a mixutre of snow and rain fall on those same slopes....the concern is mudslides and flooding....and protecting the city's water supply. The Waterfall fire scorched these hillsides leaving then bare with little vegetation to slow any runoff. The soil itself now sheds moisture....and anywhere it's been disturbed....a roadway or trail....gullies begin to form. All this was anticipated and since the fire much as been done to prevent that sort of damage...erosion control....reseeding....but the weather is the wild card....and this early storm is giving everyone a preview of problems to come.
With colder temperatures and the rain turning to snow the runoff here in Vicee Canyon has slowed, but it's already done some damage.
These check dams and the pnds behind them are part of the city's water system. Water gathered here, percolates through the soil, recharging the groundwater supply. At the moment that's not happening. The storm has choked these ponds with ash. They'll have to be cleaned out. Elsewhere, the turbid runoff is causing problems for the city's water treatment plant. Meanwhile city crews are placing concete jersey walls and sand bags at the base of Ash Canyon....just in case the creek clogs with ash and debris and overflows its banks.