The rain has started to return in Northern California and will continue over the next few days, but officials aren't as concerned about the upcoming weather so much as the damage already done to the Oroville Dam's already compromised main spillway.
The risk of flooding has dropped substantially, but Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea warned residents Wednesday that they remain in "an emergency situation."
- Engineers are racing to lower the water level at Lake Oroville.
- These graphics explain what is happening at the Oroville Dam.
- Could the crisis have been prevented?
- Here is Butte County's emergency information website.
- PHOTOS: Crisis at the Oroville Dam
- VIDEOS: The Lake Oroville emergency explained | An evacuee waits to return home
Capt. Dan Olson, a spokesman from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said crews have been working around the clock to reinforce two damaged spillways at Oroville Dam before storms expected to begin as soon as Wednesday night. Officials are using drones to monitor the repairs and damage.
Meanwhile, the California Department of Water Resources is increasing water releases to meet its goal of dropping levels at Lake Oroville below 840 feet, he said.
The department has been releasing 4 inches of water an hour, which is about 8 feet a day, he said.
Here’s a snapshot of the resources involved in the repair effort:
- More than 125 construction crews
- 40 truckloads of aggregate rock
- 1,200 tons of rock deposited in eroded/damaged areas per hour
- Two helicopter drops of rocks, concrete and/or other materials every minute and a half
- A California National Guard Black Hawk helicopter is assisting with drops