Oroville Dam: Repairs continue, water releases likely to decrease

Oroville Dam: Repairs continue, water releases likely to decrease

Oroville Dam: Repairs continue, water releases likely to decrease

That wet-weather system could challenge operators who are working hard to reduce the reservoir's water level, following Sunday's near disaster on the dam's emergency spillway.

"The incessant heavy rains, expected to reach up to 1 inch per hour, will dramatically increase the threat of urban flooding, as well as mud and debris flows from recent burn areas near mountainous terrain", CNN meteorologist Derek VanDam said.

According to Saturday morning's official report, outflows from the lake continue to exceed inflows - meaning the lake level should still be dropping.

'The Oroville Dam and areas around it will see some rain Friday, but the bulk of the rain has shifted south. ...

The National Weather Service stated: "The storm looks to be the strongest storm to hit southwest California this season".

'Over the next week, areas around the dam could pick up another foot of rain, which will again likely raise the lake level'.

On Tuesday, officials downgraded the evacuation order to a warning, allowing 188,000 evacuees from Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties to return home.

The second reason is that, as the lake level decreases, it becomes harder to push water out of the spillway at a high rate. An evacuation warning is still in place.

Communities directly below the dam are especially at risk, as authorities have warned that if the dam were to abruptly give way, residents below would not receive notice quickly enough to evacuate.

John Winkler, Papio-Missouri River NRD general manager, said the NRD works with state and federal agencies so that all of its structures meet dam-safety requirements.

But local officials say the state hasn't taken other stems, such as providing routine community briefings and improving escape routes.