Intense work to reinforce the emergency spillway of damaged Oroville Dam in California continues and the level of the reservoir continues to decrease. At current rates, it is projected to possess the capacity to absorb anticipated inflows due to forecasted inclement weather. The mandatory evacuation order was reduced to a warning.
More than 125 construction crews are working around the clock, and are placing 1 200 tons of material on the spillway per hour using helicopters and heavy construction equipment, California Department of Water Resources said. The area is being continually monitored from the ground and by the use of drones.
DWR continues to regulate outflow, to reduce water levels in the reservoir, support construction activities, and protect the Hyatt Power Plant.
On Tuesday afternoon, February 14, 2017, the Evacuation Order for the Oroville Dam Spillway Incident has been reduced to an Evacuation Warning.
However, all residents are advised to remain prepared as conditions can rapidly change and the potential for an emergency remains. People who have special needs or require extended time to evacuate should consider remaining evacuated. The decision to reduce the order was based on a number of factors, including lower lake levels, further inspections, ongoing repair work, and updated weather forecasts.
“An Evacuation Warning means the immediate threat has ended but the potential for an emergency remains and therefore residents must remain prepared for the possibility of an Evacuation Order,” said Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea.
California State Parks has closed off all recreation trails and areas around the Diversion Pool. All California Department of Fish and Wildlife areas and facilities, (except for the Chico field office), are closed. The wildlife areas are flooded and extremely dangerous. Residents are urged not to visit them
Updated weather forecast: The storm expected later this week is forecasted to be colder, with less rain and therefore a lower level of water flow into the reservoir than last week.
Featured image: Oroville Dam repairs, February 14, 2017. Credit: California Department of Water Resources.