Record-breaking floods in the Walker, Carson, and Truckee River basins during November and December 1950 resulted from a rapid sequence of storms and unseasonably high temperatures that melted most of the early snow cover. During the period November 13 to December 8, 1950, total precipitation ranged from about 5 inches at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in Nevada to about 30 inches at the crest in California, near the California-Nevada State line. About half of this total occurred during the period November 16-21. The resulting floods were the greatest in more than 50 years of record. The highest discharge occurred on Truckee River where the greatest damage potential exists?in the urban area of Reno and Sparks.
Notable rates of discharge were 19,900 cfs, or 36.1 cfs per square mile, from 551 square miles in Truckee River at Reno, Nev.; 7,010 cfs, or 212 cfs per square mile, from 33 square miles in Little Truckee River near Hobart Mills, Calif.; and 3,570 cfs, or 119 cfs per square mile, from 30 square miles in East Fork Carson River near Markleeville, Calif.
The estimate of damages compiled by the Corps of Engineers total $4,360,000 for the area; $1,982,000 of this was for Reno. Two deaths were reported. The American Red Cross assisted about 200 persons, at an expenditure of about $7,500. Federal aid for city and county rehabilitation in Nevada totaled $75,000.
This report contains records of stage and discharge at 20 gaging stations and contents of 2 reservoirs, and a summary of peak discharges at 23 points within or adjacent to the flood area. The report contains also a discussion of the storms and floods, a section on meteorology prepared by the Weather Bureau, and a brief discussion of previous floods.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Floods of November-December 1950 in western Nevada