30 Mar Oroville Dam Spillway Damage Results in Massive Evacuations
Impact Discusses the Oroville Dam Spillway Damage which Results in Massive Evacuations
After a massive hole was discovered an emergency spillway designed to catch excess water from Lake Oroville when its water level rises to overflow the dam, 188,000 people were evacuated from the towns surrounding the Oroville Dam. The spillway damage threatened communities downstream, including those in Butte, Sutter, and Yuba counties, the water moved quickly and created what many referred to as pure chaos.
In response to the burst dam, many residents only had a few minutes to prepare for evacuation. As stores closed and shelters opened, police manned roadblocks and directed evacuees as they waited in traffic and mobbed gas stations on their way out. Most stations were out of gas by early Monday, but Governor Jerry Brown still praised the cooperation between local and state and civil authorities. While he did speak with President Donald Trump’s cabinet to request federal response aid, the governor stopped short of saying there are problems with California’s flood infrastructure. Nonetheless, he said he welcomes more scrutiny when moving forward.
The main spillway, which is meant to release water to the lake in order to prevent overflow, succumbed to erosion that left a hole the size of a football field and 40 feet deep in the lower channel. This hole cannot be fixed immediately. The emergency spillway, which was used for the first time on Saturday after the lake reached 901 feet, is covered in trees. With water no longer flowing over the emergency spillway and lake levels falling, personnel hope the lake can be lowered by 50 feet prior to the next rainfall.