Nevada, Northern California struck by massive storm

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Authorities in the western U.S. state of Nevada say near-freezing waters from a ruptured canal have flooded about 800 homes following a powerful winter storm.

Authorities east of the city of Reno say a nine-meter-long section of the Truckee Canal broke early Saturday, sending a nearly one-meter-high flood into the small town of Fernley. They say more than 3,000 people have been affected by the flooding, with many evacuated to a local school.

There are no reports of any injuries.

In neighboring California, the fierce Pacific storm system brought winds of up to 240 kilometers an hour, leaving more than one million people without power Friday.

One of the hardest hit areas is the Sierra Nevada mountain region, where the storm turned into an arctic blizzard in the upper elevations. Forecasters say the region will get anywhere from two to three meters of snow by Sunday.

Forecasters also say the storm could dump as much as 25 centimeters of rain on parts of southern California.

The heavy rains could trigger flash floods and mudslides in areas burned during last year's massive wildfires. Officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation of thousands of homes near Los Angeles.