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Old 13-02-17, 23:42   #1
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Important Damaged US Dam May Cause 'Tsunami' Tidal Wave >Race to Save DAM

Race to Save Badly Damaged California Dam Before MORE Rainfall:
Second Storm is Set to Hit The Tallest Dam in America in 48 hours and Could Cause Devastating 100ft Deep Flood That Will Leave 200,000 Homeless

  • Authorities have said they want to lower the water level by at least 50 feet before storms arrive Wednesday
  • There are fears the Oroville Dam could collapse and unleash flooding, leaving towns 100 foot underwater
  • Nearly 200,000 residents evacuated in Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties in Northern California amid fears
  • Currently, the water level of Lake Oroville is dropping at a rate of roughly three- to four-inches per hour
  • All 23,000 of the California National Guard have been put on standby to assist the situation and recovery
  • Water levels reached 50-year high after rainfall and threatened citizens living near the massive Oroville Dam
  • A gaping chasm in the main spillway has disrupted the flow of the water, which prompted the flooding fears
  • Levels fell on Monday morning, meaning inspectors had a chance to get in and look at the damaged spillway
Daily Mail UK, 13 February 2017

California is in a desperate race against time to drain up to 50-feet of water from the stricken Oroville Dam before a storm hits on Wednesday.
Almost 200,000 people were ordered on Sunday to evacuate along a 40-mile stretch of the Feather River below the dam after authorities said its emergency spillway could give way.

A gaping 250-foot chasm in it was expected to collapse and unleash a 30ft 'tsunami' tidal wave that could have killed thousands and left nearby towns under 100ft of flood water.

However, while the situation seemed less dire by Monday morning, it is still critical and the evacuees were told they could not return to their homes because the coming storm might still destroy part of the dam.
Meteorologists are predicting the rain to begin on Wednesday night, dumping up to four inches by Thursday morning with more to drain from the mountains during the day.

Destruction: An aerial photograph shows the damage done to the area surrounding the spillway at Oroville Dam after it nearly collapsed on Sunday

Power: A water utility worker stares at the staggering amount of water being released down the spillway at the Oroville Dam after its spillway almost collapsed on Sunday - sparking the evacuation of 200,000 people

Still pouring: Water continues to run down the main spillway at Lake Oroville on Monday. The water level dropped overnight behind the nation's tallest dam

Still flowing: As the day began, officials from the California Department of Water Resources prepared to inspect an erosion scar (pictured) on the spillway at the dam on Lake Oroville, about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco

Looming danger: A California Department of Fish and Wildlife employee observes the rushing water as it drains down the spillway at the Oroville Dam after it nearly partially collapsed on Sunday

Pouring: The department said authorities were releasing water to lower the lake's level after weeks of heavy rains in drought-plagued California

Raging: The water level dropped Monday behind the dam, reducing the risk of a catastrophic spillway collapse and easing fears that prompted the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people downstream

Makeshift: Water rushes down a spillway as an emergency measure at the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California

Brutal fix: Rock is prepped to be used on the Lake Oroville Dam to plug the hole in the spillway that almost imploded

Effort: Officials said the situation seemed less dire overnight but Sacramento television station KCRA reported that helicopters from around the state were sent to drop chest-high bags of rocks to close the hole in the spillway

Respite: Officials have been inspecting the nation's tallest dam since first night this morning in a desperate effort to stop a devastating 100-foot tsunami from being unleashed. Pictured is the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam on Monday morning after the water level dropped

On Monday, emergency crews prepared loads of rock to be dropped by helicopters to seal the crumbling spillway that threatens to inundate communities along the Feather River in Northern California.
Local crews were seen in dump trucks dropping off piles of rock, which were then loaded into the bags with backhoes. The operation to close the gap would begin as soon as it was feasible, authorities said.

The crisis suddenly and dramatically began on Sunday afternoon when the Department of Water Resource said the spillway next to the dam was 'predicted to fail within the next hour'.
However, it has remained intact.

Overnight, state and local officials said the immediate danger had passed with water no longer flowing over the eroded spillway but they cautioned that the situation remained unpredictable.

'Once you have damage to a structure like that it's catastrophic,' acting Water Resources director Bill Croyle told reporters. But he stressed 'the integrity of the dam is not impacted' by the damaged spillway.

The state Department of Water Resources wants to drain 1.2 million acre feet of water from Lake Oroville at the dam before Wednesday's storm.
They said that the capacity of the reservoir, which is the second largest in California, is about 35 million feet.

Currently, the water level of Lake Oroville is dropping at a rate of roughly three- to four-inches per hour, according to the agency. Which would put it on course to fail to reach its target of 50 feet by Wednesday.

Fight: This long exposure photograph shows the Oroville Dam discharging water at a rate of 100,000 cubic feet per second over a spillway as an emergency measure

Overflow: Officials said on Sunday night water falling over the Oroville Dam's emergency spillway has stopped as Oroville lake levels dropped low enough

Spillway: A massive hole is causing major erosion around the Oroville Dam in California. The hole formed Tuesday and has continued to grow since then

Precarious situation: An aerial of the Oroville Dam reveals the dangerous flooding at the spillway that has left the area in imminent danger of a catastrophic flood

Aerial: Lake water flows over the emergency spillway, bottom left, at Lake Oroville for the first time in the nearly 50-year history of the dam on Saturday

The department said authorities were releasing water to lower the lake's level after weeks of heavy rains in drought-plagued California.

The water level in Lake Oroville rose significantly in recent weeks after a series of storms that dumped rain and snow across California, particularly in northern parts of the state.

The high water forced the use of the dam's emergency spillway, or overflow, for the first time in the dam's nearly 50-year history on Saturday.

Officials said they feared the damaged spillway would unleash a 30-foot wall of water on Oroville. They said evacuation orders remained in place for some 188,000 people in the area and are still in place.

The Yuba County Office of Emergency Services urged evacuees to travel east, south or west. 'DO NOT TRAVEL NORTH TOWARD OROVILLE,' the department warned on Twitter.

Evacuation centers were set up at a fairgrounds in Chico, California, about 20 miles northwest of Oroville, but major highways leading south out of the area were jammed as residents fled the flood zone.

Javier Santiago, 42, fled with his wife, two children and several friends to the Oroville Dam Visitors Center in a public park above the dam and the danger zone.
With blankets, pillows and a little food, Santiago said: 'We're going to sleep in the car.'

This map shows the potential worst case scenario for what could happen if the waters are not controlled and the flood breaks through the dam. It would take about 12 hours for the water to reach Yuba City more than 40 miles away following the path of the Feather River

The water falling over the Oroville Dam's emergency spillway stopped as the lake level dropped on Sunday



One of the key factors in the threat is the rapid rate at which water levels have risen. After years of severe drought in the region, heavy rain and snow have sent levels skyrocketing.

It is the first time that Lake Oroville, which lies 65 miles (105km) north of Sacramento, has been faced with such a potentially devastating emergency in the dam's nearly half-century history.

The order for nearby residents to flee was issued after water levels climbed in the last week. The rise was compounded by the fact the dam's main spillway, also known as an overflow channel, was found to be damaged.

As a result, the dam's emergency spillway was called upon and activated for the first time since it was built in 1968, as flood waters rose ever higher.

But shockingly, the secondary spillway was also found to be damaged.
In a statement posted on social media on Sunday afternoon, Mr Honea ordered residents to evacuate, repeating three times that it was 'NOT a drill'.
The California Department of Water Resources warned that the emergency spillway next to the dam was 'predicted to fail'.

With more rain expected Wednesday and Thursday, officials were rushing to try to fix the damage and hoping to reduce the dam's water level by 50 feet ahead of the storms.

The sudden evacuation panicked residents, who scrambled to get their belongings into cars and then grew angry as they sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic hours after the evacuation order was given.

Raj Gill, managing a Shell station where anxious motorists got gas and snacks, said his boss told him to close the station and flee himself. But he stayed open to feed a steady line of customers.

'You can't even move,' he said. 'I'm trying to get out of here too. I'm worried about the flooding. I've seen the pictures - that's a lot of water.'
A Red Cross spokeswoman said more than 500 people showed up at an evacuation center in Chico, California.

The shelter ran out of blankets and cots, and a tractor-trailer with 1,000 more cots was stuck in the gridlock of traffic fleeing the potential flooding Sunday night, Red Cross shelter manager Pam Deditch said.

A California Highway Patrol spokesman said two planes would fly on Monday to help with traffic control and possible search-and-rescue missions.

At least 250 California law enforcement officers were posted near the dam and along evacuation routes to manage the exodus and ensure evacuated towns don't become targets for looting or other criminal activity.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said a lot was still unknown.
'We need to continue to lower the lake levels, and we need to give the Department of Water Resources time to fully evaluate the situation so we can make the decision to whether or not it is safe to repopulate the area,' Honea said.

About 188,000 residents of Yuba, Sutter and Butte counties were ordered to evacuate.

Acting Director Department of Water Resources Bill Croyle said officials will be able to assess the damage to the emergency spillway now that the lake level has come down.
It comes after it emerged amid the frantic evacuations that federal and state officials and some of California's largest water agencies rejected concerns 12 years ago about the precarious state the dam - which was built between 1962 and 1968.

The dangerous situation sparked the California National Guard to put out a notification to all 23,000 soldiers and airmen to be ready to deploy if needed.
The last time an alert for the entire California National Guard was issued was the 1992 riots.
'I'm just shocked,' said Greg Levias, who was evacuating with his wife, Kaysi, two boys and a dog.

What they couldn't fit in their trunk they piled as high as they could in their downstairs Yuba City apartment and joined the line of traffic attempting to leave the city where they had moved just three weeks ago.

The area under threat: About 150 miles northeast of San Francisco, Lake Oroville - one of California's largest man-made lakes - had water levels so high that an emergency spillway was used Saturday for the first time in almost 50 years



There is no map showing exactly what will happen if the emergency spillway collapses tonight. Officials only have a map showing a failure of the dam. That worst case scenario is useful in that it shows where water goes and how fast it gets there.

Water would get to the town of Oroville within an hour.

If Oroville Dam were to suffer a massive breach, water would get to the town of Oroville within an hour, according to GIS maps maintained by CalFire.

Within two hours, the small town of Briggs would be affected. In three hours, Gridley would be hit. Water would reach Live Oak in five hours..
It would take eight to 12 hours for the water to get to Marysville and Yuba City.

If the dam completely failed, flood depths could reach more than 100 feet in Oroville and up to 10 feet in Yuba City.
The CalFire maps represent a catastrophic breach and are not necessarily indicative of what could happen tonight.



39,000 from Butte Count
65,000 from Yuba County
76,000 from Yuba City
12,000 from Marysville County

State Fire and Rescue Chief Kim Zagaris said at least 250 law enforcement officers from throughout the state are in the area or on their way to help with the evacuation.

Bumper-to-bumper: If the dam collapses, water would get into Oroville within an hour. Shortly thereafter, the nearby towns of Briggs, Gridley and Live Oak would be affected. It would take eight to 12 hours for water to reach the cities of Marysville and Yuba City

Safe: Evacuees Jason and his wife Elizabeth Bourquin of Live Oak, settle in for the night with their son Dallas, 5, at the Neighborhood Church of Chico in Chico, California

Comfort: Chris Arden (left) keep evacuee George Moody company in the main sanctuary of the Neighborhood Church of Chico in Chico

Water from the nearby Feather River floods the Marysville Cemetery on Saturday in Marysville, California


Dramatic pictures taken or Lake Oroville stand in stark contrast to the chaotic scenes witnessed over the weekend.

Rather than seeing the rush of water bursting through overflow spillways, boats sat idle as most of the dam's sandy floor could be seen - due to it being just 25 per cent full in May 2015.
Houseboats on the lake were forced to moor just meters apart as the aquatic real estate available for them to occupy continued to shrink.

During the drought: A section of Lake Oroville is seen nearly dry on August 19, 2014

The impact of the drought was seen in 2014 and 2015, with the dam almost entirely dry during the lengthy spell

Photographs taken from atop the rolling water made it almost impossible to see the water below. So much of it was gone, and it was unsure whether it would ever come back.

At the time, statewide water restrictions were been ordered for the first time in history to combat the region's devastating drought.
In April of 2015, California's Governor Jerry Brown ordered a 25 per cent cutback in water use by cities and towns.

Dozens of houseboats had been forced to move closer together at the dam because there was simply not as much space for them to anchor as the drought continued

Low water levels are visible in the Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville on August 19, 2014

The crackdown came as the state moves toward a fourth summer of drought with no relief in sight.

Brown's crackdown came after he asked residents in January 2014 to cut their water consumption by 20 per cent. Unfortunately, on half of all Californians managed to achieve that.

But those dry days couldn't be further from the minds of locals now, as fears grow suburbs downstream could be covered in floodwaters if the dam breaks after heavy rainfall and snow in recent months.

After years of drought Northern California has endured several months of exceptionally wet weather. Oroville and other lakes are brimming and have begun releasing water to make room for more runoff.

Department engineer and spokesman Kevin Dossey told the Sacramento Bee the emergency spillway was rated to handle 250,000 cubic feet per second, but it began to show weakness Sunday after flows peaked at 12,600 cubic feet per second.
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