Hundreds of Nevada homes flood in levee break

SAN FRANCISCO Sat Jan 5, 2008 4:39pm GMT

SAN FRANCISCO Jan 5 (Reuters) - A levee broke east of Reno, Nevada, on Saturday following a strong winter storm and flooded an estimated 800 homes, a Nevada Department of Public Safety spokesman said.

A canal from the Truckee River near Fernley, 32 miles east of Nevada's second-largest city Reno, experienced a 30-foot-wide (nine meters) breach at 4 a.m. local time (1200 GMT), spokesman Chuck Allen said.

Impacted houses in the lower-lying section of town stood in three feet (one meter) of water after water spilled from the 150-foot-wide (45 meters), eight-foot-deep (2.4 meters) canal.

Officials in Fernley, an agricultural and suburban Reno community of 21,000, were evacuating people to a local school.

Over the past day, an especially powerful storm hit northern and central California as well as neighboring Nevada, causing widespread power outages, downed trees and cutting off some roads and air traffic. (Reporting by Adam Tanner; Editing by Eric Beech)