California asks Trump for help with Oroville Dam spillway
- Author: Larry Hoffman Feb 16, 2017,
Feb 16, 2017, 5:29
Communities downstream from the Oroville Dam were bustling again Wednesday, but the the Butte County Sheriff warned the emergency isn't over. Some at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico were upset to be away from their homes, while others tried to stay positive.
"I left everything in my house".
A mandatory evacuation affecting almost 200,000 people around Lake Oroville in California was downgraded to an evacuation warning Tuesday - with the caution that the condition of the dam that imperils the area could still change quickly.
Robert Bea, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at University of California, Berkeley, said it's "obvious those repairs didn't work". The main spillway is holding, but the release of such high volumes of water has flooded parts of the area - though not even close to the catastrophic inundation that could happen if the emergency spillway collapsed.
Meanwhile, questions remain about how the emergency situation at the dam was allowed to arise.
More rain was forecast from mid-week through to Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, but the state's Department of Water Resources said the upcoming storms were unlikely to threaten the emergency spillway. "People are really spent from the stresses of the last few days". On Sunday, officials discovered a hole in the spillway, which guards against the dam's overflow when water levels are high, and issued an evacuation order to surrounding cities and counties.
The Department of Water Resources began releasing water down its main spillway last week to make more room in the reservoir behind the 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam.
The Red Cross estimated 4,800 people were in its shelters as of Tuesday. "Every time they said something, they turned around and said something different". "It's very hard", California Governor Jerry Brown told a news conference on Monday evening. California will get some assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Gov.
Swift action by the department to shore up both spillways while also relieving pressure on the dam averted the immediate danger of a dam failure, Honea said.
"We didn't have a plan".
With blankets, pillows and a little food, Santiago said: "We're going to sleep in the vehicle".
Rock is prepped to be used on the Lake Oroville Dam after an evacuation was ordered for communities downstream from the dam, in Oroville, California on February 13, 2017. At 770 feet (230 meters) high, the structure, built between 1962 and 1968, is the tallest USA dam, exceeding the Hoover Dam by more than 40 feet (12 meters).