As The Truckee Rises, Sparks Businesses Get Ready

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The rain kept falling Friday and the Truckee River kept rising. It's expected to reach flood stage toward the east end of the valley Sunday.

The flood has been expected. The weather bureau has been watching a series of warm winter storms approach our area for much of the week.

The wind arrived last night, followed by rain today. Saturday more wind and Saturday night and into Sunday, more rain is expected to bring flooding to the Truckee east of I-580.

Today the local governments declared a state of emergency. The Regional Emergency Operations Center north of town was manned and Reno and Sparks opened a number of sand bag stations.

Most were busy throughout the day as people, primarily those with businesses in the Sparks industrial area, prepped their buildings for the worst.

Those who were here through the floods of 1997 and 2005 needed little prompting to get ready.

Among them, Douglas Barrela of Camelot Party Rentals, who made repeated trips carrying sand bags back to his business.

"We're going to get ahead of it this year." says Barrela.

In 2005, the flood put 18 inches of water in his shop, damaging equipment and vehicles. The total loss was more than $100,000.

He also hopes to avoid a repetition of one surprise that awaited him seven years ago, the discovery of a large carp swimming in the muddy water in his back shop.

Barrela was wasting little time today for good reason.

Gary Barbato, a hydrologist at the National Weather Service, says when the flood arrives it will leave little time for reaction.

Current projections call for the river to be at six feet at 6 a.m. Sunday morning, rising to flood stage at 15 feet by noon, cresting at more than 19 by 6 p.m., then back below flood stage by midnight.

"It looks to be almost like a flash flood," he says.

In terms of impact, he says the flood should resemble the 2005 flood.