Over 140 000 People From Calif. Are Evacuated After An Emergency Spillway Severely Eroded
The authorities said that all roads that were leading out of Oroville, Calif. were trapped in traffic on Sunday evening and they evacuated around 140,000 people because there was a possibility that the other spillway at Oroville Dam could fail.
The county Sheriff Kory Honea claimed that during one news conference on Sunday night the only choice was evacuation.
“I could not have waited to see if everything will be OK. We had to move people very quickly and to save their lives,” Honea said.
“This is extremely dynamic situation. It is a situation which can change in a moment,” he said.
“We see that this has caused a big traffic problem, when it comes to leaving the area.”
According to the highway 49 in Nevada County it became one-way traffic, Caltrans says.
Oroville Police declared that its department conducted a medical evacuation for a man that was in a wheelchair in his house, located on Robinson Street, which is only a few blocks from the Feather River that goes below the endangered spillway.
Oroville residents had to be evacuated on Sunday afternoon. The order was made in Marysville and Yuba County at approximately5:45 p.m. PT, said the Caltrans.
The Sheriff’s Department on one post on their Facebook page ordered an “instant evacuation starting from the low levels of Oroville and the areas downstream.”
The police said that the situation is becoming hazardous and because of the auxiliary spillway of the Dam can cause severe erosion that might cause a fail, and that can result in a “release of flood waters from the Lake Oroville that cannot be controlled.”
It was reported by the Redding (Calif.) Record Searchlight that the Department of California for Water Resources made a decision to use the emergency spillway and to take the pressure off the regular spillway of the dam that developed a huge crater last week.
That crater constantly grows and in order to take the pressure off the spillway, the state started using the emergency spillway. However that became compromised as well.
The flow through the broken main spillway became increased up to 100,000 cubic feet in a second in order to reduce the water level in the lake more quickly.
The people who live in Oroville, who were located around 65 miles north of Sacramento, had to be to evacuated northward, toward Chico, Calif. Starting from 6 p.m., the Oroville police radio claimed that there were “couple of stragglers” downtown and most of the residents were gone. They stated that the evacuation has to be enlarged as well.
Honea was not completely sure when the residents can come home. “Before they can come back we have to assess the safety of the” he said.
The Lake Oroville is one of the largest lakes hat were made in California by man. It is a central piece of the run water delivery network for the government in California and it supplies water for agriculture in the Central Valley and businesses and people in Southern California.
In 1968 they built the dam and because of the heavy rains, on Saturday the water overtopped the emergency spillway. This happens for the first time since it was built.
Bill Croyle, who is the acting director of the Department of Water Resources, stated that the dam it is not a threat by itself, but the crisis can last, because the winter in Northern California can be one of the wettest. He also said that there is around 2.8 million acre-feet of snow mountains over the dam, which puts more strain on the months that are about to come.
“The following 1 or 3 months are going to be critical, and how we manage the snow runoff through this reservoir,” stated Croyle for the The Bee. “That is a lot of snow.”
In their tweet, the California Department of Water Resources on Sunday evening said that they planned to use helicopters in order to drop rocks and to fill in the gouge in the auxiliary spillway and to stabilize it.
Michelle Grandinetti left her home with her family and they headed for family in Elk Grove, which is southeast of Sacramento.
“We only took clothes for 3 days, our 7 children, our dogs and food for them as well!” Grandinetti also wrote a Facebook message for The Bee. “We live here for a couple of months and now everyone is leaving! The stores are closed and we are on the freeway; the river is just feet away!”
Erin English of Linda, Calif., made a statement to the Record Searchlight that a there was a robo-call and it told her to evacuate and come to the higher ground. She called 911 immediately and the dispatchers told her to go to Chico and said she could not make it there before the water came through. They told her to evacuate in Colusa Casino, which is around one hour driving to the west.
She went there with her husband, children and 2 dogs. There was no time to take anything with them.
“I am very scared. I have never experienced something like this and I will pray for everyone’s safety.”
Kevin Carroll of Marysville, Calif., claimed that he was unsure about the order for evacuation. However he obeyed the order. Along with his wife they took their clothes along with the dogs and they left. “We had to go; the river was on the back door.”
He stated that he was not expecting flood in Marysville. “I cannot say that it is not going to, there is a lot of space in the river at the moment,” he said.
“This can either save or lives or be a waste of time. However, I hope that everything will be okay. Stay safe.”
There were two casinos in Oroville and they tried to calm down all customers because they dealt with orders for evacuation and the employees who called had no time to speak.
“We are in a rush,” said one employee at the Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, around 5 miles south of the Feather River. “We are obeying the orders for evacuation.”
At the Gold Country Casino and Hotel, one operator said that the phones “are constantly ringing” since there are emergencies for evacuation.
Kirsten McFaul, one student at the Butte College and an Oroville native, stated that she drove to Sacramento when the classes on Friday were canceled. Yesterday, the residents discovered that the dam was at the best capacity and t had overflowed into the spillway.
McFaul wanted to go home on Sunday and after they announced evacuation they left and went to Paradise. It is a town that is around 20 miles north of Oroville. The plan is to come back when everything is safe.
“We fear a flood since the Friday, when they told us to prepare for evacuations.” she tweeted. “There were coupe of evacuations uphill for fires; however it was not a big deal. I have never been evacuated like this in whole my life.”