BOULDER CITY – In preparation for monsoon season, Lake Mead National Recreation Area has implemented a new flood response plan for the Cottonwood Cove area of the park near Searchlight, Nevada.


As part of the plan, visitors may be asked to shelter in place or evacuate to high ground if flash flooding occurs. A weather siren will indicate when evacuation is mandatory. Park staff plan to test the siren multiple times from noon to 1 p.m. today, June 26. Additional tests will be conducted monthly.

A recent risk-screening study indicated that the lower levee that diverts flash flood waters away from the developed areas within Cottonwood Cove are highly vulnerable, indicating that a 50-year-flood could erode the sand and gravel levee.

“Visitor and employee safety is the park’s number one priority,” said Lizette Richardson, park superintendent. “The National Park Service has been implementing multiple short-term and long-term risk reduction measures in response to risk screening studies that have been conducted in the area.”

Those measures include the new flood response plan, temporary improvements to the existing levee system and a multi-million dollar capital improvement project that will divert flood waters away from Cottonwood Cove directly into Lake Mohave.

The National Park Service developed the flood response plan in cooperation with the National Weather Service.

“The new flood response plan for Cottonwood Cove serves as a great example of two federal agencies working closely together for public safety,” said Todd Lericos, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.

When the weather service issues a flash flood warning for the area, park staff shall notify persons in the area to shelter in place within the existing flood protection system.

If conditions worsen, the flood siren shall be triggered, indicating a mandatory evacuation is in effect. Persons in the area will be required to evacuate on foot to high ground or to a designated flash flood refuge.

During both the shelter in place and mandatory evacuation phases, roadways leaving the park will likely be flooded.

“I encourage everyone visiting the park to plan ahead by checking the latest weather forecast, especially during the monsoon season,” said Lericos. “Preparing for severe weather and flash flooding by having a plan is always a good idea.”

Tune in to Marine Band Radio Channels 1, 11, 16 or 22 for weather updates and flood response plan announcements or visit the National Weather Service at

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