Rain-fueled rivers tore through Mount Charleston’s Rainbow Canyon subdivision Monday, flooding homes, washing away roads and compromising the Kyle Canyon water system.
A flash flood warning Monday morning was followed by a deluge of rain totalling more than 2 inches. The rain quickly turned into intense flooding, sending large rocks and debris through neighborhood streets, and washing away most of the main subdivision roads.
The downpour closed Kyle Canyon Road at Deer Creek Road for a short as storm debris flooded down the mountain. Utility lines were also damaged by the flooding, Clark County officials said.
The Las Vegas Valley Water District advised lower Rainbow subdivision residents to boil their water before using it for drinking purposes. Specifically, people living between Moritz Way and Rainbow Canyon Boulevard were affected, water district spokesman Bronson Mack said.
Residents in the upper portion of Rainbow, as well as residents in Cathedral Rock, Old Town and Echo were not affected.
Bottled water would be available at Kyle Canyon Road, Mack said, but in limited quantities.
It remained unclear late Monday the financial cost of the damage done.
Many of the residents still had not completely recovered from last summer’s flooding, worsened by last year’s Carpenter 1 fire wildfire, which burned 27,800 acres in the Spring Mountains.
Duffy Grismanauskus, who lives in Rainbow Canyon, said he had nearly finished repairing the water damage his shop suffered last year when Monday’s storm hit.
“It just pisses you off, all the work that we put in from last year to now. It all got washed out again,” he said.
Roads that were there Monday morning were washed out by mid-afternoon, leaving nothing but rocky mounds and fissures nearly 7 feet deep in parts.
Grismanauskus said that prior to the Carpenter 1 fire, flooding never affected the area with such devastation.
“We’ve lived here for 30 years and never had a problem,” he said.
While Grismanauskus suffered only minor water damage in his shop, his neighbor wasn’t as lucky.
Rushing water and rocks broke out his neighbor’s basement window, left part of the driveway undercut, and piled up four feet of rock and mud against the back of the home.
Grismanauskus’ wife, Becky, said the rushing water, which got as high as four feet as it flowed by their home, swept her phone away, and nearly took her with it, too. She fell when the ground gave way while she stood near the temporary river.
“When I fell I thought, ‘Hell, it’s either me or that phone,’” Becky Grismanauskus said. “I thought I was going to get washed away.”
The two roads that led to the Rainbow subdivision, Rainbow Canyon Boulevard and Bristlecone Pine Drive, were both completely washed away by the flooding.
The road damage left most of the residents trapped in their own neighborhood.
Crews that were working on the road further down Kyle Canyon on Monday turned their focus by the afternoon to clearing out the roads in hopes of making a temporary paths for residents.
Meanwhile, scattered storms moved through Clark County until about 10 p.m. Monday.
Flash flood warnings appeared throughout the day and drivers were warned to avoid flooded roads, debris and mud on the road, rapid flows of water in washes and water in low-lying areas, the National Weather Service said.
About 380 lightning strikes in the Spring Mountains were recorded Sunday and Monday, weather service meteorologist Andy Gorelow said. That number is considered common for the monsoon season, he said.
Gorelow, who was trained as an incident meteorologist during Carpenter 1, said some of the flash flooding on the mountain is the result of the damage that fire caused.
“You get this debris flow, and the water just runs right off the mountain. There’s no barrier,” he said of the burned-away vegetation on the mountain.
The bright side, Gorelow said, is that there’s been enough rain on the Spring Mountains the last few weeks that chances are low a lightning strike will start a fire now.
The wet weather began Sunday afternoon, causing flooding across the valley, including in Jean, where southbound traffic on Interstate 15 was halted before being diverted onto the median.
Temperatures in the valley dropped to the low 90s during the rainy days, but neither the wet weather nor the low temperatures were expected to last. Starting Tuesday, the week is forecast to be dry, with temperatures creeping back up to 105 degrees by Wednesday.
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