Oroville Dam: Incredible aerial footage shows magnitude of repair challenge
Officials discovered serious erosion in the structure’s spillway on Sunday, sparking an emergency evacuation of the surrounding area.
Authorities and emergency crews reacted quickly to the crisis which could have triggered the dam’s collapse, destroying downstream homes in Butte County, Marysville and Yuba County. Further footage, captured over the dam, showed the severe erosion in greater detail.
Three environmental agencies issued a warning over a decade ago that the dam could be in danger of eroding. The agencies contacted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, urging the commission to check the dam’s existing structures and possibly reconstruct the “ungated spillway”.
Oroville Dam operators have been attempting to drain the lake by releasing 748,000 gallons of water per second.
The views from the Oroville Dam -- one toward the lake and one toward the spillways and downstream pic.twitter.com/hf7Gk08WGY— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) February 14, 2017
A view of the concrete spillway from the top of the dam. This is what 100,000 cubic feet per second looks like pic.twitter.com/GerDrq0YPz— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) February 14, 2017
California governor Jerry Brown has appealed to President Donald Trump to declare a state of emergency “as a result of the potential failure of the lake Oroville Dam emergency spillway”.
The evacuated residents have spent a second night in emergency accommodation and are still awaiting information on when they can safely return home.
Robert Baker, of Oroville, rests on his bed with his dog Boo-Boo at the evacuation center at Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, California, February 13, 2017. Baker and his family were among the 200,000 evacuated from their homes Sunday evening after officials feared the weakened emergency spillway at the Oroville Dam might collapse. (Photo by Stephen Lam for The Washington Post)
Placer County Sheriff's Office graveyard deputies finally getting a chance to get some sleep this morning, after a long night assisting others in staying safe. They will be back on duty there tonight, too. Hopefully a large-scale crisis has been averted, and life will soon return to normal for all the evacuated residents who live below the Oroville Dam.