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‘Ice is a big need right now’: Mount Charleston residents cope with damage

Updated August 23, 2023 - 10:04 pm

Brenda Talley had no power or water and had to walk 4 miles round trip to charge her phone.

A resident of the Echo neighborhood on storm-ravaged Mount Charleston, Talley was dealing Wednesday with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Hilary, which destroyed parts of roads and knocked out electricity and water for many of the mountain’s residents.

More storms could return Thursday, which could be a setback, officials said.

“At this time the National Weather Service is reporting a 70 percent (chance) of afternoon thunderstorms on Thursday for our area, which could hamper and possibly exacerbate efforts,” Clark County spokesperson Stacey Welling said in an email statement.

Talley said she and her neighbors need ice for their refrigerators. She is appealing to authorities who are involved in the cleanup and restoration of Mount Charleston to bring ice to the Retreat on Charleston Peak hotel, where residents with pickups could then pick up the ice and drive it up to the residents, she said.

“Ice is a big need right now,” said Talley, who noted residents have been able to drive down the mountain to get gas for their generators.

Clark County spokeswoman Stacey Welling said the ice request can’t be fulfilled currently because of the need for a refrigerated truck and other resources.

But many residents, Talley said, can’t drive because of the damage to the roads outside their homes and their driveways.

“I’m on Echo Road, the main road that was just demolished,” Talley said. “My driveway was undercut and the road is just gone.”

Talley said that pallets of water were being delivered and that residents of the mountain neighborhoods were helping deliver them to other residents. Talley, needing her phone for communication, had to walk to the hotel to get it charged, she said.

As residents waded through the aftermath, World Central Kitchen, a Washington, D.C., organization founded by chef José Andrés to provide meals to communities in crisis, posted a video Tuesday on X saying that sandwiches and water were being given to people being evacuated down from the mountain.

Meanwhile, power was restored to many customers in one of the mountain’s other subdivisions, a NV Energy spokesperson said.

“Over last night and into the morning, power was restored to more than 200 NV Energy customers in the Rainbow area of Kyle Canyon,” said spokesperson Meghin Delaney in a statement. “Our crews will continue working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible in other areas.”

A boil water order for the Rainbow subdivision was still in effect, Welling said.

Water and power are still out in the Echo and Cathedral Rock subdivisions as well as Old Town.

A water tanker, to serve as a potable filling station for residents, has been brought in and is parked close to the entrance of the Rainbow subdivision near Kyle Canyon Road.

Tropical Storm Hilary dropped 6-8 inches of rain on Mount Charleston overnight Sunday into Monday morning, but one weather sensor on the mountain recorded 9.2 inches, said meteorologist John Salmen of the National Weather Service’s Las Vegas forecast office.

However, the sensor was damaged by flooding, so that total was preliminary and was being certified by the federal government’s Western Regional Climate Center in Reno.

On Tuesday, officials with various agencies making up the emergency response and infrastructure repair work on the mountain said there was no firm timeline on when things like water, power and road access would be restored to working order.

The closures of state routes 157, 156 and 158 will remain tentatively in effect until Friday evening, at which point officials will reassess if anything needs to change, officials said.

The priority is to get a temporary lane open for travel on the heavily damaged state Route 157, also known as Kyle Canyon Road, said Justin Hopkins, Nevada Department of Transportation spokesperson.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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