Gov. Sandoval tours flood-damaged Mt. Charleston

LAS VEGAS  — Gov. Brian Sandoval toured the Southern Nevada subdivision where a muddy flash flood this week damaged 10 homes and cut off water for dozens of residents.

The governor told residents on the mountain that lawyers need to stop fighting over flood control because lives are at risk. 

The damage from Monday's flood is estimated at $6 million.

Clark County leaders say it is a disaster area. Road repairs are complete, water and power are restored, but some homes and cabins are not livable.

After touring the area Friday morning, Gov. Sandoval said he had seen enough and something has to be done to help these people.

"I had the opportunity to tour through some of these houses and you have to put yourself in their shoes. They've had three, four feet of mud that is in their houses. There is one gentleman there that still has hail in his house, the size of peas," the governor said.

The man the governor is referring to is Rodney Dukes. 8 News NOW spoke with him the day after the flash flooding. He could not get into his home because of mud and debris. Progress has been made but his home has been deemed unsafe. Before he can clean his home, it needs to be repaired and inspected.

"I have flood insurance for the interior, but moving all those rocks is going to cost so much money, quite a bit. So, he said they would look into that and then he just had empathy for the situation." Dukes said of the governor's visit.

The flooding happened Monday after a storm dumped 2.4 inches of rain on one part of the mountain range within two hours. The situation was made worse because a wildfire there last summer destroyed much of the vegetation and made the mountain prone to erosion.

Damage to a water main placed more than 100 customers under a boil water order, which was finally lifted Friday.

Governor Sandoval says he is going to meet with county leaders to move a project forward that would build a diversion for flood waters.

The Army Corps of Engineers had planned a diversion dam roughly five-and-a-half football fields long. It is designed to keep dangerous flood waters away from the area.

The chief of the engineering division for the corps says the idea is to build a 1,700-foot dam made of dirt and other materials. The corps was ready to begin construction on June 1 and the dam would have been finished by the time monsoon season hit.

However, it became tied up over the issue of which jurisdiction would be responsible if the dam failed or if it caused even more catastrophic damage  Clark County tax payers would have been on the hook, so the county decided against it.

People living in the Rainbow subdivision shared their frustrations about the stalled project with the governor, during his visit Friday.

"This situation is way over all of our heads. We are not hydraulic engineers. We do not know how to divert major flooding from a burned out forest and we need assistance," homeowner Liz McGrath said.

County leaders are expected discuss a disaster declaration for the area at the next county commission meeting. If approved, it would go to the state for possible money to help with clean up. Sandbags have been filled to some how keep flood waters back, but leaders say there is nothing that can be by this weekend to prevent more catastrophic flooding.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)


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