The Day After: Closed roads hamper business around Reno
Monday morning commuters enjoyed roads clear of snow and ice, and beautiful mountain views seen through air scrubbed clean by hard weekend rains.
At least those commuters who were able to get out of their neighborhoods. The same storms that cleared the air brought flooding along the rivers and localized flooding where ditches overflowed and storm drains clogged up.
Flood waters are beginning to recede, but it’s still too early to determine how much damage has been done, according to representatives of both the cities of Sparks and Reno.
The industrial area of southeast Sparks sustained the most flooding, as expected. Officials continued to stop traffic east of McCarran Blvd and south of Interstate 80 until late in the morning, and McCarran from Greg south to the river remains closed for the time being.
“A dozen buildings down there are surrounded by flood waters,” Adam Mayberry, community relations manager for the City of Sparks, said. “We don’t know what’s inside.”
He said the water was so deep this morning that he saw a car “literally floating” in that area.
Loka Tile Group, located at the corner of Greg Street and Kleppe Lane in the industrial area, escaped damage despite Kleppe remaining closed and underwater as of noon Monday.
“We survived damaged free,” Angela Handler, owner of the tile wholesale company, said in an email.
The Sparks-based, third party logistics company, ITS Logistics, also steered clear of any flooding; however, their trucks are being affected by the road closures.
“Operationally we are 100 percent fine,” Patrick McFarland, marketing director for ITS Logistics, said Monday morning about their facilities. “Since I-80 is closed, we can’t get anything out to the West Cost.”
The interstate closed Sunday night but has since reopened with chain controls.
The flooding is also preventing ITS staff from being able to service their trucks. McFarland explained that where they get their vehicles maintained are all in the lower Sparks area where flooding is occurring.
Another logistics company based in Sparks is Peterbilt Truck Parts & Equipment. The company’s facility off Larkin Circle was closed for the morning as nearby intersections were closed.
“We’re still waiting to open our doors, but hopefully we’ll be back in the office shortly,” said Mike Altimus, vice president/general manager for Peterbilt.
Mayberry said Monday afternoon that Sparks officials had sent out Rapid Response Teams to review damage and determine what needs to be done.
The City of Sparks also has a hotline set up for citizens and business owners who may need assistance due to the flooding. They can call 775-353-5555 for assistance.
Much of the flooding in other areas around the Truckee Meadows was due to ditches and blocked storm drains.
Great Basin Brewery Tap House on South McCarran near Mira Loma narrowly escaped flooding from the ditch that runs next to the business.
“We were very close to flooding,” said Katie Young, marketing manager for Great Basin Brewery.
“We had a beaver swimming around in the parking lot yesterday (Sunday). It was a little sketchy there for awhile.”
For awhile, Edison Way north of the airport looked like a river in front of the Kimmie Candy manufacturing plant, which had moved to the street late last year.
Knowing the location was a little lower than it’s previous plant on Energy Way, owner Joe Dutra said they spent about 5 hours in the rain on Sunday laying sandbags around the building.
Water was about a foot deep in front of the building, but only came about half way up the driveway, he said,
Kimmie Candy was more fortunate than some businesses on either end of Edison, which looked like water had gone up to the buildings and maybe inside.
Grove Madsen Industries, A Divison of Codale, an electrical distribution company based east of downtown Reno, said operations were proceeding as usual this morning although they were slightly shorthanded.
“We had some people call in today,” Jeff Heinzen, branch manager for Grove Madsen, said. “One guy had to tend to property damage to his home. Others may also have to stay home with their kids because school was closed.”
A number of neighborhoods in south Reno also experienced flooding.
Holcomb Ranch Road looked like a river streaming into South Virginia Street and forced the closer of that stretch of that stretch of South Virginia near Winco market.
Despite the flooding, Winco remained open, according to store manager Darren Fast.
“It was a little slow because of all the water out there,” Fast said.
The Reno marketing company Design on Edge’s office is closed Monday due to its proximity to the river in downtown. Their office is located in the Reno City Hall building on E. 1st Street, which was shut down as a precaution.
“It has been a little bit of a rough Monday,” Courtney Meredith, co-owner Design on Edge, said in a phone interview.
She and he husband are working from their home. However, not being able to get into their office is impacting the amount of work they can do.
“It still affects everything,” she said.
She explained their email was down earlier in the day, they had to cancel meetings and their backup answering service is currently down so they cannot access their phone messages.
Meredith said she expects to be able to return to their office on Tuesday.
Many of the company’s clients are located in The Riverwalk District and the business also represents The Riverwalk District itself.
“For the most part, businesses banded together (to prepare for the flooding),” she said.
While the flood of 2017 is now a reality, it did not quite measure up to the flood of 2005, which it was being compared to, and fell far short of the New Years flood of 1997.
The Truckee River at Vista peaked early Monday morning at 19.5 feet, according to information from weather.gov. At that location in 2005, it peaked at 20.4. In 1997, it got to 23.7.
In downtown Reno, the Truckee peaked at 12.3 feet. In 2005 it peaked at 13.5 and in 1997 it was 14.3 downtown.
The flooding was triggered by heavy snowfall early last week followed by an “atmospheric river” that brought heavy rains and high snow levels from the tropics along a narrow band into the region.
A series of storms this week are expected to bring more rain and winds to the valley and heavy snow fall to the mountains. The National Weather Service forecasts snow accumulations at Lake Tahoe level between 2 to 5 feet.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.