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
Times reporter Chris Megerian was was able to drive across the dam to where the spillway is. Here are his impressions:
The lake behind me is placid, but geysers of water are shooting down the concrete spillway. It rushes down like a water slide the width of a freeway, and then plummets down below. I can see the mist rising from where it hits the river, and I can see the river in the distance.
There's a lot of activity here as repairs begin to the emergency spillway. Helicopters are flying overhead carrying sacks of rocks, and they're dropping those off on the far side of the emergency spillway, where there was some erosion. Then there are giant dump trucks carrying more rocks across the dam and a road that passes over the concrete spillway, and they're dumping those rocks in another spot.