Train tracks are flooded Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, after the 21 Mile Dam near Montello, Nevada, broke and caused flooding to the Union Pacific railroad line near Lucin and flooded the town of Montello. The dam break forced delays or rerouting for more than a dozen freight and passenger trains on a main rail line that runs through the area, said Union Pacific spokesman Justin E. Jacobs. (Stuart Johnson/ The Deseret News via AP)
ELKO, Nev. (AP) — The Latest on a dam failure and flooding in Nevada (all times local):
Nevada's state water engineer says an earthen dam that burst near the Utah line passed an inspection last summer.
Jason King, state engineer for Nevada's Water Resources Division, said Thursday the dam used to hold water for rural irrigation in Elko County received a "fair" rating in June on a scale of "poor, fair and satisfactory."
He said in an email to The Associated Press that inspectors recommended some improvements, including the removal of deep-rooted vegetation and the monitoring of areas where seepage occurs.
But he said there were "no issues identified as needing immediate attention."
King said the Twentyone Mile Dam that broke near Montello on Wednesday is considered a "low hazard structure," which means any breach is not expected to cause loss of life.
A rural county in northeast Nevada has declared a state of emergency due to heavy rains that caused an earthen dam to burst, washed out a state highway and triggered flash flooding near the Utah line.
Elko County Sheriff Jim Pitts says county commissioners approved the state of emergency Thursday as his deputies searched for anyone who might be stranded.
No injuries have been reported. Authorities say there appears to be extensive damage to several ranches and farms. Most of the region remains under a flood warning.
Pitts says about 30 residences have been impacted by the floodwaters in Montello since the Twentyone Mile Dam broke Wednesday afternoon. A 10-mile stretch of State Route 233 remains closed.
Pitts says the emergency declaration will make the county eligible for state assistance.
Authorities say a state road remains closed and impassible after an earthen dam failed in a rural area of northeastern Nevada, releasing fast-moving water that covered low-lying roads and forced the rerouting of trains.
The National Weather Service said Thursday that flash-flood warnings have expired, but flood warnings remain in effect near Montello. Meteorologist Brian Boyd says most of the water that's built up behind the dam after heavy snow and runoff has now been released.
The Nevada Department of Transportation says State Route 233 remains closed to the Utah border.
A spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad says the waters forced delays or rerouting for more than a dozen freight and passenger trains.
Justin E. Jacobs says crews are assessing washed out and damaged areas. It's unknown when service will be restored.
AP Writers Scott Sonner in Reno, Ken Ritter in Las Vegas and Lindsay Whitehurst in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.