Levee break floods Nevada town

Hundreds forced from homes; many residents may not be covered by flood insurance.


A break in an agricultural canal Saturday damaged several hundred homes and flooded this portion of Fernley, NV.
Credit: City of Fernley

Even while homes damaged in last weekend's flooding were still being inspected Tuesday, city officials learned the president had issued a Disaster Declaration for the the community. The declaration will provide federal money to rebuild public facilities damaged in the levee break and for local residents who have been impacted.

On Saturday, a 30-foot breach in a levee along the Truckee Canal sent water cascading across a two square mile area, leaving approximately 200 homes with severe damage, Melissa Subbotin of the Nevada governor's office said Sunday night. Subbotin said more homes may be damaged, but the assessment teams couldn't get to some areas Sunday due to the flooding.

Subbotin said there are approximately 800 houses in the flooded area.

Water in the Truckee Canal has been diverted into the Truckee River so that further flooding will not be a problem for the area. Officials from the Bureau of Reclamation have indicated that no water will be diverted back to the canal until it is safe to do so after all repairs have been made to the levee.

"No water is coming through any more," Subbotin said. "Repairs will begin as soon as possible."

Although heavy rains Friday may have contributed to the flooding, emergency officials said the canal was not full Saturday morning and that it was unclear what actually caused the break.

Officials from local and state public safety departments and representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) went door-to-door on Sunday assessing the damage at homes they could reach and talking to residents to determine what assistance they might need. About 300 people were directed to American Red Cross shelters in the area after evacuating their homes.

Temperatures in the area are in the 20s, Subbotin said and some of the flooded areas are freezing which is complicating the clean up process.

Fernley is located approximately 32 miles east of Reno and is one of the fasted growing cities in the state. According the city’s Web site, the city has a population of nearly 20,000 and median household income in 2000 was $44,695.

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Related Links:

City of Fernley's Web site


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