The Latest: National Guard to assist with dam repair
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on problems with an emergency spillway at the nation’s tallest dam (all times local):
A California National Guard official says they will provide eight helicopters to assist with emergency spillway reconstruction at the nation’s tallest dam located about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco.
Adjunct General David S. Baldwin said at a news conference late Sunday that the helicopters and two airplanes will also be available for search and rescue Monday near the Oroville Dam.
He added that the California National Guard put out a notification to all 23,000 soldiers and airmen to be ready to deploy if needed.
Baldwin says the last time an alert like Sunday’s was issued for the entire California National Guard was the 1992 riots.
Evacuations for at least 188,000 people were ordered after officials warned the emergency spillway was in danger of failing and unleashing uncontrolled flood waters on towns below.
Gov. Jerry Brown has issued an emergency order to fortify authorities’ response to the emergency at a Northern California dam and help with evacuations.
The Oroville Dam, which located about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco, has erosion on its emergency spillway and evacuation orders were given to 188,000 people south of the dam in case the spillway failed.
Brown said late Sunday the state is directing all necessary personnel and resources to deal with a “complex and rapidly changing” situation.
His office says the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services is coordinating with local and federal emergency response officials.
A Northern California sheriff says evacuation orders affecting 188,000 people will stand until there is more information on the condition of the nation’s tallest dam’s emergency spillway.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says there are a lot of unknowns about the situation at the Oroville Dam, which located about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco.
He spoke at a news conference late Sunday and said a lot of people had to be displaced to ensure public safety and that continues to be his focus.
State Fire and Rescue Chief Kim Zagaris says at least 250 law enforcement officers from throughout the state are in the area or en route to help keep things safe for the people who evacuated.
A California water official says no repair work was done Sunday on the eroded emergency spillway at the nation’s tallest dam.
Lake Oroville is about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco, and the 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam is the nation’s tallest.
Earlier Sunday, authorities mentioned a plan to plug the hole by using helicopters to drop rocks into the crevasse.
Acting Director Department of Water Resources Bill Croyle said at a news conference late Sunday that no corrective measures were taken after looking at the flow and available resources.
He said officials will be able to assess the damage to the emergency spillway now that the water is no longer spilling over the top.
He added that the integrity of the dam has not impacted.
A California water official says 100,000 cubic feet per second continue to flow down the Orville Dam’s main spillway.
Department of Water Resources Acting Director Bill Croyle said at a news conference late Sunday that the plan is to continue withdrawing that amount of water for as long as possible.
Croyle says a key goal is to reduce the dam’s level ahead of upcoming storms forecast to reach the area Wednesday.
Water levels at Lake Orville rose so high that an emergency spillway was used Saturday for the first time in almost 50 years. Officials noticed erosion on the emergency spillway on Sunday.
Croyle says officials have been unable to access the erosion scar but will be able to analyze the damage better now that water is below its level.
Authorities say there is no more water going over the emergency spillway at a Northern California dam.
Officials put out an evacuation order Sunday afternoon saying the spillway at Orville Dam could fail within an hour.
At least 130,000 people in downstream areas have been asked to evacuate.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a news conference late Sunday that the evacuation orders will stand until more information is analyzed.
Traffic is gridlocked for miles around Lake Oroville as panicked and angry residents try to evacuate over concerns the Northern California dam’s emergency spillway could fail.
Kaysi Levias and her husband, Greg, stopped at a gas station as they attempted to flee.
Greg Levias says he’s shocked and pretty mad they didn’t get more warning.
Officials put out an evacuation order Sunday afternoon telling around 100,000 people the emergency spillway at Orville Dam could fail within an hour.
Raj Gill is managing a Shell station where panicky motorists got gas and snacks while they wait for gridlocked traffic to clear. He says his boss told him to close the station and flee himself, but he stayed open to feed a steady line of customers.
At least 130,000 people have been asked to evacuate over concerns California’s Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway could fail.
Officials say Oroville Lake levels are decreasing as they let water flow from its heavily damage, main spillway but point out water is still spilling over the dam.
California officials say the cities of Oroville, Gridley, Live Oak, Marysville, Wheat land, Yuba City, Plumas Lake, and Olivehurst are all under evacuation orders.
Butte County Sheriff Koney Honea says engineers with the California Department of Water Resources informed him shortly after 6 p.m. that the erosion on the emergency spillway at the Oroville Dam is not advancing as fast as they thought.
Honea says two inches of water is still coming over the dam, but that is significantly down from earlier flows.
Honea says there is a plan to plug the hole by using helicopters to drop rocks into the crevasse.
He says the evacuation order went out after engineers spotted a hole that was eroding back toward the top of the spillway.
Honea adds authorities wanted to get people moving quickly to save lives in case “the worst-case scenario came into fruition.”
California officials say the cities of Gridley, Live Oak, Nicolaus, Yuba City and communities near Feathers River have been added to the evacuation order.
Hundreds of cars in wall-to-wall traffic can be seen on Highway 99 as people stream out of Oroville away from the dam.
Authorities in Yuba County are asking people living in the valley floor to evacuate.
The Yuba County Office of Emergency Services says people should take routes to the east, south, or west and avoid traveling north toward Oroville.
The California Department of Water Resources says it is releasing as much as 100,000 cubic feet per second from the main, heavily damaged spillway to try to drain the lake.
Department of Water Resources spokesman Kevin Dossey tells the Sacramento Bee the emergency spillway was rated to handle 250,000 cubic feet per second, but it began to show weakness Sunday at a small fraction of that. Flows through the spillway peaked at 12,600 cubic feet per second at 1 a.m. Sunday and were down to 8,000 cubic feet per second by midday.
Officials have ordered residents near the Oroville Dam in Northern California to evacuate the area, saying a “hazardous situation is developing” after an emergency spillway severely eroded.
The Butte County Sheriff’s Office says the emergency spillway could fail within an hour unleashing uncontrolled flood waters from Lake Oroville.
The department says people in downstream areas need to leave the area immediately.
It says residents of Oroville, a town of 16,000 people, should head north toward Chico and that other cities should follow orders from their local law enforcement agencies.
Water began flowing over the emergency spillway at the dam on Saturday after for the first time in its nearly 50-year history after heavy rainfall.
Officials say water will continue to flow over an emergency spillway at the nation’s tallest dam for another day or so.
Water began flowing over the emergency spillway at the Oroville Dam in Northern California on Saturday for the first time in its nearly 50-year history after heavy rainfall.
California Department of Water Resources spokesman Eric See said at a Sunday press conference that skies are clear and the overflow is steadily slowing. It’s expected to stop by midday Monday.
In addition to the emergency spillway, water also flowed through the main spillway that was significantly damaged from erosion. Officials said they’ll assess the damage starting Monday.
See stressed the dam is structurally sound and there was no threat to the public.
About 150 miles northeast of San Francisco, Lake Oroville is one of California’s largest man-made lakes.