“This is not a drill. Repeat this is not a drill,” the National Weather Service said Sunday, urging people living below Oroville Dam to evacuate.
More than 100,000 people were told to evacuate because of a “hazardous situation” involving the Northern California dam’s emergency spillway. At one point, the NWS warned that the auxiliary spillway was expected to fail and could send an “uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville.” However, by late Sunday night, officials said the immediate threat had passed because water had stopped washing over the emergency spillway.
Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Eroding, Evacuations Ordered
- The mass evacuations cap a week of frantic efforts to prevent flooding as the reservoir behind America’s tallest dam reached capacity and its main spillway was severely damaged.
- On Saturday, water levels rose so high that an emergency spillway was used for the first time. Officials initially believed the measure worked. But Sunday afternoon, as more water from record storms flowed into Lake Oroville, officials detected a hole in the emergency spillway and eventually ordered the evacuations.
- By late Sunday, the crisis at the Oroville Dam eased somewhat, as the water level at the reservoir dropped. That halted water flow from a damaged emergency spillway that officials feared could collapse. But officials stressed that the situation is still dangerous and that evacuations should continue.
- A failure of the emergency spillway could cause huge amounts of water to flow into the Feather River, which runs through downtown Oroville, and other waterways.
- Gov. Jerry Brown issued an emergency order aimed at bolstering the state’s response to the crisis.
- A list of evacuation centers can be found here. source