Operators of a Lake Mead marina are vowing to rebuild after the worst flash flood in at least 30 years hit Callville Bay, causing more than $1 million in damage and all but wiping out the boat rental business there.
"Callville has every intention to be open as fast as we can," said Kim Roundtree, general manager of the resort and marina.
On Tuesday afternoon, the National Park Service closed the road to Callville Bay, 40 miles east of Las Vegas, while cleanup work is performed and power is restored to the area.
The flood hit Monday afternoon, sending a 10-foot wall of mud and water down Callville Wash and into the marina's floating repair shop and boat rental office. The two buildings now rest on the ground about 150 feet from where they used to be.
Andrew Muñoz, spokesman for Lake Mead National Recreation Area, said some marina employees compared it to "a tsunami."
"That's a good word," Roundtree said.
The first wave hit about 1 p.m., roughly 90 minutes after the rain began to fall. Then there was a lull, followed about 3:30 p.m. by an even bigger torrent of mocha-colored water, Roundtree said.
The marina's docks and floating buildings are held in place by 12,000-pound anchors, but the flood sent those massive concrete blocks tumbling, she said.
The force of the flood also pushed four houseboats and the dock they were tied to about 150 feet across the bay, where they now sit atop a fresh layer of mud and rocks where the lake used to be.
Muñoz said the facility was evacuated before the flash flood hit. No injuries were reported there or anywhere else in the park as a result of the storm.
Muñoz said no services will be available to the public at Callville Bay until the temporary closure order is lifted.
Roundtree hopes to see that happen within a few days.
Muñoz said it could take a week for NV Energy to restore the power.
Forever Resorts, which operates four Lake Mead marinas under contract with the park service, was still assessing the damage Tuesday afternoon. The company's regional vice president, Matt Harvey, said the flood appeared to wipe out about a third of the operation at Callville Bay.
Roundtree said at least three personal watercraft and two powerboats were destroyed.
One of the boats ended up wedged under the mud next to the repair shop, its hull crumpled and filled with debris. The raging torrent neatly deposited a boulder the size of a car wheel in the bow of the craft.
Other boats were damaged but appeared to be salvageable, Roundtree said: "Some of them are high and dry and full of mud."
None of the privately owned boats at the marina was damaged.
Ralph and Donna Skelton, husband and wife for more than 53 years, planned to spend Tuesday night on their boat at Callville Bay, but they were forced to clear out when the park service ordered everyone to leave the marina by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
As they walked back up the boat ramp with their dinner in a cooler, they said they have never seen anything like this in all the years they have kept a boat at Callville. Nothing left to do now but "go home and drink the goddamn wine," Ralph said with a smile.
Forever Resorts was already planning to move the marina about 150 feet farther out into the bay because of the continued decline in the water level at Lake Mead. The bay was shortened even more by all the mud and rocks washed down by the flood.
"Now we need to be a thousand more feet out," Roundtree said.
Harvey said the longer marina move should get under way within the next seven days and take several weeks to complete.
Monday's powerful thunderstorms raked the park from Overton, at the northern tip of the lake, to Cottonwood Cove, downstream from Hoover Dam.
Muñoz said the Park Service plans to send up a spotter plane to look for stranded motorists and damaged roads in remote parts of the 1.5 million-acre park.
The main road around the lake was shut down for several hours Monday because of flooding. The Echo Bay boat launch ramp remains closed after its dirt access road was washed out. Maintenance crews should have access restored by the end of the week, Muñoz said.
All other services at Echo Bay remain open, including the marina, store and trailer village.
The launch ramps at Hemenway Harbor near Boulder City and at Temple Bar in Arizona are open, and full services are available from those marinas.
No rain was reported at Callville Bay on Tuesday. In fact, most of Clark County remained dry. The only reported rainfall was north of Interstate 15 near the Lincoln County border, where it rained about 0.2 inch, said John Salmen, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
There is a slight chance of isolated thunderstorms in the Las Vegas Valley today and a slight chance of thunderstorms over the Spring Mountains and the Sheep Range.
Review-Journal writer Antonio Planas contributed to this report. Contact reporter Henry Brean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0350.