[UPDATE 10:49 p.m.] Oroville Dam Spillway Failing; Evacuations Ordered as Far Away as Yuba City
According to the California Department of Water Resources have issued emergency evacuation orders as “Officials are anticipating a failure of the Auxiliary Spillway at Oroville Dam…Residents of Oroville should evacuate in a northward direction, toward Chico. Other cities should follow the orders of their local law enforcement.
The Butte County Sheriff warned,
Operation of the auxiliary spillway has lead to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the structure. Failure of the auxiliary spillway structure will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville.
In response to this developing situation, DWR is increasing water releases to 100,000 cubic feet per second.
Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered.”
The Sacramento Bee is reporting that Marysville and Yuba City are under mandatory evacuation orders.
The Butte County Sheriff’s scanner indicates that there are multiple people who are incapacitated and unable to leave their homes. They are being put on what sounds like a long list.
Below is a photo of the spillway taken yesterday.
Here is a graphic put out by the National Weather Service showing possible route that the water will flow.
UPDATE 6:43 p.m.: This was posted on National Weather Service about 6:20 p.m.
Oroville Press Conference https://t.co/qcbgLP8uzG
— CA – DWR (@CA_DWR) February 13, 2017
UPDATE 6:48 p.m.: According to the above Butte County Sheriff speaking at the above press conference, “The erosion that caused all this concern is not advancing as rapidly as they thought.” He added, There is a plan in place to use helicopters to fill the hole in the auxiliary spillway.
UPDATE 6:50 p.m.:We have deputies and other emergency personnel notifying residents, The Butte Sheriff explained. “We recognize this has caused a significant problem.” Swift water teams are being mobilized, said the Cal Fire Spokesperson.
UPDATE 7:23 p.m.: The roads leading away from the evacuation areas are jammed.
Traffic jammed up everywhere in Yuba City and Marysville due to evacuation order. Expect major delays. pic.twitter.com/ttYW4dHMYN
— Caltrans District 3 (@CaltransDist3) February 13, 2017
UPDATE 8:16 p.m.: The stories on the scanner are heartbreaking. Two juveniles were found in the evacuation area. According to the deputy who found them “sleeping alongside the road,” they got separated from their parents during the evacuation.
UPDATE 8:40 p.m.: This is a tweet from a resident above the dam who posted this video about 7:45 p.m. This shows the bags of rocks being loaded for the helicopters that will be dropping them into the hole in the spillway.
— Judy Brandt (@judywbrandt) February 13, 2017
UPDATE 9 p.m.: The National Weather Service shows in their map below the area in red around Oroville as a flash flood warning because of the issues with the dam spillway. The larger green area is due to regular warning that rainy weather earlier was causing some flooding along creeks and streams and in urban areas.
UPDATE 9:02 p.m.: Butte County Sheriff said they are “evacuating the Butte County Jail, out of an abundance of caution.”
UPDATE 9:08 p.m.: A press conference will be held at 10 p.m.
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UPDATE 9:40 p.m.: According to numerous reports, the water has stopped going over the emergency spillway. This is good news. The bad news is that new storms are predicted to move in on Wednesday.
UPDATE 10:20 p.m.: The Butte County Sheriff has confirmed that the water has stopped flowing over the spillway. However, they need to analyse whether or not it is safe to bring residents back in.
UPDATE 10:38 p.m.: The Butte County Sheriff says he doesn’t know when the evacuations will be lifted.
UPDATE 10:49 p.m.: Governor Brown issued Emergency Order to Help Response to Situation at Oroville Dam. Click here to read it.