Residents Below the Oroville Dam Return Home as Massive Construction Project Continues to Repair the Damaged Spillway
Today, officials lifted the mandatory evacuations of Oroville and other areas below the Oroville Dam on the Feather River. According to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, “Due to lower lake levels, further inspections, ongoing work to shore-up the Oroville Dam emergency spillway and updated weather forecasts…the Evacuation Order …has been reduced to an Evacuation Warning.”
The Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said that while the safety of the public was the most important thing to consider, after constant monitoring of the dam by multiple agencies, the problems appear to have been mitigated.
One of those threats was the surface level of the lake which was lowered to keep water from flowing over the emergency spillway. With more storms on the way, officials wanted to reduce the lake’s level to one they felt confident would allow for the water from the upcoming storms to be taken in. Currently 100,000 cubic feet a second of water is being released over the damaged main spillway to drop the surface level to 850 feet. As of noon today the lake was 887 and inflow has dropped to 19,000 cfps.
While the evacuation order has been lifted, officials were still calling for an evacuation warning, wanting citizens to be situationally aware and prepared should the condition of spillways worsen.
Repairs to the dam continued with officials stating there were 125 different construction crews working on it. Helicopters and large trucks were moving an estimated 30 tons of rock per hour from a staging area near the dam.
Residents were returning to their homes throughout the day.