Emergency: Ca Orovile dam spillway near failure, evacuations ordered

The California Department of Water Resources issued a sudden evacuation order shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday for residents near the Oroville Dam in northern California, warning that the dam’s emergency spillway would fail in the next 60 minutes.

The Oroville Dam is the highest in the nation.

An emergency alert issued on Facebook stated:

“EMERGENCY EVACUATION ORDER ISSUED: Officials are anticipating a failure of the Auxiliary Spillway at Oroville Dam within the next 60 minutes. Residents of Oroville should evacuate in a northward direction, toward Chico. Other cities should follow the orders of their local law enforcement.”

The emergency spillway, which is unpaved, was activated on Saturday morning to relieve the flow down the dam’s normal spillway, where a major hole appeared in recent days and began to widen. The height of the lake, once drained by drought and now swollen by recent rains and snow melt, had reached 901 feet above sea level when the emergency spillway was opened.

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