The potentially catastrophic collapse of the Oroville Dam in Northern California forced 200,000 nearby residents to flee their homes on Feb. 12. New pictures out of the area put a face on the terrifying, and still-changing, situation. See them now!
California Governor Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency on Feb. 12, after more than 200,000 people were swept up in an emergency evacuation of neighboring areas of the Oroville Dam. Located about 70 miles north of Sacramento, Lake Oroville surged to record heights thanks to recent, and heavy, rains. Overflow began pouring down two emergency spillways after water levels surpassed 900 feet (above sea level) and subsequently caused concern when officials realized both spillways were damaged. The potential destruction, should either have failed completely, became cause for alarm to anyone in the area.
Oroville Spillway Media Briefing 12PM 2/13/17 https://t.co/KT0qwlu1gF
— CA – DWR (@CA_DWR) February 13, 2017
Several counties began evacuations when the California Department of Water Resources tweeted a prediction that the entire dam would “fail” within an hour. If that had happened, a tsunami wave nearing 100 feet would have devastated 40 plus miles along the Feather River. Sutter and Butte Counties, which lie 30 miles south of Oroville and includes Yuba City, Live Oak, and Gridley, were all included in evacuation efforts. The Butte County Jail evacuated 500 inmates during the emergency as well.
As of Feb. 13, lake levels are receding eight inches per day… after dramatically rising more than 50 feet this winter. And although the immediate threat seems to have passed, more rain is expected for the area in the coming days. It’s said that repair of the dam will cost in the neighborhood of $100 and $200 million and not be completed until Oct. 2017. This is the first time in nearly 50 years that either of the spillways had been utilized. The Daily Mail reports that federal and state officials ignored a request to investigate the integrity of the dam 12 years ago.
Lake Oroville’s levels were at just 25 percent in May 2015. The severe drought, that still plagues parts of California, has put a face on the debate over climate change. Images out of the area went viral as a majority of the dry lakebed could be seen, with boats seemingly stranded in what was left of the water. Now, with the immediate danger behind them, it isn’t clear when residents will be able to return to their homes.
HollywoodLifers, how scary do those pictures look?! Can you imagine what the evacuated residents are going through?