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Government severely misjudged strength of Oroville emergency spillway, sparking a crisis

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  • Damage to Oroville Dam's spillway worsens as officials consider emergency measures

    Damage to Oroville Dam's spillway worsens as officials consider emergency measures

    As millions of gallons of rushing water continued to pound and erode the massive Lake Oroville Dam spillway on Friday, dozens of onlookers gathered on a nearby hillside to catch a glimpse of the muddy spectacle.  "I've never seen it like this, ever,” said Charles Wing, an Oroville bricklayer. “And...

  • Inside the frantic fight to protect Oroville dam, nation's tallest, as spillway rapidly erodes

    Inside the frantic fight to protect Oroville dam, nation's tallest, as spillway rapidly erodes

    Oroville Dam is the center of California’s massive water project, which sends water collected from the Sierra Nevada north of Sacramento south to cities and farms. It’s an epic engineering project that now faces a crisis. What is the problem? Flow from heavy rains has damaged the reservoir’s spillway...

  • Trump's travel ban suffers a defeat in court

    Trump's travel ban suffers a defeat in court

    Good morning. It’s Friday, Feb. 10, and here’s what’s happening across California: TOP STORIES Court won’t reinstate travel ban A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reinstate President Trump’s executive order blocking travelers from seven mostly Muslim nations...

  • San Joaquin Valley continues to sink because of groundwater pumping, NASA says

    San Joaquin Valley continues to sink because of groundwater pumping, NASA says

    California’s San Joaquin Valley continues to sink at an alarming rate because of groundwater pumping and irrigation, according to a new study by NASA.  Ground levels in some areas have dropped 1 to 2 feet in the last two years, creating deeper and wider “bowls” that continue to threaten the vital...

  • Despite epic rain and snow, California keeps emergency drought restrictions in place

    Despite epic rain and snow, California keeps emergency drought restrictions in place

    California’s snowpack is at 184% of average for this time of year. Cities from San Francisco to Los Angeles have recorded their highest rain levels in years. Rockslides and flooding hit Northern California. And the spillway of the state’s massive dam at Lake Oroville, once a symbol of the state’s...

  • Human nature makes it easier to deny climate change than to confront it

    Human nature makes it easier to deny climate change than to confront it

    At one point in the Senate hearing to confirm Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders asked the nominee to share his personal views about climate change. Pruitt, a longtime ally of the oil industry and bane of the EPA, repeatedly...

  • In a major improvement, nearly half of California is no longer in a drought

    In a major improvement, nearly half of California is no longer in a drought

    Continued rain and snow across California has lifted nearly half of the state out of drought, according to an analysis released Thursday.  Just over 51% of California remains in “moderate” to “extreme” drought, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported. By comparison, more than 95% of the state was listed...

  • Trump's EPA pick casts doubt on California's power to regulate auto emissions

    Trump's EPA pick casts doubt on California's power to regulate auto emissions

    Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency cast doubt on whether California should continue to have power to impose its own emission rules for cars and trucks, an authority the state has enjoyed for decades that is also the cornerstone of its efforts to fight global warming....

  • Trio of storms to bring dangerous surf and 6 inches of rain to Southern California

    Trio of storms to bring dangerous surf and 6 inches of rain to Southern California

    A trio of storms now headed for Southern California will bring dangerous surf, strong winds and up to 6 inches of rain by early next week, according to the National Weather Service. The storms are similar to those that rocked Northern California recently by flooding rivers, blocking mountain passes...

  • After 'pretty extraordinary' snowfall, Sierra Nevada braces for another battering from atmospheric river

    After 'pretty extraordinary' snowfall, Sierra Nevada braces for another battering from atmospheric river

    Across the Sierra Nevada this weekend, residents and officials are assessing the damage from a series of powerful storms before a new round from the atmospheric river arrives next week. Some homes in northern Sierra communities have been left without power for more than a week because of this week’s...

  • Call it the Southern California drought. Rain and snow end Northern California water woes

    Call it the Southern California drought. Rain and snow end Northern California water woes

    What was once a statewide drought this week became a Southern California drought. A week of powerful storms has significantly eased the state’s water shortage, pulling nearly all of Northern California out of drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The  report underscores what...

  • Is the great California drought finally ending?

    Is the great California drought finally ending?

    The state’s biggest reservoirs are swelling. The Sierra Nevada have seen as much snow, sleet, hail and rain as during the wettest years on record. Rainy Los Angeles feels more like London than Southern California. So is the great California drought finally calling it quits? Yes. Or at least maybe....

  • L.A. lands the George Lucas museum

    L.A. lands the George Lucas museum

    Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Jan. 11, and here’s what’s happening across California: TOP STORIES Force in L.A. Score a big one for Los Angeles. George Lucas’ personal collection of fine and popular art, including ephemera related to his “Star Wars” franchise, will fill a futuristic-looking new...

  • Weeks of rain are rapidly reviving California's drought-ravaged lakes

    Weeks of rain are rapidly reviving California's drought-ravaged lakes

    Leaning against a wooden rail, environmental activist Geoffrey McQuilkin took stock of a parched geological wonderland that had been altered by a weekend deluge.   The air was still thick with moisture, and this lake’s tributaries were cascading down from surrounding mountains, swollen by cargoes...

  • Chesapeake Bay is healthier than before, but still gets C- in new report

    Chesapeake Bay is healthier than before, but still gets C- in new report

    The Chesapeake Bay is healthier today by nearly every measure, with upticks in blue crabs and striped bass, record levels of underwater grasses and the clearest water in years. That's the upshot of a two-year "2016 State of the Bay" report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation about the vast estuary...

  • With snow piling up in the Sierra, what will it take to end California's drought?

    With snow piling up in the Sierra, what will it take to end California's drought?

    The resort town of Phillips high in the Sierra Nevada has long been a barometer of California’s drought. Snow measuring station 3 in the El Dorado County town was where Gov. Jerry Brown came in April 2015 to announce major drought restrictions, using the dry, snow-less landscape as a stark backdrop....

  • Today: Out of the Swamp Fight, Into the Obamacare Fire. Getting Old Isn't for the Faint of Heart.

    Today: Out of the Swamp Fight, Into the Obamacare Fire. Getting Old Isn't for the Faint of Heart.

    I’m Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don’t want you to miss today. TOP STORIES Out of the Swamp Fight, Into the Obamacare Fire Telephone lines lighted up. Social media went agog — well, more than usual. Donald Trump tweeted his displeasure. In...

  • State water officials are optimistic despite 'gloomy' California snowpack survey

    State water officials are optimistic despite 'gloomy' California snowpack survey

    Snowpack in the resort town of Phillips, Calif., measured just 53% of the seasonal average on Tuesday, but water officials said there was still reason for optimism as the state enters its sixth year of drought.  Standing in 3 feet of snow at the El Dorado County measuring station, Frank Gehrke...

  • Avalanche warnings as Sierra hit by major snowstorm; 4-5 feet expected this week

    Avalanche warnings as Sierra hit by major snowstorm; 4-5 feet expected this week

    Higher elevations of Northern California were hit by heavy snowfall overnight, prompting avalanche warnings, as the region braced for a week of intense weather. The National Weather Service said it expected 4 to 5 feet of snow in some Sierra areas and encouraged drivers to avoid mountain roads....

  • California finally gets some 'normal' winter weather

    California finally gets some 'normal' winter weather

    Good morning. It’s Tuesday, Jan. 3. Here’s what is happening in California: TOP STORIES Wet winter Northern California’s wet streak is expected to continue in 2017 with a new round of rain and snow this week. All this rain is helping ease the drought, at least up north. “This is what we’re supposed...

  • Heading to a New Year's Eve party? Prepare for rain and chilly weather

    Heading to a New Year's Eve party? Prepare for rain and chilly weather

    Every year, law enforcement officials urge revelers to exercise caution on New Year’s Eve. They warn of partiers who celebrate by shooting things into the air, and the drunk drivers who insist on heading home.  On the final day of 2016, Southern Californians faced another, less familiar hazard:...

  • L.A.'s wettest month in years will continue through to New Year's Eve

    L.A.'s wettest month in years will continue through to New Year's Eve

    Los Angeles County could see between a quarter-inch and half-inch of rain Friday as the first of two anticipated storm systems passes through the region this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. The rainfall will add to what is already the wettest month recorded in downtown Los Angeles...

  • Powerful storm brings road closures and record rainfall to Southern California

    Powerful storm brings road closures and record rainfall to Southern California

    The storm moved out, but the traffic troubles remain. The heavy rainstorm that closed the Grapevine for a while Saturday continued to cause problems on some mountain roads. In the San Bernardino Mountains, Highway 38 was closed for several hours overnight due to snow that stranded about 100 cars,...

  • Heavy rain might be a sign of wetter times to come in drought-plagued L.A.

    Heavy rain might be a sign of wetter times to come in drought-plagued L.A.

    There’s something unusual in the mix in Southern California this weekend, along with the usual rain-caused traffic gridlock and airport delays, according to one climatologist — a sense of optimism. The storm that moved though the region on Wednesday and Thursday provided a good 24 hours of mostly...

  • Three reports of dirty water preceded ban in Corpus Christi, Texas, official says

    Three reports of dirty water preceded ban in Corpus Christi, Texas, official says

    There were three reports of dirty water before the 300,000 residents of Corpus Christi were told not to drink the city's water due to a chemical leak at an asphalt plant, city officials said Saturday, adding that the city has not found evidence of water contamination. Mayor Dan McQueen said he...

  • Congressional inquiry faults Michigan officials and EPA for Flint water crisis

    Congressional inquiry faults Michigan officials and EPA for Flint water crisis

    Congressional Republicans quietly closed a yearlong investigation into the crisis over lead in the Flint, Mich., drinking water supply, faulting both state officials and the Environmental Protection Agency for contamination that has affected nearly 100,000 residents. In letters to fellow Republicans,...

  • A tale of two California droughts

    A tale of two California droughts

    Good morning. It’s Thursday, Dec. 15, and here’s what’s going on around California: TOP STORIES Tale of two droughts Through five years of an unrelenting drought, Californians shared the pain of the dry conditions and water shortages. But that’s beginning to change. Northern California has seen...

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