Nearly 200,000 People Are Evacuating Over "Imminent Failure" Of California's Oroville Dam - Live Feeds

Tyler Durden's picture

Update # 3: How bad this could get...

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Update #2: Summing up the farce in Oroville - here is the government's view of the situation...

And here is the actual situation...

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Update: NBC reports that the spillway has now failed: "The Oroville Dam’s auxiliary spillway has failed, forcing the evacuations of several counties in California, with nearly 188,000 people forced to evacuate from Butte, County, Calif., alone."


Authorities are holding a press conference over the Oroville dam spillway failure:

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Large-scale evacuations are taking place among residents of the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream after torrential rains led to the overflow of Lake Oroville in Northern California for first time in 48-year history, leading to what is said to be an imminent failure of the dam's spillway, which according to officials could "lead to a failure of the structure."

Oroville Dam is an earthfill embankment dam on the Feather River east of the city of Oroville, California in the United States. At 770 feet (230 m) high, it is the tallest dam in the U.S. and serves mainly for water supply, hydroelectricity generation and flood control.

Officials said a hazardous situation is developing with the Oroville Dam auxiliary spillway. The operation of the auxiliary spillway has led to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the auxiliary spillway.

According to Fox 40, officials are anticipating an imminent failure of the auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam. "Officials are anticipating a failure of the Auxiliary Spillway at Oroville Dam within the next 60 minutes (5:45 p.m.)," the California Department of Water Resources said on Facebook.

On Twitter the agency added that the "Auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam predicted to fail within the next hour. Oroville residents evacuate northward."

According to a posting by the CDWR, residents should evacuate in a northward direction, toward Chico. The flash flood warning is in effect until 4:15 p.m. Monday.

According to Fox 40, failure would result in an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville. The DWR is increasing water released to 100,000 cubic feet per second. Furthermore, use of the auxiliary spillway has lead to severe erosion that could lead to a failure of the structure, causing unprecedented flooding and damage.

Water flows over the emergency spillway at Lake Oroville

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

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for possible dam failure.

Areas affected include Oroville, Palermo, Gridley, Thermalito, South Oroville, Oroville Dam, Oroville East and Wyandotte. An evacuation center for residents has been set up at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds at 2357 Fair Street in Chico.

As the following choppercam photo shows, thousands of people are scrambling to evacuate the downstream areas.

The full press release is below:

Press Release: Oroville, Calif. – The relatively light flow of water that began washing into Lake Oroville’s auxiliary spillway Saturday morning is expected to continue flowing for the next few days. Total releases from the reservoir do not threaten the dam or downstream communities and fall well within the capacity of the Feather River and other downstream channels.


Hampered by serious erosion that opened starting Tuesday on the lower portion of the dam’s main spillway, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) prepared for Lake Oroville to rise to its highest level ever.


The lake exceeded the elevation of 901 feet above sea level shortly after 8 a.m. today, at which point water slowly began to flow over the concrete weir of the auxiliary spillway, down a hillside, and into the Feather River. The auxiliary spillway is operating as intended.


“The flows we’re seeing are extremely low compared to the design of the structure,” said DWR Acting Director William Croyle. “Based on our current situation, there is no threat.” Flows of between 6,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and 12,000 cfs are expected to flow into the auxiliary spillway for 32 to 58 hours, based on the latest modeling of weather, reservoir inflow and other factors. Those flows will stop once discharge from the lake exceeds inflow.


Flows into the auxiliary spillway are far less than the volume of water washing into the lake from the Feather River watershed. That’s because the 16,000-acre surface of the lake acts as a buffer, spreading and attenuating inflow. In order to help manage reservoir levels, DWR operators also are discharging 55,000 cfs from the damaged concrete spillway and expect to continue to do so. Upward erosion on this closely monitored, gated spillway has slowed considerably.


DWR focused Saturday on ways to get the Hyatt Power Plant at Oroville Dam back in operation, because 14,000 cfs can be discharged from the plant when it is operating, which would help with reservoir management. Power generation was halted when the water levels in the channel that leads from the power plant became high enough to compromise operation.


Water levels rose when debris from the eroded concrete spillway piled up in the channel below. The same erosion also threatens the towers that hold the power lines that take electricity from the power plant to the electrical grid; such a connection is needed for the power plant to operate. DWR, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and other partners are working to safeguard the hydroelectric facility and power lines.

According to some, it is criminal that California agencies have waited so long before ordering the evacuation. Much more information is available in the following video:

Readers can keep track of live updates at the following link.

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monad's picture

Thanks Arnold & Jerry

847328_3527's picture

"UC Berkeley students and professors salaries and pensions deserve top priority over some damn dam."


~ Jerry B.

erkme73's picture

I know this is SUPER exciting, bug GOD DAMN AMBUSH AUDIO!  

TahoeBilly2012's picture

Feather is a big water shed. My Pop managed the hydro there for years. Hard to say how this goes but I don't think the damn will fail, maybe if we get another 20 inches of rain real fast.


Flood it so it doesn't flood. 


TwelveOhOne's picture

Jim Stone has been discussing this for several days on his blog: http;//

NoDecaf's picture

Finally a shovel ready job for Obama, good thing his schedule is freed up.

peddling-fiction's picture

Chris Dakota, good call to share what Jim Stone was posting about the Oroville Dam.

Probably DJT read it himself over here.

ACP's picture

So they go from not in imminent danger to spillway failure in 60 minutes.

These idiots are really competent aren't they?

Pinch's picture

Climate, the elephant in the room. Global warming means more droughts, more floods, and especially more extreme rain events.

A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
"Extreme rains will breach to unseen levels, says new science led by Dr. David Neelin from University of California"

Orange Jesus thinks it's all a hoax, as do many drones at this site.

tmosley's picture

This is normal weather in California. We have just had an unusually calm, consistantly wet 100 years since it has been settled. 500 year droughts punctuated by massive floods are the norm.

But I'm sure this time it was caused by cow farts.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

And next we find theyve been fracking ridiculously close to the infrastructure


Placerville's picture

"DWR plans to use helicopters to drop rocks to fill in the gouge in the Oroville Auxilliary Spillway to stabilize."

They should take those rocks and drop them on BROWN TOWN. That might get their attention.

Sanctuary State ----> NO FEDERAL FUNDS FOR YOU!

Sincerely, Donald J Trump

Dormouse's picture

That's a lot of liberal tears!

It's going to take a lot more than one dam failure to wash them all into the sea. But I have my fingers crossed.

Tarzan's picture

day by day, more and more the MSM lie to us, for our own good. 

Thus day by day we ignore them more and more, to the point they've become completely irrelevant.

Because we can't trust a DAM word they say!

SoDamnMad's picture

Read about the failure of the St. Fraincis dam and how suddenly it failed and failed after a filling , then discharge then refilling to flood stage.

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) xythras Feb 12, 2017 11:17 PM

Gov. Moonbeam:  "Oppps, sorry folks.  False alarm, you can turn around and drive back home now.  All 160,000 of you.  LOL Suckers."


The_Juggernaut's picture

So governor Moonbat spent biollions on his toy train instead of making sure his dams weren't ready to fail.  lmfao!  ...and they think they can make it on their own.


Good thing Big Daddy Trump will be able to bail them out.


BuddyEffed's picture

We need a big new wall at Oroville asap

philipat's picture

With a bit of luck, many of them will go home to Mexico and others move to Texas where they might learn some common sense?

Mr. Universe's picture

They are screwed, blued, and tattooed. What a bunch of freaking clowns. The truth is we have no idea what is going to happen. The lake was at 101% capacity, when the first spill way failed, they had a chance to control things, but Nooooo. What did they do? They upped the ante and started sending even MORE water through, something like 40-50,000 Fps, which when added to the power plants 15K was close to 65K total. Problem was that 85K Fps was flowing INTO the lake. The emergency hillside was already saturated, so it fell apart right way. Now here comes the kicker, starting Thursday we are in for about 10 straight days of rain. If it's a warmer rain, even more runoff from snow melt. Either way history shows that all the reservoirs will increase from now to June just from snow melt. Problem is Statewide, there is no place to put it. Lake Oroville is just the first.

Afterwards we will get that 60 Billion bond to build whatever goofy plan Moonbeam has next, all so we can grow cotton in a desert.      

TxExPat's picture

Their resident "scientists" had told told them that Global Warming had and was going to leave California in a state of "perma-drought". No need to worry about maintaince on the White Elephants of the past. Now it's "Climate Change" and short, sharp flooding was always in the predictions...

Drought, flooding, it doesn't matter, Gaia is angry at mankind for our many sins, and we must repent of our wicked ways before She smites us even harder...




Equinox's picture

they could put some illegal to work to save the damn dam.


manofthenorth's picture

As a placer miner I can not help but think that there will be some great nuggets to be found when this is over.

Twee Surgeon's picture

Oro-Ville = Gold city, Yay for Panning that stretch. Old Goldmining country.

Serious.Lee's picture

My first thouht.  Have pan, will travel.  

Déjà view's picture

Soup du jour...egg drop to 'Feather' River gold panning with the old bowl..silver lining in every cloud...

divingengineer's picture

I'll be detecting the benches and bedrock for sure.

Giant Meteor's picture

Thanks. Puts it in perspective.

Pinch's picture

"500 year droughts punctuated by massive floods are the norm."

Another armchair climate expert, armed only with his prejudices. Sigh

tmosley's picture

>Calls Trump "Orange Jesus

>Complains about the prejudices of others

Suggest you look inwards before accusing others. I have a deeper understanding of climate science than perhaps 99% of the population, as I understand physical chemistry. If you want to talk about the FTIR and RAMAN spectra of H2O and CO2 and their implications on forcing, I'll be around.

MsCreant's picture

Do it Pinch. Sell me that it is real. Debate tmosley. I am not a chemist, but I do have a Ph.D., I can follow ya'll down the rabbit hole for a little while.

I also have an open mind. I adore a good debate. If you convince me, I am a public speaker who reaches many individuals. You will reach more than just me. 

Meanwhile, I bet you won't. tmosely has a point about your particular style. I am in the neutral camp that says we can't know, but the things we would do to repair pollution would help repair climate change, if indeed we are causing it.

Let's do this. Everything I read on this is political. It sucks. The truth about this is an obdurate, kickable, reality. What do you know, pinch?

Giant Meteor's picture

Good call, all the way around. My thinking on the matter has been much like your own . Specifically from a practical, common sense approach, man essentially (and yes it is generalization) has mastered the not so fine art, of defecating where he lives, globally speaking and based upon past performance, history etc. When I have returned home to the Fingerlakes as example, I see with my own eyes, the raping and pillaging of the lands and water resources, with apparent plans, further ill conceived.

Stop raping the land, air, water .. whatever the case. Or at the very least, develop or act responsibly.

Unfortunate fact of life, that horse too, has left the barn.

Global warming or not, be damned .. The thing is however, it has been as per usual, the absolute political pandering, and pontifications of the left brigade, is clearly a money thing ... money to be made or taken, and thus increasing means of control and command. My answer to this, even IF what they say is true, I would still resist their oppression.

I'll tell ya though, its tough to be overly hopeful for the state of man, when ya start addin it all up.

I am reminded of this evenings news, the dam story, that we may only be a few mere black swan events away, (natural included) from getting our long awaited answers to  settle these, our "vexing" seemingly unsolvable, intractable "riddles."

FireBrander's picture

New York Times:

"But scientists say that in the more ancient past, California and the Southwest occasionally had even worse droughts — so-called megadroughts — that lasted decades. At least in parts of California, in two cases in the last 1,200 years, these dry spells lingered for up to two centuries."

So, tell me, what caused the severe drought from 850AD to 1250AD?


FireBrander's picture

WHo can deny that the climate isn't "Changing"? No One!

Who can deny these changes aren't a normal/cyclical part of Earths climate? The Left.

Global Cooling...wrong...Global Warming...wrong...Global "Climate Change"..yeah, yeah, that's the way you can be wrong with that headline...

Canadian earmuffs's picture

Still reading the NY Times huh. Have they not been disgraced enough.  The famous 'Scientists say' line has been used to justify that 'smoking is good for you' as are GMO's as is Monsanto and so on, so NYT using it without hard links doesn't mean much. I am not saying human caused climate is untrue, ( I am on the fence) but rather than quote NYT, better refer to the scientists themselves.  

BTW, my take on it is that if we do take care of the environment, clean water and air, no matter what is causing global warming, we only reap the benefits. So why not err on the side of caution.

FireBrander's picture

Why the NYT? The NYT is the Left's Bible; if it's spoken there, it has to be true...

Stroke's picture

Pinch please go downstream to investigate

Sparkey's picture

Prejudices are all you need Pal, why shouldn't that be good enough for the rest of us?

CJgipper's picture

and because the eco nazis have mandated that they retain full capacity for a "spring surge", there is no capacity to absorb this late season rain.  The surge that floods downstream is ironically exactly what these dams were built to prevent.  The spring surge crap is what also flooded Nashville in 2010 when the TVA was overwhelmed by late season rain in the valley.

Buck Johnson's picture

Actually your 100 percent right.


Giant Meteor's picture

Good call. Also, "you're doin a heck of a job Brownie!"

Yes, too soon ... point taken .

The reality is I hope all folks impacted stay safe.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

"Climate, the elephant in the room. Global warming means more droughts, more floods, and especially more extreme rain events."

 The regular conflation of Global Warming to mean the climate is getting warmer with  Global Warming to mean human caused does a real disservice to the whole discussion, rendering it not even a debate. Just spouting nonsense. 

The same can be said of conflating immigrants with illegal immigrants with refugees. They are three very different things and if you dont make it clear what you are talking about, it just devolves into chaos, very much like the current political dialogue.

TheMeatTrapper's picture

"The same can be said of conflating immigrants with illegal immigrants with refugees. They are three very different things and if you dont make it clear what you are talking about, it just devolves into chaos, very much like the current political dialogue."

OK, I'll make it simple so you can understand it. All three can fuck off. Is that clear enough for you?

stocker84's picture

All three can fuck off says the descendant of immigrants.

Laughable, but short-sighted and pathetic.