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3 Years Later: Oroville Dam Spillway brought mass evacuations

Three years ago, the Oroville Dam Spillway crisis brought mass evacuations in Oroville and downstream from the Oroville Dam.

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 8:34 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. - Three years ago, the Oroville Dam Spillway crisis brought mass evacuations in Oroville and downstream from the Oroville Dam.

Even after a crack in the spillway, the Department of Water Resources continued releasing water because there was so much inflow from heavy rains, and it needed to make room in the reservoir.

But the spillway started to break apart and for the first time ever, water flowed over the top of the emergency spillway.

RELATED: Two years after Oroville Dam Spillway emergency

That was when the emergency spillway started deteriorating, triggering 180,000 people to evacuate from three counties.

Since then, the spillway has been rebuilt and the emergency spillway was made stronger.

RELATED: Voices of Oroville, one year later

But not everyone is resting easy, Action News Now spoke to people today about how they remember that day.

"Uncertainty of 'were we going to have something to home to'," said Nanette White.

Three years later, some say they have mixed feelings about the safety of the spillway.

"If the dam breaks - we're on the Feather River - it will just wash every city going down," said local Lizzy Perry. "It's another stress added to your day having to think about that."

"I feel safe, I feel like it's doing its purpose it's holding the water back," said Oroville local Christian Krater.

Since then, the spillway has been rebuilt and the emergency spillway has been made stronger.

The DWR said public safety "remains its primary goal in operating the new spillway."

They also said the reconstruction was just one of the many crucial changes it has implemented since the rupture.

In January, the DWR tested out the latest edition to the spillway - sirens that ring when a water release is about to happen.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 807451

Reported Deaths: 15583
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2669886504
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino54386925
Orange530691214
San Diego46331775
Kern31865367
Fresno28199382
Sacramento22183406
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Santa Clara21030311
San Joaquin20194441
Contra Costa16469205
Stanislaus16452351
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Ventura12664150
Imperial11835317
San Francisco11076101
San Mateo9843150
Monterey980771
Santa Barbara9037113
Merced8872142
Kings763177
Sonoma7369122
Marin6694117
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer356745
San Luis Obispo354429
Butte281944
Yolo279555
Santa Cruz23309
Sutter170511
Napa166913
San Benito134011
Yuba11537
El Dorado11094
Mendocino90818
Shasta80617
Lassen7400
Glenn5783
Tehama5465
Lake53911
Nevada5337
Colusa5296
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31714
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Oroville
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 86°
Paradise
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Chester
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 51°
Red Bluff
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 81°
Willows
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Fire danger will remain high due to gusty north winds and dry conditions through Monday evening with a RED FLAG WARNING in place.
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