Thousands remain in shelters after California dam evacuation

Cheryl Sanders
February 17, 2017

The Red Cross said shelters remained open on Tuesday evening.

"I'm not trying to risk traffic, being stuck in floods".

One possible avenue for federal funding is a legislation that President Barack Obama signed last December, Hale said.

According the county DPW, there are 18 "major" dams in and around the Los Angeles Basin - most in the San Gabriel Mountains, the closest to Santa Clarita being the Pacoima Dam near Sylmar. "It was just frustrating".

About 200,000 people were forced to leave their homes due to a spillway's collapse at America's tallest dam.

It's a problem highlighted nationwide this week after the Oroville Dam, located about 75 miles north of Sacramento, suffered a potential failure of its emergency spillway.

The past few days' events, which displaced almost 200,000 area residents for about two days, raise several questions about why the infrastructure failed in the first place and what long-term fixes should happen to avoid future catastrophe.

That decision has come under scrutiny now that the hillside-or emergency spillway-has been put to its first test in the Oroville Dam's history. But federal regulators would have nothing of it.

It's around-the-clock work for crews in Oroville working to secure the emergency spillway ahead of a series of storms.

"If that had happened we would have had an uncontrolled release of water into the downstream area", said Chris Orrock, spokesman for the California Department of Water Resources, which owns Oroville Dam. The lake level stands at 869 feet, about 30 feet below its capacity.

As storms threatened to roll into Northern California this week, state officials raced to remove water from the overflowing Lake Oroville in the hopes of preventing disastrous flooding that would occur if the lake's dam were to burst.

As a result, levees were built along South Chickamauga Creek, but they would not be sufficient in the event of an extreme storm, said Tom Barnett, senior manager of TVA's river forecast center. The rain and snow are expected to last for a week. Helicopters that have been dropping bags of rocks on emergency spillway this week will likely be grounded Thursday. The damaged main spillway "has been stable for a number of days", Croyle said. Experts are drawing up plans for repairs that will begin after the spring runoff season ends. "It's very hard", California Gov. "Repeat this is not a drill", the National Weather Service said Sunday, urging people living near Oroville Dam to evacuate. They welcomed the news they could return home but vowed to heed the sheriff's warning to remain vigilant. Gross says there are about a dozen homes downstream from the Lower Dam.

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