A mudslide caused by a summer thunderstorm closed a stretch of Nevada Highway 359 outside of Hawthorne for several hours on Aug. 27.
The road was closed at about 6:30 p.m. after the mudslide. Crews worked through the night and were able to reopen the highway by about 2 a.m. on Aug. 28, said Scott Magruder, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation.
The mudslide covered the road in a few inches of mud and rock, Magruder said. Front loaders were used to clear the debris from the road.
Mike Dillard, Mineral County Sheriff, ordered Mineral County Search and Rescue to send about a dozen volunteers to close the road in the aftermath of the mudslide.
The highway runs from Hawthorne to the California Stateline, where it becomes California Highway 167 and terminates into U.S. Highway 395 near Mono Lake.
Magruder said an NDOT maintenance crew was dispatched from Fallon to clear the road.
There was no apparent damage to the road, and cleanup probably cost in the thousands of dollars, Magruder said.
Flash floods like the one that closed the highway can often be devastating to roads, Magruder said.
A casual observer might not notice, but one of the key problems with building roads through the Nevada desert is drainage, Magruder said.
Flash flooding can completely wipe out the asphalt on top of roads and the roadbed underneath, Magruder said. When this happens closures stretch on for days and costs skyrocket.
Motorists who are driving and see a washed out road should pull over and not try to continue on, Magruder said.
“I think it’s important to note when there’s severe rain showers and you start seeing water come over the roadways […] I think the best advice is not to pass,” he said.
If you notice a road that has been washed out or damaged by a flash flood, you should call *NHP (*647) Magruder said.
The number is a non-emergency number that will connect callers to the Nevada Highway Patrol’s dispatch center, Magruder said.
Magruder said there have been several high profile instances of road washouts in Southern Nevada in recent weeks. Flash floods near Las Vegas knocked out State Road 447, which connects Las Vegas and Los Angeles.