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More than 180,000 Under Evacuation Orders as Oroville Dam Spillways Compromised

By: Bob Henson 3:46 PM GMT on February 13, 2017

Tens of thousands of Californians fled their homes on short notice Sunday evening about 60 miles north of Sacramento when the emergency (auxiliary) spillway at Oroville Dam--the nation’s tallest dam--showed signs of failure, prompting mandatory evacuations along the Feather River downstream, including the entire city of Oroville (population 16,000.) It was a dramatic turn of events in a situation that has gotten progressively worse over the last few days. Record amounts of precipitation to date this winter across the northern Sierra (see Figure 4)—much of it falling as rain or melting prematurely—have filled Lake Oroville to capacity for the first time in years.

On Tuesday, February 7, as massive amounts of water poured through the main spillway (see figures below), a patch of erosion developed on the spillway’s concrete base. This erosion has since spread across a wide stretch of the spillway, spanning roughly 200 by 150 feet and extending 40 to 50 feet deep. To reduce further damage and to help keep debris from flowing downstream, water was shunted from the main spillway to the emergency spillway starting on Saturday morning, February 11. This was the first time the emergency spillway had been used since the dam was put into service in 1968.

A hole developed in the broad concrete lip at the top of the emergency spillway on Sunday afternoon, as several inches of water cascaded over the top of the spillway. By late afternoon, the California Department of Water Resources had issued this dire statement: “Officials are anticipating a failure of the Auxiliary Spillway at Oroville Dam within the next 60 minutes.” Residents of Oroville and neighboring areas were ordered to leave the area as soon as possible, sparking major traffic jams. By around 8:45 pm PST, water was no longer flowing over the lip of the emergency spillway, reducing the immediate threat that the spillway would fail. The lake’s water level had dropped an additional three-plus feet by 7:00 am PST Monday. However, mandatory evacuations remained in effect as officials examined the state of the dam’s infrastructure.

Along with these photos, see the embedded video at bottom for added perspective.


Figure 1. Undated photo of Oroville Dam and Lake Oroville, with the Feather River at bottom. The main spillway (left side of image) is used to relieve pressure on the dam. The emergency spillway, a broader earthen structure just to the left of the main spillway, had never been activated before this past weekend. Image credit: Wikipedia/California Department of Water Resources.


Figure 2. This aerial photo from Saturday, February 11, 2017, shows the main spillway, bottom, and a broader auxiliary spillway, upper, of the Oroville Dam at Lake Oroville. The dam is located on the other side of the main spillway, off the right side of the photo. Image credit: Albert Madrid/California Department of Water Resources via AP.


Figure 3. Another aerial photo from Saturday, February 11, 2017, shows the damaged main spillway. Water pouring through the damaged area had already caused significant erosion to the hillside (orange areas). Image credit: William Croyle/California Department of Water Resources via AP.


Figure 4. The cumulative precipitation across eight key stations in the northern Sierra was at 226% above the 1922-1998 average for the season to date as of Saturday, February 12, 2017. This is more than 50% more precipitation than had fallen by this point during the record-wet year of 1982-83 and the very wet year of 1997-98 (both of which were "super" El Niño events, along with 2015-16). The year-to-date total of 68.05" through February 12 is already well ahead of the record for any year up through the end of February of 65.86" (1955-56), according to Jan Null, @ggweather (these records extend back to 1921-22). Frequently mild conditions this winter have pushed a higher fraction than usual of this precipitation into the reservoir system, either as rainfall or as melted snowfall. Image credit: California Department of Water Resources.

What are the risks now?
Water expert Peter Gleick (Pacific Institute) provided this pithy summary of the situation in a tweet on Sunday night:

“1. Calm down.
2. Evacuate if ordered.
3. The dam won’t fail, but
4. Severe flooding still possible if emergency spillway fails.”

Point 3 is based on the fact that the spillways are independent structures from the dam itself. It’s extremely good news that the Oroville Dam itself is sound, because the amount of water behind it would produce a truly cataclysmic flood, inundating much of California’s Central Valley. However, residents downstream are by no means out of the woods. Now that the only two spillways from Oroville Dam are both damaged, officials face a very challenging task as they attempt to carry out repairs on the emergency spillway while keeping the main spillway functional. If either spillway were to fail at this point, catastrophe could still result.

When the crisis arose with the emergency spillway on Sunday evening, engineers roughly doubled the flow through the damaged main spillway--from around 50,000 to around 100,000 cubic feet per second (cfs)--in order to quickly relieve pressure on the emergency spillway. The Sacramento Bee reported late Sunday that officials will examine the main spillway on Monday to see how much additional damage was incurred by Sunday’s sudden release and to ensure that the main spillway can still be used without risking more serious damage or failure.

“It’s a dynamic situation,” said Bill Croyle, acting director of California’s Department of Water Resources, in a press briefing Sunday night. “The key here is we need some drier weather or some cooler weather to keep those inflows down….We want to maintain the system at a rate that doesn’t further degrade the infrastructure that we have.” Croyle said that the hope is to keep the main spillway flow at the newly accelerated rate of around 100,000 cfs, if the structure permits. Given the huge amount of runoff still flowing into the lake, water levels will remain quite high. The net goal is to cut the total amount of water in the lake by about 3% by midweek.


Figure 5. Rivers throughout the northern part of California’s Central Valley were swollen with runoff on Saturday, February 11, as seen in this NASA satellite image annotated by the National Weather Service office in Sacramento. Oroville is located along the Feather River north of Yuba City. Image credit: NWS/Sacramento.

The forecast
Northern California will get a much-needed break from rain and snow during the first part of the upcoming week. Then the forecast turns more ominous. Light rain and mountain snow will begin Wednesday and intensify by Thursday, and there will be additional pulses of rain and mountain snow throughout the following week. On Sunday night, the National Weather Service office in San Francisco identified five separate frontal passages in GFS model output for the week starting this Wednesday, February 15. At present, these do not look like record-smashing storms, but they could add up to 2” or more of valley rain falling on saturated soils, with 4” - 6” possible in the Sierra foothills and even more at higher elevations (much of the latter as snow). The rainfall will keep water flowing into Lake Oroville and keep the pressure on engineers and officials scrambling to protect downstream areas from a hydrologic threat whose end is not yet in sight.

There is sure to be controversy over the emergency spillway itself and why it nearly failed in its very first weekend of use. The flow on Sunday through the emergency spillway was only around 6,000-12,000 cfs, far less than the engineered maximum flow of 350,000 cfs, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News. In 2005, three environmental groups filed a motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to require that the earthen spillway be reinforced with concrete. State and local water agencies concluded that these upgrades were not necessary, and the federal government agreed.

In a harrowing interview with the Sacramento Bee, a member of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board describes how a breach of the emergency spillway could have devastating consequences. The Bee’s website also features a livestream from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

We’ll be back with a new post on Tuesday.

Bob Henson


Figure 6. Total precipitation (rainfall and the amount of water in snowfall) projected by the 00Z Monday run of the GFS model for the ten-day period ending at 4:00 pm PST Wednesday, February 22, 2017. Image credit: tropicaltidbits.com.


Figure 7. Reservoir conditions in California as of February 11, 2017. The state’s second largest reservoir, Lake Oroville, was at 101% of capacity, forcing use of its emergency spillway for the first time. California’s largest reservoir, Lake Shasta, was at 96% of capacity. Image credit: California Department of Water Resources.


Video 1. Multiple vantage points of Oroville Dam and its main and emergency (auxiliary) spillways, as captured by drone by the California Department of Water Resources. Image credit: California DWR.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Butte County, California
11 hrs ·
Butte County offices in the Oroville area will be closed tomorrow due to the evacuations from the #spillway incident.
Butte County Sheriff Butte County Public Health Butte County Probation Department
Butte County Sheriff2 hrs · 

Motorists traveling south from the Chico area should be advised of several road closures on main highways.

· HWY 99 is closed from Durham-Pentz Road to south of Yuba City.
· HWY 70 is closed from HWY 149 to south of Yuba City.
· All other roadways below the Oroville Spillway elevation in Oroville, Thermalito, Biggs, and Gridley south to the Butte County line are closed.
· Motorists traveling south from the Chico area should take HWY 32 to I5 south. Avoid roadways west of Chico typically used to access I5 south as they are closed due to flooding including Sacramento Avenue, River Road, Ord Ferry road, Aguas Frias Road, and 7 Mile Lane. 
 · Please leave extra time for commuting.

Not great

Very comprehensive and timely update, Bob! Thank you.
Best wishes to those in the region of Oroville and the workers at the spillways!


not good
Hydrologic StatementIssued: 2:31 AM PST Feb. 13, 2017 – National Weather Service

Forecast information for
feather river near Nicolaus.
* At 2:15 am Monday the stage was 42.7 feet.
* Forecast to fluctuate near 43.0 ft thru early tomorrow morning.
* Flood stage 47.0 ft
* monitor stage 39.0 ft


&&

Lat... Lon 3897 12165 3903 12149 3884 12150 3876 12168

Area forecast discussion 
National Weather Service Sacramento California
341 am PST Mon Feb 13 2017

Synopsis...
dry weather continues through Tuesday. Yet another round of wet
weather arrives Wednesday with several rounds continuing through
next weekend.

&&

Discussion...
upper ridge continuing dry weather across the region. Lots of high
cloudiness is spilling through the ridge and may inhibit much
valley fog formation early this morning. Temperatures remain
rather mild and range from the 20s and 30s in the mountain valleys
to the 40s elsewhere.

Dry weather expected to continue today and Tuesday, though a few
model runs have been indicating some very light quantitative precipitation forecast for this
evening over the northern mountains as the weak wave presently
centered around 38n/135w brushes far northern California.
Satellite imagery indicates a plume of tpw of 1.2-1.5 inches ahead
of the wave.

Valley temperatures will warm into the 60s today and Tuesday with
40s and 50s across the mountains. Nevertheless, high water issues
will remain a problem for some areas, so the Flood Warning
continues. Hillsides remain water logged and will take several
days to dry out and become more stable, just in time for more
rain.

The next more impactful storm is forecast to move through the
region later Wednesday into Thursday. Some light precipitation may
begin across far northern California as early as Wednesday
morning, but more significant precipitation will likely hold off
until Wednesday night and Thursday morning as the front moves
through the area.

The Sacramento Valley may see 1/2 to 1 inch of rain while the
foothills and mountains may see as much as 2-4 inches. Snow
levels will lower to around 6-7k ft by Thursday, allowing the
higher peaks to receive a foot or more of new snow while the
passes are expected to see generally less than 6 inches.

&&

Extended discussion (friday through monday)
long term models continue to advertise an active pattern across
interior norcal during the extended period. A series of Pacific
fronts are forecast to move through the region Friday into Monday,
bringing periods of widespread precipitation. Early precipitation
amounts show generally 1 to 2 inches across the valley and 2 to 4
inches over the mountains Friday through Sunday night, with some
higher amounts (up to 5 to 6 inches) over western Plumas County
and Lassen Peak. Of course, these higher amounts over the feather
river basin will contribute more runoff into Lake Oroville. The
good news is that some precipitation will likely fall as snow.
Snow levels should start out 5 to 6k feet Friday and Saturday, and
lower to 3 to 5k feet Sunday and Monday. This is a long ways out
to determine precip amounts and snow level accuracy, so these
amounts will likely change. Gusty southerly winds could be
possible with these systems. Jclapp

&&

Aviation...
VFR conditions next 24 hrs with light winds across interior
norcal except for potential patchy IFR conditions from Sutter
Buttes southward near sunrise due to mist or patchy fog. Jclapp &&

Sto watches/warnings/advisories...none.

National Weather Service Glossary of Abbreviations

Comment #3.

Beat me to it.
Thanks for the update Mr. Henson....
Sure, the dam could remain standing, but the gravelly, soft rock spur on which the spillways are situated could, in a worst case scenario, get eroded away, producing the same effect as a dam failure. So why have they harped on "the dam is sound"? Apparently, that statement is immaterial. There is no granitic bedrock in that spur above the lowest level of Lake Oroville. There is only weaker material, gravelly and soft sedimentary "rock". How was this not taken into account? Was there a rush to get water moving to SoCal so developers could cash in quick? In the worst case scenario, SoCal will lose a major source of its water supply for up to a decade, requiring rationing even in normal rainfall years. There's a momentary respite right now as they sacrifice the already damaged main spillway, but 15 inches of rain are predicted over the coming week in the Feather River Basin, followed by the runoff of a way-above-average snowpack. The erosive power of that much water will dwarf any emergency efforts to put boulders in the way. They will have to be extremely lucky to avoid calamity now.
Dr. Master's, great post.
An observation: "have filled Lake Oroville to capacity for the first time in years." Lake Oroville reached top of conservation pool and had limited flood releases last winter. See Army Corps of Engineer Storage-Hydrology chart linked below:

Link
Quoting 373. beell:

Potential point of failure on the northern end of the emergency auxiliary spillway.

ADDED! Opinion only.




water-stops-spilling-over-oroville-auxiliary-spil lway
image credit KCRA News
Lots of info in link and links to more at the bottom, evac info and such...


Louisiana Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Straight-line Winds (DR-4300)

Incident period: February 07, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on February 11, 2017



Disaster Recovery Center to Open in Orleans Parish for Louisiana Survivors

Release date:
February 12, 2017
Release Number:
NR-002


Location: East New Orleans Public Library
5641 Read Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70127
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays

To register with FEMA, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, call the FEMA Helpline, or download the FEMA mobile app. Help is available in most languages and the FEMA Helpline is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice.





208 mph jet a few hundred miles off the California coast will carve a sharp negatively tilted trough Friday which some forecasts are indicating will induce a deep cyclogenesis, possibly bombogenesis, including storm to hurricane force winds along the coast and in the coastal ranges and Sierra. Precip will be heavy, heavier if, like many systems this year, it can entrain another subtropical plume.
Thank You for the update; it's a nightmare for this part of Cali; drought relief came all at once and now the dam failure and continued flooding issues due to topping reservoirs including Oroville........................


U.S. Drought Monitor forWest

Quoting 12. civEngineer:

Dr. Master's, great post.
An observation: "have filled Lake Oroville to capacity for the first time in years." Lake Oroville reached top of conservation pool and had limited flood releases last winter. See Army Corps of Engineer Storage-Hydrology chart linked below:

Link


Thanks for the info, civEngineer. It looks like the reservoir got up to about 95% of full capacity during that peak last winter.

Bob
The plan is to do EXACTLY what they did here at the 17th St. Canal Breach as we cleared the roads days before they got in..as we knew they would come off the interstate to plug it.

They gonna Helo in, 2500lb sandbags to plug that corner today



France Avalanche Photos: Tignes Death Toll Could Rise* As Ski Resort Searches For Victims Buried Under Snow / IBTimes - 1 h ago.
Authorities were scrambling Monday to help the victims of a deadly avalanche that killed at least four people in Tignes, France, according to multiple reports.

Sadly, it's not unusual to see such deadly events at this time of year in the Alps...

*Edit: death toll won't rise according to the latest reports.
Yikes, feast or famine..
Trump Refuses to Provide California Federal Support in Midst of Natural Disaster, Cites Sanctuary Cities
By Bruce Mason


The California Department of Water Resources has issued an emergency evacuation order for low levels of Oroville, CA in preparation of an expected dam break at any moment.

The evacuation has been issued for the City of Marysville and all Yuba County residents as the state’s second largest reservoir, at nearly 100 percent capacity, is on the verge of rupturing and flooding many low lying areas.
While the massive storm system, spanning the past couple weeks, has brought much needed rain to the state, flash floods, downed power lines and damage to state-funded projects have crippled the state’s budget.

Governor Jerry Brown requested $162 million in federal funds from President Donald Trump on Friday to clean up damage a series of storms that blessed the state with much needed water following a year’s long drought.

TRENDING: BOMBSHELL: Trump and Putin Spotted at Swiss Resort Prior to Election

A high ranking unnamed source, who spoke with the Dispatch on the condition of anonymity, has confirmed that President Trump has denied the request on grounds that California, and the city of Sacramento in particular, have failed to enforce federal immigration laws and have threatened to succeed from the Union. The source is quoted as saying:

“The President has no incentive in helping the state of California. The state harbors more illegal immigrants than any other state and has multiple sanctuary cities that violate federal laws. The state very publicly supported Hillary Clinton throughout the election and the President views the state as being responsible for his loss in the popular vote, something he has had trouble with accepting. They have also recently threatened to leave the Union through their #CalExit campaign, and the President sees this as an opportunity to let them deal with the consequences of their exit. There is a sickness within the liberals in this country that they are not willing to address. Until they understand what ails them can they hope to find the cure. This is a step in the right direction in finding the #CureForWellness. “

President Trump himself has not yet weighed in on the issue. The state is looking forward to a response from the Twitterer-In-Chief at any moment.

Residents of the affected areas should follow all evacuation warnings.
The foothills in the area where the Oroville Dam was built was one of the big placer mining districts during the 19th century. Placer mining was also called "hydraulic mining", and involved training massive jets of water on the soft, poorly consolidated "rock" to get at gold buried in thick sediments. This led to massive erosion that caused thick sedimentation of the Central Valley floor and filled up much of the bottom of San Francisco Bay.

" During the years 1855, '56, '57, heavy fluming operations were carried on.
along the Feather river, between Oroville and Bidwell's bar. The Rough and Ready
and Sailor claim, near White Rock, panned out largely, but the Cape claim of
1857 produced richer dirt and more of it for the season than any other. The
river was flumed about a mile and a half above Oroville, A. S. Hart being
contractor of the works. One day during the season, with six sluices running,
one hundred and forty-two pounds of pure gold were taken out in twenty-four
hours. The days' work netted $30,672, of which $24,000 came from one sluice. On
the same day John P. Norton washed from one pan of dirt fifty-two ounces. There
were taken out and reported during the season upwards of $330,000. In 1858, the
Union Cape company flumed the river just below, but failed to make more than the
cost of the flume. Below that, in 1859, the golden channel was flumed. Some
years ago the California Dredging and Mining Company dredged the river near
Oroville, by a boat with suction-pipes. Another boat, one hundred and twenty
feet long and thirty feet wide, was constructed by the Feather River Mining
Company, of which J. M. Burt was president, but none of these enterprises were
lucrative."

Link
As far as I can see, the issues with the Oroville Lake dam system are that both spillways are now very near failure with continued use, because water flow through/over them will continue, or accelerate, the erosion headward of the erosion channels that already exist, and repairs in the two days available before the next AR arrives would be extremely difficult to impossible. Once the erosion channels arrive at the top of their hills they meet the lake, and once the flow can no longer be controlled through the spillways the lake will drain itself rapidly by eroding the embankment beside the dam. As that embankment is weakened, its support of the west side of the dam will be compromised and the dam could fail, completing the catastrophe. Because of the condition of the terrain right now getting repair equipment and crews in there will be nearly impossible.
#10 BayFog - I suppose another factor to consider is the degree to which water from the auxiliary spillway, percolating into the regolith and deeper bedrock, may weaken the regolith and rock layers and raise the risk of shallow landsliding. The slope angles do not look especially steep, but averages can deceive the eye: if there are some localised, weaker potential failure planes, then local failures can occur, which in turn can propagate upslope and lead to a larger slope failure. My thoughts and prayers to the residents, and all those engineers and workers bravely trying to control the situation.
Eumetsat/Meteosat Indian Ocean - Infrared 11.5 Southern Africa: Link

NOAA tropical floaters: Link
If it's true that Trump plans to disallow Federal aid for the developing disaster at Oroville for purely political reasons, he will be eroding (so to speak) what little Republican power remains in California. That corner of the state is one of the few remaining Republican bastions in the state, represented in Congress by a Republican. A singularly unwise political move for the future prospects of the Republican Party, leaving aside the appallingly callous aspects.







I tossed on my thoughts on His 2 fer over the weekend to sign, Louisiana's or California's request.

He signed Louisiana's request by Gov. Edwards Saturday, a Day after it was requested Friday.

Louisiana went Red in November, and California voted Blue.

This is disturbing as one NEVER chooses,as you ALWAYS take your Victim as is.

Lordy..

Great account on a rare but very important event. Weather-interested persons would be following such phenomena indeed. Hope it ends well without damage or casualty.
Quoting 20. Patrap:

The plan is to do EXACTLY what they did here at the 17th St. Canal Breach as we cleared the roads days before they got in..as we knew they would come off the interstate to plug it.

They gonna Helo in, 2500lb sandbags to plug that corner today






Patrap - has the red circle been confirmed by any officials (state/local) as the source of their main concern?

I saw that in the live feed last night, but it was hard to tell if "erosion" talked about last night was that point in the dam structure that was in danger.

Let's hope those main spillway gates are stable.

The call to evacuate was correct.

Some friends under evacuation orders took it seriously and now waiting it out. It's going to be difficult for them to keep waiting for 1+ day. Hopefully emergency officials communicate frequently and accurately. The impact will be felt across the region. Most of my family does not live in flood zones (me = 120 feet up).
Quoting 32. CraigsIsland:



Patrap - has the red circle been confirmed by any officials (state/local) as the source of their main concern?

I saw that in the live feed last night, but it was hard to tell if "erosion" talked about last night was that point in the dam structure that was in danger.

Let's hope those main spillway gates are stable.

The call to evacuate was correct.

Some friends under evacuation orders took it seriously and now waiting it out. It's going to be difficult for them to keep waiting for 1+ day. Hopefully emergency officials communicate frequently and accurately. The impact will be felt across the region. Most of my family does not live in flood zones (me = 120 feet up).


I believe they are looking at the whole scope of the overflow top...and below as barbamz image shows.

(reads, reads, looks, reads more, looks more)

We're gonna lose this dam by May, aren't we.

Ok, they oughtta be able to prepare for that.
19 hours ago.

What we have been seeing in recent years on the AGW front is more intense precipitation events in many locations across the world, and the US, which is going to cause problems with much of our existing infra-structure in the coming decades pushing it to the limits.
Sorry for the double-post.    
You know the saying, "if you give them enough rope, they will hang themselves"?

Well, if you give him enough water, he will drown himself.
(think of the big picture)
Quoting 33. Patrap:



I believe they are looking at the whole scope of the overflow top...and below as barbamz image shows.


I'm not sure they have any choice in the matter. Nature has batted last. If it does not rain, or thaw much, upstream, they might survive until it does -- but the system on its way Wednesday looks pretty wet. Maybe if they got out there now with a lot of aircraft and heavily seeded that system with silver iodide or whatever works, they might cause it to rain out over the ocean before it comes ashore. But to keep doing that to prevent a dam failure is probably out of the economical question too. It looks to me like a lose-lose situation.

Also, it didn't appear to me that there are any controls for the emergency/auxilliary spillway -- it begins to flow when the lake level reaches it. There are, I assume, control gates on the main spillway. so "opening the emergency spillway" is not an option -- Nature will do that.
Quoting 41. CaneFreeCR:

I'm not sure they have any choice in the matter. Nature has batted last. If it does not rain, or thaw much, upstream, they might survive until it does -- but the system on its way Wednesday looks pretty wet. Maybe if they got out there now with a lot of aircraft and heavily seeded that system with silver iodide or whatever works, they might cause it to rain out over the ocean before it comes ashore. But to keep doing that to prevent a dam failure is probably out of the economical question too. It looks to me like a lose-lose situation.

Also, it didn't appear to me that there are any controls for the emergency/auxilliary spillway -- it begins to flow when the lake level reaches it. There are, I assume, control gates on the main spillway. so "opening the emergency spillway" is not an option -- Nature will do that.


The whole key to this is to drain as much water as they can from the Lake and repair what they can as soon as they can.
Quoting 37. weathermanwannabe:

What we have been seeing in recent years on the AGW front is more intense precipitation events in many locations across the world, and the US, which is going to cause problems with much of out existing infra-structure in the coming decades pushing it to the limits.


Increased flood frequency is pretty much a lock. It's due to warming (and warming is due to us).

It should be noted though that 1/100 year events are geograpical area (wide area flooding) or point (convective bands) events and there are likely to be a few "somewhere" each year. Problem is now there are more and they are worse.

I often state that here in Maryland there is a 1/100 year convective flash flood event within 50 miles of DC most summers. But it's confined to a few square miles of the 8000 square mile area defined by that circle. I just hope I don't draw the lemons and be within that area, and more broadly, that the affected few square miles isn't heavily populated or vulnerable to drainage issues. Despite that, I also think the frequency of these has increased. At my own home I've had two 4" in an hour events in the 21'st century and a separate 10" overnight incident. 4" in an hour is about 1% probability event annually in this region.


Quoting 43. 3SeaHorses:



can't wait to how this one plays out


I don't.

Safety First. All Americans shouldn't be subject to some other policies in the face of risk like this.
Quoting 42. PedleyCA:



The whole key to this is to drain as much water as they can from the Lake and repair what they can as soon as they can.
Richt, and they only have one drain they can use -- the electrical generating turbine tubes and water lines to the cities served by the reservoir. If they use the main spillway there is no hope. I do not see how any repairs can be made, even stopgaps, quickly enough given the working conditions and imminent weather.
Quoting 30. Patrap:

I tossed on my thoughts on His 2 fer over the weekend to sign, Louisiana's or California's request.

He signed Louisiana's request by Gov. Edwards Saturday, a Day after it was requested Friday.

Louisiana went Red in November, and California voted Blue.

This is disturbing as one NEVER chooses,as you ALWAYS take your Victim as is.

Lordy..




exactly...will be delayed as punishment....unbelievable well i guess not really....ugly soul
Why was the emergency spillway engineered without concrete all the way down. Gravel and earth will wash out. Certainly. Who said no to this???
Quoting 48. georgevandenberghe:

Why was the emergency spillway engineered without concrete all the way down. Gravel and earth will wash out. Certainly. Who said no to this???

Building on the cheap to rush that water to the Southern California desert.
Quoting 10. BayFog:

Sure, the dam could remain standing, but the gravelly, soft rock spur on which the spillways are situated could, in a worst case scenario, get eroded away, producing the same effect as a dam failure. So why have they harped on "the dam is sound"? Apparently, that statement is immaterial. There is no granitic bedrock in that spur above the lowest level of Lake Oroville. There is only weaker material, gravelly and soft sedimentary "rock". [...]


My best guess:

Comparing to the current erosion at the "normal" spillway, it seems, that even if the weir at the auxiliary spillway collapsed at once, it would take days to erode the entire hillside to lake bottom level. Maximum discharge would be in the vicinity of one million cubic feet per second, and it could take hours to reach that maximum value.

But if a crack opened up in the dam... since it is way thinner than the hillside, the crack could escalate in minutes into a situation, where there is virtually no part of the structure left. So basically, maximum discharge would be almost one billion cubic feet per second, and it would be reached in minutes.
Video (helicopter view) of the dam and spillway an hour ago. Nice close ups of the spillway, etc.
Link
53. Kumo
Quoting 23. Patrap:

Trump Refuses to Provide California Federal Support in Midst of Natural Disaster, Cites Sanctuary Cities
By Bruce Mason





What a jerk. By comparison, I remember when President Obama offered Federal support to Gov. Christie and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy even after harsh political words were exchanged that election cycle.

Sandy brings Gov. Christie, Obama together as an unlikely team

Trump better get it through his head quick that this job isn't just about what he wants.

Quoting 51. elioe:



My best guess:

Comparing to the current erosion at the "normal" spillway, it seems, that even if the weir at the auxiliary spillway collapsed at once, it would take days to erode the entire hillside to lake bottom level. Maximum discharge would be in the vicinity of one million cubic feet per second, and it could take hours to reach that maximum value.

But if a crack opened up in the dam... since it is way thinner than the hillside, the crack could escalate in minutes into a situation, where there is virtually no part of the structure left. So basically, maximum discharge would be almost one billion cubic feet per second, and it would be reached in minutes.

The dam is unlikely to crack or fail before the crumbly rock on that spur upon which the spillways are situated. That soft rock began crumbling at an alarming rate on Saturday (which the experience of the placer miners a century and a half ago should have indicated)...in a single day. And who knows what's going on inside that rock. As I mentioned a few days ago, similar "rock" is present in the hills around the SF Bay (and also LA) and is notorious for failing from the combined effects of erosion and saturation. And once the water finds an outlet, pressure will actually be relieved from the dam itself, and instead concentrate its power into the gap. Those boulders they're frantically dumping into the eroded incision will then just be added to the debris headed downstream.
Quoting 52. Sfloridacat5:

Video (helicopter view) of the dam and spillway an hour ago. Nice close ups of the spillway, etc.
Link


Wrong video? There is no water coming over that Auxiliary spillway and the video shows there is...
Anyone know what reservoir elevation the main spillway starts/stops at? Outflow has been on a steady decline for the last 8 hours - should continue to decline as the lake empties if they leave the gates in there current position.

I want to see the data approved for 350k CFS rating downstream of the emergency spillway - live feed from Barbamz reveled heavy erosion at only 12k. Now they plan to shore it up with aggregate rock.
Quoting 23. Patrap:

...Sacremento Dispatch...


While I certainly wouldn't put something like that past Twitler, the Sacramento Dispatch isn't what I would exactly call a bastion of journalistic integrity. I haven't been able to find any other corroborating evidence that this is actually a real story.

While the neo-fascist have taken fake news to a whole new level, we must remain vigilant with regards to fake news regardless of whether or not it caters to our own ideologies. Always check your sources.
Quoting 57. Xyrus2000:



While I certainly wouldn't put something like that past Twitler, the Sacramento Dispatch isn't what I would exactly call a bastion of journalistic integrity. I haven't been able to find any other corroborating evidence that this is actually a real story.

While the neo-fascist have taken fake news to a whole new level, we must remain vigilant with regards to fake news regardless of whether or not it caters to our own ideologies. Always check your sources.


Twitter is good for like one comment vs. 100 comments made. Be very suspect when checking twitter.
Quoting 55. PedleyCA:



Wrong video? There is no water coming over that Auxiliary spillway and the video shows there is...


Interesting since the video says 2-13-17 live news. But you know how that works some times.
It does look like old footage.
Quoting 54. BayFog:



Yes, but that difference in magnitude is the most plausible reason in my opinion, why they keep conveying the message, that the dam is sound. If people all the way to the sea thought, that there would be a sudden 100ft-1000ft tsunami coming down a river, it could cause panic.
Quoting 53. Kumo:



What a jerk. By comparison, I remember when President Obama offered Federal support to Gov. Christie and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy even after harsh political words were exchanged that election cycle.

Sandy brings Gov. Christie, Obama together as an unlikely team

Trump better get it through his head quick that this job isn't just about what he wants.


I think it is time for California and all the other states that could be threatened by similar actions by Trump, to band together and begin the impeachment process now. He has already overstepped the bounds several times, and he seems disinclined to reconsider his approach. He better be stopped now, instead of trying to do it when he has made a shambles of the entire country. Sorry for the rant. (Edit) As climate change increases the incidence of the sort of event Lake Oroville is experiencing all over the country, more and more such requests for Federal assistance will be crossing the Presidential desk, and similar responses will generate their own movement, but too late for the infrastructure and the country's stability.
Quoting 46. CaneFreeCR:

Richt, and they only have one drain they can use -- the electrical generating turbine tubes and water lines to the cities served by the reservoir. If they use the main spillway there is no hope. I do not see how any repairs can be made, even stopgaps, quickly enough given the working conditions and imminent weather.


The only option they have at this point is to use the main spillway and the power generation lines in tandem and sacrifice the rest of the spillway below the failure point and hope they can keep flow from over topping the emergency spill. In the 1997 storms lake inflows peaked at around 300,000 cfs. The main spill way can discharge around 160,000 cfs...
Of the 84,000 dams in the U.S., 14,000 are considered "high hazard" and 4,000 are deficient. The infrastructure in the US is a hidden disaster beyond epic proportions. Until something happens then the blame will be on the fall guy and countless bills will be made to spend monies for repairs, but nothing is fixed and the cart goes back before the horse.
Quoting 57. Xyrus2000:



While I certainly wouldn't put something like that past Twitler, the Sacramento Dispatch isn't what I would exactly call a bastion of journalistic integrity. I haven't been able to find any other corroborating evidence that this is actually a real story.

While the neo-fascist have taken fake news to a whole new level, we must remain vigilant with regards to fake news regardless of whether or not it caters to our own ideologies. Always check your sources.


I figured I could spare myself one wuwt style post per year.

Dat was it.

Jus to rattle the masses'

: )
Quoting 35. Patrap:


KCRA3 The Nowcast is showing the sandbags ready to deploy.

Ps. No Marines, though. California using its own resources, Blackhawks on contract.

23. Patrap
4:26 PM GMT on February 13, 2017

I don't care who you are, a rag like that citing an "unnamed source" ( high-ranking - where?) is a deliberate attempt at inciting the public and not to be believed. What the White House says is what's important and real. Maybe CA will get a FEMA declaration on that request for infrastructure (like bridges and this here dam) and not for individual help. Maybe CA won't get any declaration on that request. The decision depends on the damages and the resources of the local governments involved. The reasoning given in that link, ridiculous, as has become reading blog comments fueled by hatred and extreme partisan politics.

If Oroville Dam gives way, FEMA better have gazillions stashed.

Ba-zing. Me gone.
Quoting 64. Patrap:



I figured I could spare myself one wuwt style post per year.

Dat was it.

Jus to rattle the masses'

: )
The comment containing that link should be removed and you deserve to be banned for posting it.

Double Bazingo - That's me GOOD and GONE!
Quoting 15. Patrap:



Louisiana Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Straight-line Winds (DR-4300)

Incident period: February 07, 2017
Major Disaster Declaration declared on February 11, 2017



Disaster Recovery Center to Open in Orleans Parish for Louisiana Survivors

Release date:
February 12, 2017
Release Number:
NR-002


Location: East New Orleans Public Library
5641 Read Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70127
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays

To register with FEMA, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, call the FEMA Helpline, or download the FEMA mobile app. Help is available in most languages and the FEMA Helpline is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, until further notice.





Trump has just announced that California can DROWN for all he cares. They didn't want to stop sanctuary cities, keep illegals out, rebuild and spend on infrastructure while we become a 3rd world country in infrastructure.....DROWN I say, drown along with the illegals and along with your debt into oblivion.


Fake News Alert: ON
Climate change is already battering hundreds of animal species

Climate change is already harming around 700 species of mammals and birds. That means that warming is not just a theoretical future threat, and conservation work must focus on the “here and now”, says a new study.

It reviewed 136 studies published between 1990 and 2015, as well as modelling the risks to animals on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It concluded that almost half of terrestrial mammal species and nearly a quarter of all bird species could already be negatively affected, without us even realising.

“We have the knowledge to take action,” says Lee Hannah, a conservation ecologist and senior researcher at Conservation International, a non-profit based in Arlington, Virginia. “Truly massive climate-triggered insect outbreaks have killed millions of trees in North America. Heat flashes in the oceans have killed corals and changed coral reefs in every ocean.”

A third of all species may be at risk of extinction, says Hannah, and the study shows the changes are happening already.


Link
Well, maybe one more Xandra'

California Governor Jerry Brown Asks President Trump for Help

On Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown sought federal help from President Trump by asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to declare “a major disaster” in California in light of the damage done by recent storms.
The East Bay Times reports: “Brown formally requested the declaration for the series of storms striking the state between Jan. 3 and Jan. 12.” He noted that “heavy rains, winds and snow, particularly in Northern California, left eight people dead and knocked out power to an estimated 1 million Californian homes and businesses.”

Brown’s request comes as Gov. Brown has challenged the Trump administration on climate change, immigration, Obamacare, and other issues.

Other Democrat officials in California have been open about their refusal to comply with Trump administration orders regarding illegal immigration. San Francisco’s police chief, sheriff, and mayor all made clear they would not enforce Trump’s immigration order, long before the order was taken to court. The San Francisco Police Department went so far as to cut ties with an FBI counter-terrorism task force in order to prevent officers from being involved in action that targeted illegals.

And California’s highest law enforcement agent, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, has been very open about his determination to fight Trump’s policies as part of the larger effort to retain sanctuary policies that harbor illegal aliens in the state.

But Gov. Brown would like some federal funds to help out in the short term, so he is asking the Trump administration for help.

Notably, Gov. Brown also used his “State of the State” address earlier this year to welcome Trump’s commitment to infrastructure spending.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.

Quoting 60. elioe:



Yes, but that difference in magnitude is the most plausible reason in my opinion, why they keep conveying the message, that the dam is sound. If people all the way to the sea thought, that there would be a sudden 100ft-1000ft tsunami coming down a river, it could cause panic.

Surely not ? LOLOL !

What a 'ticklish situation' this is.
Sadly, we on the 'outside' seem to be reading of these types of things more and more often.
Failing infrastructure, bad management, lack of planning, disaster.

Used to be, that those things only happened in "the third world". And China, India, USSR. And we used to say "well, looky there. Another one!"

Sad to see the current state of things in the USA.
It's a Mess of Dreadness.

Good luck with fixing it......
Just confirmed by Jan Null and updated in the Figure 4 caption above:

The year-to-date total of 68.05" through February 12 is already well ahead of the record for any year up through the end of February of 65.86" (1955-56), according to Jan Null, @ggweather (these records extend back to 1921-22).
I love how I have been a member here since before I was born!
FEB. 13, 2017, 4:19 A.M.
All 23,000 California National Guard soldiers and airmen ordered to be on alert for Oroville

The California National Guard is on standby and ready to assist with the Oroville Dam emergency, Adjutant General David Baldwin said during Sunday night's press conference.

The California National Guard put out an alert to all 23,000 of its soldiers and airmen telling them to be “ready to go if needed,” Baldwin said. The last time officials sent out such a broad notification was during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, he said.

The California National Guard would deploy eight helicopters to assist with spillway reconstruction; military police would also be deployed to Yuba County, Baldwin said.

Quoting 69. RitaEvac:

Trump has just announced that California can DROWN for all he cares. They didn't want to stop sanctuary cities, keep illegals out, rebuild and spend on infrastructure while we become a 3rd world country in infrastructure.....DROWN I say, drown along with the illegals and along with your debt into oblivion.


Fake News Alert: ON


Ya know what's funny about this.....it's exactly what the man is really thinking.......
Thousands of dead bats being found in northern New South Wales.



Link
EXCLUSIVE-China mulls radical output cuts, port coal ban in war on smog -document
by Reuters, Monday, 13 February 2017 07:31 GMT
China is considering forcing steel and aluminium producers to cut more output, banning coal in one of the country's top ports and shutting some fertiliser and drug plants as Beijing intensifies its war on smog, a draft policy document shows.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has proposed the measures in the document seen by Reuters. If implemented, they would be some of the most radical steps so far to tackle air quality in the country's most polluted cities. ...


EU Must Shut All Coal Plants to Meet Paris Pledges
February 12th, 2017, Climate Central, By Arthur Neslen, The Guardian
The European Union will “vastly overshoot” its Paris climate pledges unless its coal emissions are completely phased out within 15 years, a stress test of the industry has found.
Coal’s use is falling by about 1 percent a year in Europe but still generates a quarter of the continent’s power — and a fifth of its greenhouse gas emissions. ...
FEB. 13, 2017, 10:00 A.M.

FEMA assists state officials with Oroville Dam emergency

FEMA ✔ @fema
#OrovilleDam update: an incident management team is at @CAL_OES and we activated our coordination centers. Follow @ButteSheriff for updates.
10:23 AM - 13 Feb 2017
Quoting 72. pottery:


Surely not ? LOLOL !

What a 'ticklish situation' this is.
Sadly, we on the 'outside' seem to be reading of these types of things more and more often.
Failing infrastructure, bad management, lack of planning, disaster.

Used to be, that those things only happened in "the third world". And China, India, USSR. And we used to say "well, looky there. Another one!"

Sad to see the current state of things in the USA.
It's a Mess of Dreadness.

Good luck with fixing it......



America has gotten old....time to rebuild and spend on infrastructure....and I'm not playing along Trumps line, I'm for real it's time for rebuilding things. Or the cost of failure and destruction will be far more costly
Quoting 69. RitaEvac:

Trump has just announced that California can DROWN for all he cares. They didn't want to stop sanctuary cities, keep illegals out, rebuild and spend on infrastructure while we become a 3rd world country in infrastructure.....DROWN I say, drown along with the illegals and along with your debt into oblivion.


Fake News Alert: ON


Is this what our country has become blaming another for what should have been corrected decades ago with all of our failing infrastructure. The past administrations have taken monies appropriated for repairs and spent it in other places or just wasted away. I thought this blog was about weather or impending emergencies like Oroville dam but no others just have to bring up politics to further stir the pot and there agendas.

The Smith and Bartel families camped in a parking lot to wait out the Oroville evacuation



Brittany Bartel and her daughter were caught by surprise when authorities began evacuating the low-lying town of Marysville, about an hour's drive south of Oroville, Sunday.

Bartel and her daughter left their home with what they could throw into the car in 30 minutes, including their 10-week-old puppy and a cat. They slept in a car in a commuter parking lot near Grass Valley, camped out with a small group of Marysville evacuees.

"We were pretty cold," Bartel said.

Bartel and her daughter were among the more than 100,000 people who were told to evacuate because of a hazardous situation involving the Oroville Dam's emergency spillway after the nation's tallest dam reached capacity over the weekend.

"This is not a drill. Repeat this is not a drill,%u201D the National Weather Service said Sunday, urging people living below Oroville Dam to evacuate.

The parking lot near Grass Valley became a campsite, of sorts, for Marysville evacuees who pitched tents and slept in their cars.

Erin Smith, 31, and her husband, daughter and dog spent the night near Bartel's car. She had spent days watching accounts of the deteriorating spillway and the troubling reports of how much water was entering the lake and how much could be safely discharged.

Smith had begun to pack before the mandatory evacuations, and her daughter brought along her own backcountry emergency kit.

Smith said she would be wary of any declaration that it was safe to return home.

"I don't think I would go down to stay," she said. "I would go down to prep more."

She said she would make her decision on when it was safe to sleep in her home again only after assessing the situation herself.

"It's questionable. I want to see what the spillway looks like. I don't like taking people's word," Smith said as her family huddled around a small camp stove.
FEB. 13, 2017, 9:30 A.M.
Beale Air Force Base opens gates to Oroville Dam evacuees
Veronica Rocha

Beale Air Force Base has received approximately 250 evacuees from surrounding communities. Shelter, food, and water are being provided to those affected by this crisis. Team Beale will continue to support those who are in need.

Air Combat Command
Quoting 80. RitaEvac:



America has gotten old....time to rebuild and spend on infrastructure....and I'm not playing along Trumps line, I'm for real it's time for rebuilding things. Or the cost of failure and destruction will be far more costly

Makes good sense to me.
Costs will go up exponentially on these types of major projects, so the time to deal with them is sooner rather than later.
Record Heat in East Iceland Yesterday
Iceland Review, by Vala Hafstað Nature & Travel about an hour agoUpdated: February 13, 2017 16:55
There was unseasonably warm air over Iceland yesterday, according to meteorologist Trausti Jónsson’s blog, trj.blog.is. Heat records for February were broken at many weather stations in East Iceland, and, surprisingly, the highest temperature readings came from the mountains.
One came from Brúðardalur in East Iceland, from an elevation of 300 m (984 ft). The weather station’s high yesterday was 17.8˚ C (64˚ F). It was not a national record, but an amazing number nonetheless. At Eyjabakkar, an automated weather station at an elevation of more than 650 m (2,133 ft), north of Vatnajökull glacier, the thermometer registered an incredible 19.1˚ C (66˚ F), albeit for only two minutes, shortly before 2 pm. That number remains to be verified, but if it’s accurate, it would break the national record of just over 18˚ C, set in 1998, according to RÚV.
Yesterday, February heat records were set at 17 weather stations, which have been operating since before 2000.
StatusPhoto/Video