Oroville, California: Thousands of northern Californians were asked to leave their homes on Sunday night as an emergency weir in the country’s tallest dam risked failing and triggering uncontrolled flooding on the cities below.
The emergency weir at the Oroville Dam in northern California could fail within an hour of uncontrolled flooding of Lake Oroville, the California Department of Water Resources said on Sunday afternoon.
People in downstream areas must leave the area immediately, the department said. Officials stressed on Sunday that the dam was structurally sound and said there was no threat to the public.
Residents of Oroville, a city of 16,000 people, are expected to head north towards Chico, and other cities should follow orders from their local law enforcement agencies, the County Sheriff’s Office Butte said.
The Yuba County Emergency Services Office has asked residents of the bottom of the valley, including Marysville, a town of 12,000 residents, to evacuate and take roads to the east, south or West and avoid going to Oroville.
The California Water Resources Department announced that it was releasing up to 100,000 cubic feet per second from the main weir, which is heavily damaged, to try to drain the lake.
Department Kevin Dossey told the Sacramento Bee the emergency weir was assessed to handle 250,000.
Cubic feet per second, but it began to show weakness Sunday at a small fraction of that. Flows through the weir reached a peak of 12,600 cubic feet per second at 1 o’clock Sunday and dropped to 8,000 cubic feet per second at noon.
click here for more world news
The water began to flow over the emergency weir at the Oroville dam in northern California on Saturday for the first time in its nearly 50-year history after heavy rains.
An unexpected erosion bit through the main weir earlier this week, sending pieces of concrete flying and creating a 200-foot-long, 30-foot-deep hole that continues to grow. Engineers do not know what caused the collapse, but Chris Orrock, a spokesman for the State Department of Water Resources, said it appears that the main spillway of the dam has stopped collapsing Even if used for water discharges.
About 150 miles northeast of San Francisco, Lake Oroville is one of the largest artificial lakes in California, and the 770-foot-high Oroville Dam is the largest of the nation. The lake is a central part of California’s water distribution network, providing water for agriculture in the central valley and residents and businesses in southern California.