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.

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A dry and warmer than average Presidents' Day and work week is expected as high pressure dominates our weather. High temperatures will make the mid to upper 60s and the next chance for rain isn't until next Sunday.
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