(Recasts with weather update, changes dateline, adds byline)
By Bob Tourtellotte
LOS ANGELES Jan 5 Californians braced for
another round of fierce winter weather on Saturday, a day after
strong winds, heavy rains and snow prompted evacuations and
left more than 1 million homes without electricity.
A canal levee broke near Reno, Nevada, early on Saturday
and flooded some 800 residences as the storm moved east, a
Nevada Department of Public Safety spokesman said.
But across neighboring California, people were mostly
cleaning up and seeing power restored. No major damage was
reported due to mudslides or rain, as had been feared after
wildfires scorched many hillside areas last year.
"We seem to be at a lull between two storms," said Rochelle
Jenkins, a spokeswoman for the California Governor's Office of
Emergency Services. "We had some minor slides, lots of downed
trees and downed power lines ... . But most of the (state)
agencies were very ready."
The second, colder weather front was expected to dump more
rain and snow across the state throughout Saturday and into
"(The bad weather) will continue through at least tomorrow,
and then there's another round on Monday," said Jane
Hollingsworth, a spokeswoman for the U.S. National Weather
The first storm swept through Northern California on
Friday, blowing scaffolding off buildings and shutting down
streets in San Francisco. Big trucks were barred from the
Golden Gate Bridge, where winds reached 55 mph (90 kph).
Mountains in the eastern part of the state were hit by
major snowfall and wind gusts as high as 100 to 150 mph
Snow accumulations of 8 to 10 feet (2.5 to 3 metres) were
expected in the Sierra Nevada mountains over the weekend.
By Friday night, the storm was pummeling Los Angeles and
communities to the south in Orange County, where roughly 3,000
people were asked to leave their homes in hillside areas hit by
wildfires and prone to mudslides.
On Saturday state officials said that no major slides or
home damage was reported in Orange County, and that power was
being restored to some 1.5 million homes across the state.
Near Fernley, Nevada, an agricultural and suburban town 32
miles (50 km) east of Reno, a 30-foot-wide (9-metre-wide)
breach erupted in a canal levee.
Some residences in the lower-lying section of the town
stood in 3 feet (1 metre) of water, leaving about 3,500 people
stranded. People were evacuated to a school.
(Additional reporting by Adam Tanner; Editing by Xavier