Butte County, CA — Close to 200,000 people are under an evacuation order as officials work to fix erosion to the emergency spillway at Lake Oroville, north of Sacramento.
It is the nation’s tallest dam at 770 ft., according to the Associated Press, and it could unleash uncontrolled flood waters if it fails. Its emergency spillway was used for the first time in almost 50 years on Saturday after the main spillway was damaged during the recent heavy rain. The wide-range evacuation order was issued by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office after engineers spotted a hole on the concrete lip of the secondary spillway.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea stated during a press conference late yesterday, “There are efforts being made to hopefully avert the crisis. I would rather be safe than sorry and have people being moved out of the area.”
Governor Jerry Brown has declared a “State of Emergency” in response to the situation. He says, “I’ve been in close contact with emergency personnel managing the situation in Oroville throughout the weekend and it’s clear the circumstances are complex and rapidly changing. I want to thank local and state law enforcement for leading evacuation efforts and doing their part to keep residents safe. The state is directing all necessary personnel and resources to deal with this very serious situation.”