A storm on Sunday created a mess on U.S. 95 leading to a 140-mile stretch of roadway being closed between Tonopah and State Route 160 in Nye County, Nevada as flooding washed out sections of the highway. Unfortunately, I got caught in the storm.
The rain seemed to hit all at once. Even with my trucks wipers going full-tilt at the water — I couldn’t really see out of my wind shield.
The road took a beating. It rained hard for about five to six minutes.
Then like that it was over and I could see again. But that’s when the real trouble began.
Hot and humid, I rolled down my windows. In the distance I could hear the faint roaring sound of water on the move.
Without much warning that faint roar grew to a crescendo. Beyond, in the cloud-shrouded distance, water was cascading from the steep hillsides towards U.S. 95 and my truck.
As quick as possible, I cranked my front wheels towards the flow hoping to cause the water to rush around them and prevent my truck from being pushed into the ditch on the other side of the highway. The water still managed to turn my truck sideways.
Soon it was inches from entering my cab. There was very little to do but sit out the torrent and pray as I snapped photographs, which I accidentally took in black-and-white, having misset the camera’s programming in my haste.
In less than three minutes the flooding had come and gone. I watched it decrease from more than a foot in-depth to less than an inch washing over the asphalt to the west of me.
Thunderstorms in the high desert are fast-moving. After turning my truck so it was no longer across both lanes, I noticed the hills — which had been clouded-over — were now cloudless.
Finally, after several hours of waiting, the Nevada Highway Patrol started turning drivers around at the entrance of SR 160, which leads to Pahrump and which was also severely flooded. There would be no traveling on U.S. 95 until further notice and I’d have to wait out the closure or find another way home.
As I headed back towards where I had jus’ been, it surprised me to see the residue left in the wake of the flooding. U.S. 95 remained closed until Monday evening.
No one died or was hurt, one man did have to be rescued by helicopter after he got trapped in the mud, atop of his SUV. As for me, I eventually found another way home.