130,000 are peo­ple evac­u­ated over Cal­i­for­nia dam con­cerns

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - NEWS SER­VICES

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.”

RICH PE­DRON­CELLI, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Wa­ter flows down Oroville Dam’s main spill­way Satur­day in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia. Of­fi­cials have or­dered res­i­dents to leave the area.

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