Evacuation order remains as officials want '100 percent' safety assurance

Posted February 15, 2017

Butte county Sheriff Kory Honea said that the evacuation order remains in place for the towns of Oroville, Palermo, Gridley, Thermalito, South Oroville, Oroville Dam, Oroville East and Wyandotte.

The American Red Cross has launched a massive disaster response in northern California, where almost 200,000 people have been ordered to evacuate due to the potentially catastrophic collapse of the Oroville Dam.

Butte County Sheriff Korey Honea told an earlier news briefing he was told by experts that the hole forming in the spillway could compromise the structure.

Bill Croyle, the acting director of the Department of Water Resources, said Monday that he was "not sure anything went wrong". State water officials slowed releases through that spillway after the water, looking like Niagara Falls, carved a section of hillside away toward the main face of the 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam.

Almost 190,000 people downstream from the Oroville Dam System have been evacuated as a precaution because of a breach in the spillway and the potential for flooding.

Dam operators first noticed chunks of concrete in the main spillway at Oroville on February 7, according to the Associated Press.

Armstrong says if need be water from the dam will be released into the Kern River, which happened before in 2006."While that means we'd have a lot of water flowing through the river, it doesn't mean widespread flooding, it's a controlled release", says Armstrong.

Fire at Disneyland parking garage on Monday
Anaheim fire officials say multiple cars were on fire inside the Mickey and Friends parking structure on Disneyland Drive. Officials initially waited for the smoke to clear before allowing guests to return to their vehicles shortly after 7 p.m.

More than 2,500 residents were in Red Cross and community shelters as of Tuesday morning, and the Red Cross is preparing to shelter and feed as many as 5,000 in the upcoming days.

Meanwhile, crews working around the clock atop the crippled Oroville Dam have made progress repairing the damaged spillway, reducing the lake level by at least 8 feet overnight at the Northern California reservoir.

"We've never seen anything like this in modern times", a state water official told NBC News.

The water level of the massive reservoir known as Lake Oroville dropped Monday, slightly easing fears of a catastrophic collapse. "People who have special needs or require extended time to evacuate should consider remaining evacuated", the statement said. He also said DWR engineers will spend the coming weeks calculating whether it makes sense to fix the existing concrete structure or build an entirely new spillway nearby.

Construction and helicopter units worked today to shore up an overflow channel and drain some water from the reservoir at the dam, in the hopes they can prevent spillage before more rain hits the already saturated region of California.

Obviously, the state did not upgrade the emergency spillway and, for whatever insane reason, they refused to reinforce the dam, endangering thousands of lives in the area.

"We don't want to bring them back until we are 100 percent assured that they can stay back in their homes", Chris Orrock of the state Department of Water Resources said.

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