Oroville Dam Fails: Yuba City, Oroville Immediate Evacuation All Residents!

The Butte County Sheriff’s Department ordered the immediate evacuation of residents in Oroville, California on February 12. Those who live downstream or in low levels by the Oroville Dam were ordered to evacuate Sunday night due to the spillway’s “imminent” failure.

Oroville Dam Fails: Yuba City, Oroville Immediste Evacuation All Residents!

City of Yuba City strongly recommends an evacuation of all residents immediately. Travel options are as follows: South on Highway 99, West on Highway 20, Highway 99 South to Highway 113, or South on George Washington to Highway 113.

Do not travel Eastbound on Highway 20 or Bridge Street as the bridges are closed. Do not travel North.

Oroville Dam is one of the 20 largest dams in the world and is the largest earth-filled dam in the United States. It’s also the tallest dam in the U.S., standing 770-feet tall.

At its full capacity, the Oroville Dam measures 3,537,577 acre-feet and has a drainage area of 3,607 square miles.


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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city of Oroville has a population estimate of 16,260 as of July 1, 2016. During the 2010 census, the city reported a population of 15,546. Oroville is located north of Sacramento near Plumas National Forest.

The evacuation of the city and “imminent” failure of the dam is due to a flood control release of about 50,000 cubic feet of water per second. During the standard process of releasing the water, on February 7, much damage was found in the dam and a large crater formed. Workers continued to use the damaged spillway to move the water because the water level at Lake Oroville was high. But the emergency spillway was prepared to be used for the first time in the dam’s history.

Three days later, an even bigger hole was found by officials, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The hole had grown to about 45-feet deep, 300-feet wide and 500-feet long.

Because of the extensive damage, the workers activated the emergency spillway. At first thought, there was no threat to the safety of residents, but an overflow of the spillway started and water spewed out onto the nearby hills.

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A press conference by the department took place Sunday evening and it’s posted on its Facebook page that an evacuation center has been set up at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in nearby Chico.

It’s allocated the flow of the Feather River from the Sacramento-San Joquin Delta in the California Aqueduct, a system of canals and pipelines that transports water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The aqueduct is over 400-miles long and provides a large amount of water for irrigation use in the San Joaquin Valley and also water supplies on the Southern California coast.

Mary Greeley News
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