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Evacuation ordered for Oroville as dam spillway expected to fail

Evacuation ordered for Oroville as dam spillway expected to fail

With files from the Associated Press.

Last week, as the level in Lake Oroville was rising, PG&E took precautions to ensure preparedness in the event the situation worsened. The state's National Guard said it would provide eight helicopters to assist in reconstructing the emergency spillway.

David Capka, acting director of FERC's Division of Dam Safety and Inspections, directed the state's Department of Water Resources yesterday to assemble a five-member independent board to assess damage to the spillway and adjacent areas, and review ways to reduce risk and increase safety during the emergency period and beyond. "We didn't want to have more damage, but we needed to evacuate water".

When reservoirs get too full, their operators release extra water down long channels, or spillways, created to carry it downstream and into safety.

On Sunday, the spillway on the dam, the tallest in the US, began to erode, causing water levels to rise at such a rate that officials forced residents of nearby counties and cities to leave their homes and find shelter elsewhere. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber).

"I'm ready to leave at any second", he told KRCR, "but I don't think the threat's that great at the moment".

The lake level was at 889 feet as of 9 a.m. ET, and officials are reportedly aiming for it to decline to 860 feet or below before new rain and melted snow starts running into the reservoir on Thursday.

Sacramento NBC affiliate KCRA reports the spillway could fail, potentially sending a 30-foot wall of water into the Feather River Basin.

The force of water siphoned from the lake has damaged both spillways. Without reinforcements, water could creep beneath the lip, causing it to crumble and allowing water to gush over the side.

In a letter Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown told reporters Monday night, Reuters reported. "At the time I did not disclose the location where those inmates were going to be housed because it would have posed a security risk while they were in transit".

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, meanwhile, sent an eight-person team to the area to help California officials prepare for potential flooding. "It's not a wait-and-see game". The level was 884 feet on Tuesday morning. Engineers can release excess water through these chutes in a controlled manner in order to prevent flooding. In an effort to contain the damage, they slowed the outflow from the main spillway, letting the lake rise.

The crisis peaked Sunday, when engineers found the pocket of erosion under the emergency spillway - a concrete wall built to permit overflow when Lake Oroville hits capacity. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings.

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).

The Colorado River supplies 19 million urban dwellers in Southern California through a 242-mile aqueduct from Lake Havasu, Arizona, to the state's coastal regions that was completed by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in 1941.

"The emergency spillway meets FERC's engineering guidelines for an emergency spillway", he added.

This left the emergency spillway badly eroded with a gaping hole.

"Maybe it's much more likely to occur than we thought", Mount said. "We're in a very complex society where things can go wrong", he said.

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