Monsoon like wind and rain struck Pioche Aug. 30, just as their annual Labor Day celebration was getting underway.
Emergency Management Director Rick Stever said there were strong winds in the mind afternoon between 30 to 50 miles per hour, then about 3:30 pm. the heavy rains came for about 45 minutes.
He said he had reports from two different people with rain gauges that measured between 3.87 and 4 inches of rain in two separate gauges. “Once the wind got the storm here, it just opened up and dumped.”
The Community Environmental Monitoring Program reporting station in Pioche only listed 2.13 inches between 3 and 4 pm.
Regardless, the heavy rains caused much flooding and damage that lasted for several hours afterwards. Stever said a power pole was knocked over, causing an outage to most of the town fro about half an hour, then about half the town until past 8 pm.
The runoff caused a water main to break on Gold street and Stever said people began to call saying they had “no water pressure at all. It was probably at 10 p.m. before the main could be repaired. Public Utilities Director Nate Adams said the break in the main line drained the town water tank.
Flooding and debris was reported in the lower parts of town in many yards, and streets, the Masonic Lodge reported water on the floor, the Silver Café reported water lapping at their back door, and several private homes had flooding in basements, including one to about four feet.
“There was a lot of debris, rock and mud on several streets around town,” Stever said, and the PPU crew and county road crew came and cleaned the streets with a blade and a couple of loaders, the state highway department cleared away debris on U.S. 93 and on the road going to Eagle Valley. “After finishing those projects, the state highway came into town and started helping here,” he said.
He added, “With the Labor Day holiday and the influx of out of town visitors, they did a good job getting it cleaned up as best they could as fast as possible.
Discussion was also held at the meeting about the possibility of digging deeper the detention basin uphill from Frenchie Road and between Silver Street and Airport Road. Ty Chamberlin of the BLM office in Caliente said he would try to make that land a priority item because of the recent flooding and get some heavy equipment in there to start digging.
Highway Commission chair Paul Donohue said, “it would be a start. If we can make that hole deeper while we are doing the study.”
On Saturday, Sheriff Kerry Lee said rains struck Panaca and caused some high water in the east of town, but it was contained behind the retaining dike near the high school baseball and softball fields and the NDOT office.
Water was also reported to have washed out several roads in the north part of the county, as well as taking out one lane highway on SR 375 at one point about 10 miles east of Rachel, but has now been repaired.