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Thousands Evacuated Surrounding California’s Oroville Dam

13 Feb 2017, 9:58 am

Emergency evacuations continue today in Oroville, California, as authorities warned that they expect the Oroville Dam emergency spillway to fail. Over 180,000 residents of parts of California were forced to evacuate their homes on Sunday after concerns grew over the Oroville Dam.

[Credit: California Highway Patrol – Valley Division via Storyful]

[Credit: YouTube/CHP-Valley Division via Storyful]

For the first time ever, water began running over the emergency spillway around 8 a.m. on Saturday. The dam on Oroville Lake is the tallest in the United States and it was the first time the emergency spillway was used in the reservoir’s nearly 50-year history.

[Credit: California DWR via Storyful]

Emergency evacuations were first ordered on Sunday for the areas surrounding the dam. It followed damage to the regular spillway, prompting concerns that the emergency one wouldn’t hold the mass of water, according to Butte County Sheriff. The dam was damaged by storms that hit Northern California last week.

According to California’s Department of Water Resources: “The concern is that erosion at the head of the auxiliary spillway threatens to undermine the concrete weir and allow large, uncontrolled releases of water from Lake Oroville.”

A 200-foot-long, 30-foot-deep hole had formed in the spillway, according to reports. The California Department of Water Resources announced on Sunday that it was using helicopters to drop large rocks to fill the hole.

[Credit: YouTube/Alan Kuentz via Storyful]

California Governor Jerry Brown has issued an emergency order to help out with the flooding situation. Local officials have been briefing residents frequently with the latest information on social media and with press conferences. The California National Guard is assisting with evacuations.

Soldiers from 184th Infantry, California National Guard, prepare vehicles and equipment after being activated to assist…

Posted by 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, California Army National Guard on Sunday, February 12, 2017

Many residents spent hours in their vehicles when the evacuations were ordered. Long lines formed on streets and highways. Flash Flood Warnings continue for the area at this time.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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