Over 175,000 residents in California that live below the Oroville Dam are being evacuated after officials declare that the massive dam is going to fail.
Massive amounts of rain and melted snow have filled the lake and the world’s tallest dam can’t take much more. The water is spilling over the emergency spillways and officials are frantic trying to keep them from failing completely and flooding the lower lying areas. For the first time in the history of the reservoir, it has exceeded capacity so early in the year. After the big snow melt in the spring is when it generally fills, but being full now means that this disaster is just developing.
The worse is yet to come. There are cracks forming in the spillways and holes in the dam are getting bigger. There are plans to use helicopters to drop large rocks and sandbags to try and fill the holes and keep the dam in place. The Sacramento Bee is reporting that the spillway is currently releasing twice the amount of water than is coming in and flooding will recede slightly through Tuesday.
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Right now, over 175,000 people have been evacuated, and hundreds of people are trying to work on fixing the damaged Oroville dam. The emergency spillway has been damaged and many officials are worried that it could have a “substantial” failure, which would be devastating to areas below the dam.
Things are bad in Oroville today, but they are about to get a lot worse. The weather coming into the area starting Wednesday will bring many more inches of rain to the surrounding areas and will make this problem a lot worse.
Rain is expected in the surrounding areas from Wednesday though next Monday, and a catastrophic disaster seems imminent according to the Department of Water Resources.
Many people are fleeing south to Sacramento as hotels are filling up quick with no end in site. If the dam’s emergency spillway holds up through the storms, then residents could return early next week.
If there is a major failure like many are expecting, then many of the fleeing residents may not have a home to come back to.