Damage from the New Year's Day flood exceeds $5 million in the Reno area and $10 million in western Nevada, more than qualifying the area for federal disaster relief, according to County Flood Manager Aaron Kenneston.
In the Reno area alone, he told Washoe County Commissioners, at
least 225 homes and 28 businesses were damaged and roads, culverts
and other infrastructure received at least $5 million in damage,
with the tally still going on.
He said the damage to public property exceeds the $5 million
minimum required for President Bush to declare a federal disaster,
which would open the door to federal assistance, mostly in
low-interest loans to individuals and businesses.
Including Carson City, Storey and Douglas and Lyon counties,
Kenneston said the tally is at least $10 million, not including
damage to private property in those counties.
Kenneston said he expects the Federal Emergency Management
Administration to announce a decision by Bush in a week or so.
If a disaster is declared, he said FEMA would immediately open a
local office to process loans and would help assess repair work for
ditches, culverts and other projects to avert losses in future
He said Washoe County could qualify for federal money, possibly
in the millions, to do such work because the county has approved
plans for handling 13 different disasters. The plans are required
for such assistance.
Kenneston described the flood as a 50-year flood as opposed to
the 100-year event of New Year's Day 1997. As reports come in, the
locations are being pegged on a map. The biggest clusters are the
Sparks industrial district near Spice Islands Drive north of the
Truckee River and the nearby Reno business area on the south side
of the river.
Other areas where damage reports are clustered include
Steamboat, Toll Road, Hidden Valley, South Hills, scattered homes
in Callahan Ranch and the southwest meadows, Golden Valley and
along the Last Chance, Steamboat and Lake ditches in southwest
Of the Washoe County homes damaged, Kenneston said 87 were in
Reno, two were in Sparks and 136 were outside the two cities. Of
the businesses, 14 were in Reno, 12 in Sparks and two in the