Massive Crevasse In California Dam, Country's Largest, Forces Thousands Of Evacuations

The emergency spillway, which has never been used until now, has been shouldering the burden since Saturday. Rather, it's a 1,700-foot long concrete weir that empties onto a dirt hillside.

Q: So is water being sent down the damaged regular spillway? "That causes huge amounts of havoc".

It rises higher than the spillways, so water was not close to cascading over its top. The main spillway is on the bottom and the emergency spillway is above. California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an emergency order on Sunday to help with response efforts.

When asked about a 2005 motion that urged federal officials to require that the emergency spillway be lined with concrete to avoid erosion, Croyl said he was not familiar with the document.

Initial fears of collapse were walked back yesterday before officials saw more signs today that the entire emergency spillway could fail "within the hour".

The lake it's situated on, Lake Oroville, is also one of California's largest man-made lakes.

The 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam - the nation's tallest - lies 150 miles northeast of San Francisco.

"There was concern that it would compromise the integrity of the spillway, resulting in a substantial release of water", he said.

In addition to the emergency spillway, water was also flowing through the main spillway that was significantly damaged from erosion, he said. Officials with the California Department of Water Resources, which owns and operates the dam and reservoir, then chose to use the adjacent emergency spillway for the first time since the dam was built almost 50 years ago. The emergency spillway appears more like a muddy mess of small creeks that spill menacingly from the reservoir.

State Fire and Rescue Chief Kim Zagaris says at least 250 California law enforcement officers are in the area of the dam and evacuation routes to manage the exodus of residents and ensure evacuated towns don't face looting or other criminal activity.

Still, as rain approaches later this week, the California Department of Water Resources is up against the clock to fix the spillway.

"They told us not to worry". And as for state regulators, he said, "what they said is that the existing spillway is safe". "First of all, they're not supposed to fail".

The spillway of the tallest dam in the United States failed this week under a deluge of rain and rapid snowmelt.

Q: What caused the problems with the spillways?

It is estimated the cost of repairing the dam could approach $100 million.

An estimated 700 people stayed at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds Sunday night.

Department of Water Resources spokesman Eric See said earlier Sunday that skies were clear, and the overflow was steadily slowing. "We don't know exactly why this erosion occurred". "I don't recall the FERC process". Lake Oroville had dropped to 898 feet by 4 a.m., according to the Sacramento Bee.

Oroville Lake levels had decreased by Sunday night as they let water flow from its heavily damaged main spillway. Rushing waters quickly eroded it and officials believed a flood disaster was imminent. The order spread to 65,000 from Yuba County City and another 76,000 from Yuba County as officials warned that portions of the unstable embankment might collapse.

  • Salvatore Jensen