Thousands Evacuate As Water Overwhelms Tallest Dam In The US

They started releasing 100,000 cubic feet per second of water to allow the lake to drop by 50 feet and prevent a potentially massive wall of water from pouring into surrounding communities.

The California Department of Water Resources initially announced Sunday that the auxiliary spillway of the tallest dam in the US was expected to fail.

“Failure of the auxiliary spillway structure will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville,” an advisory from the National Weather Service said. “This is not a Drill. This is not a Drill. Repeat this is not a drill.”

Water had reached the top of the 770-foot-tall dam on Friday, sending a cascade into an emergency spillway for the first time in the dam’s history.

A plan was in the works to drop bags of rocks via helicopter into the crevasse, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. The amount of water coming into the emergency spillway was also lower, hopefully stabilizing the situation as a repair was made, he said.

The sheriff added he had called for the evacuation before information on the slower rate of erosion and potential repairs was available.

“The timeframe we were dealing with at that point was mere hours,” he said. “And I couldn’t risk the lives of thousands of people, so we took this rather significant step. I would rather be safe than sorry.”

Officials also assured the public that the dam itself is structurally sound, and separate from the auxiliary spillway.

The Oroville Dam is located about 75 miles north of Sacramento. The man-made Lake Oroville stores water for California’s drinking supply and helps with flood control.

[Source:-Buzzfeed news]

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