130,000 are people evacuated over California dam concerns
At least 130,000 people have been asked to evacuate over concerns California’s Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway could fail.
Officials say Oroville Lake levels are decreasing as they let water flow from its heavily damaged, main spillway but point out water is still spilling over the dam.
California officials say the cities of Oroville, Gridley, Live Oak, Marysville, Wheat land, Yuba City, Plumas Lake and Olivehurst are all under evacuation orders.
Residents of Oroville and nearby towns were ordered to leave immediately on Sunday afternoon after a “hazardous situation” developed involving an emergency spillway at the United States’ tallest dam, about 240 kilometres northeast of San Francisco.
The National Weather Service said the auxiliary spillway at the Oroville Dam (235 metres tall) was expected to fail early Sunday evening, which could send an “uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville,” after heavy rains.
Those in Oroville were asked to flee northward toward Chico. In Yuba County, those in the valley areas were urged to take routes to the east, south or west.
“This is not a drill. This is not a drill. Repeat, this is not a drill,” the National Weather Service said.
Authorities urged residents to contact neighbours and family members and reach out to the elderly and assist them in leaving their homes.
The Butte County Sheriff’s Department and the state Department of Water Resources said the failure of the auxiliary spillway was caused by “severe erosion.”
Water flows down Oroville Dam’s main spillway Saturday in northern California. Officials have ordered residents to leave the area.