This morning seems like a good time to talk about the FEMA Flood Maps for our area. Everyone has an intuitive sense of the dangers downtown and in the Sparks Industrial area, but there are many areas of the county where the flood danger is counter-intuitive. Here are the FEMA Flood Risk Definitions.
Here is a MAP centered on downtown Reno (this may only work in Internet Explorer). On the top drop down menu, select Property Map, then click on Current FEMA Data on top of the left sidebar. This should turn on flood risk data. Red or Green = bad – 1% annual risk of a damaging flood, and Flood Insurance will be required. You can navigate around the map zooming in and out and Pan to find your area of interest. You will see some unexpected hazard areas, like the corner of Plumas and Plumb (Cochrane Ditch) and a lot of .2% annual risk areas south of the river downtown all the way to Stewart Street.
Our system of irrigation ditches complicates things. The ditches act as giant storm water collectors, moving vast quantities of water through areas generally NOT rated by FEMA. A breach or blockage in a ditch can bring flooding to “safe” neighborhoods, as happened in the 2005 floods in parts of the Old Southwest.
So stay safe and dry out there today.