Nevada Water Science Center

Floods, Droughts, and other Hazards

The NVWSC has been collecting streamflow data in Nevada for more than 100 years.  This data is critical for our partners, like the National Weather Service, and services like the National Drought Monitor, for flood and drought predictions, forecasts, and warnings. The data we collect also are used in scientific models that study future flood and drought scenarios. The USGS WaterWatch service provides several tools for droughts and floods:

Drought: Below normal streamflow map || Streamflow Duration Hydrograph Builder || Cumulative Streamflow Hydrograph Builder

Floods: Flood and high flow condition map || Flood Tracking Chart || Cumulative Streamflow Hydrograph Builder

Filter Total Items: 7
Date published: December 6, 2017
Status: Active

Floods in Nevada

For more than 100 years, the USGS has played a critical role in reducing flood losses by operating a nationwide streamgage network that monitors the water level and flow of the Nation's rivers and streams. Through satellite and computer technology, streamgages transmit real-time information, which the National Weather Service (NWS) uses to issue flood warnings.

Contacts: Steven Berris
Date published: December 1, 2017
Status: Active

Science in the Truckee River Basin

The Truckee River flows for 120 miles from the outlet of Lake Tahoe in California, into Nevada, through the city of Reno, until it terminates at Pyramid Lake and is the only source of surface-water outflow from Lake Tahoe. The majority of the streamflow in the Truckee River comes from the Sierra Nevada snowpack. Contributions to the river in Nevada are small due to the Sierra Nevada’s “rain...

Date published: October 11, 2017
Status: Active

Drought in Nevada

Ongoing drought, in Nevada and across the West, will require scientists to develop new ideas and techniques for measuring, monitoring, modeling, and managing water resources. NVWSC has the capabilities to meet these challenges with our extensive scientific expertise in data collection, modeling, and research. We also are creating new ways to provide data to the public and stakeholders through...

Contacts: David Berger
Date published: August 8, 2017

Potential Effects of Changing Climate Patterns on Subalpine Lakes in Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park (GRBA), in White Pine County, Nev., has six small subalpine lakes. These lakes are a priority resource for park managers due to their pristine condition and high visitation. The only trout species native to these lakes is the Bonneville cutthroat trout (BCT). In the late 1990s, GRBA began a BCT reintroduction program. The success of this program was one of the major...

Contacts: Geoff Moret
Date published: June 8, 2017
Status: Active

Delineation of Flood-Inundation Areas in Grapevine Canyon near Scotty’s Castle, Death Valley National Park, California

On October 18, 2015 an intense, nearly stationary, thunderstorm triggered flooding in Grapevine Canyon. Grapevine Canyon Road, power and water infrastructure, and several buildings at Scotty’s Castle were damaged by the flood water, necessitating closure of the area to the public. In response to the flood event, the National Park Service requested the USGS Nevada Water Science Center perform a...

Date published: May 26, 2017
Status: Active

Evaporation from Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, Lower Colorado River Basin, Nevada and Arizona

The Bureau of Reclamation currently operates a model that projects future Colorado River reservoir volumes and potential dam operations based on current and forecasted hydrologic conditions, and operational policies and guidelines (the 24-Month Study). Each month a water budget is developed and Colorado River reservoir...

Contacts: Michael Moreo
Date published: April 13, 2017
Status: Completed

Nevada Flood Chronology

The lowest annual average precipitation and one of the fastest growing populations in the United States contribute to a tendency for both the general public and land-use planners to underestimate flood hazards in Nevada, despite historical evidence of frequent flooding.

Contacts: Toby Welborn