Potential of Oroville spillway collapse prompts mass evacuations: Updates

Residents worried evacuation called late

Note: The live video (above) offers the latest updates on the situation.

(INTELLIHUB) — Damage to a spillway on California’s Oroville Dam has led to a mass evacuation order for residents downstream after officials warned that severe erosion could lead to complete failure of the structure.

Failure of the auxiliary spillway would result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville. Both sandbags and rocks are being used in an attempt to stop the flow of water.

A local resident was interviewed about the crisis and revealed that officials may have actually evacuated fish hatcheries before calling the actual evacuation of people.

oroville dam
Low water caused by the drought in the Oroville Dam in California in 2014. USDA photo by Cynthia Mendoza. (U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr)

“I don’t understand why everything has been predicted so badly […] yet here we are,” said resident Judy Brandt.

The Butte County Sheriffs office released a statement on Facebook about the evacuation orders.

This is an evacuation order.

Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered.

A hazardous situation is developing with the Oroville Dam auxiliary spillway. Operation of the auxiliary spillway has lead to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the structure. Failure of the auxiliary spillway structure will result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville. In response to this developing situation, DWR is increasing water releases to 100,000 cubic feet per second.

Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered.

This in NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill.

Chris Orrock, a spokesman for the Department of Water Resources, told The Bee the failure happened as the bottom of the emergency spillway began to erode.

“It happened quickly,” he said.

Sutter County also put out an alert on Facebook:

We have received information about the potential for increased flows in the Feather River of as much as 100,000 cubic feet per second. We are gathering as much information as possible and will be providing additional information as soon as it is verified.

Brandt is currently posting up to the minute videos and photos on her Twitter feed including the following:

The working plan

Stay tuned as we will be reporting any updates throughout the night and into the morning. You can listen to the entire interview with Judy here. 

Credit: Tabertronic/Twitter

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