Walker River expected to flood near Yerington next week

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YERINGTON, Nev. (KOLO) -- It could be as bad as 1997. Parts of Yerington are bracing for severe flooding, as warm temperatures threaten to melt the record snowpack in the Walker River watershed.

"The sheer volume of flows over the multiple days will lead to extremely high flows and higher impacts in the Mason Valley," said Tim Bardsley, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Reno. "We just don't see any sign of a cool-off which would kinda slow down the melt and mitigate some of the high flows."

That means flooding will be prolonged, lasting days or even weeks. Right now, however, it is difficult to predict where the flooding will happen.

"Our hope is that it will do like it did in '83 and flood up towards Wabuska out in the middle of the open space or out by the game ranch and those areas and not affect town. But if it does affect town, people need to be prepared that we may have standing water for several days or up to a couple of weeks,” said Lyon County Manager Jeff Page.

The river on Friday, May 19, 2017 was flowing around 2000 cubic feet per second. Flows during the flood could double. Lyon County and the City of Yerington are working farmers and irrigation companies to pull as much water off of the river and into ditches to reduce flows.

"We're hoping to reduce the prediction, but we are still telling people to plan for the worst. Be prepared if you are living near the river to evacuate or shelter in place," said Page.