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Reconstructed spillway ready for rising Lake Oroville

Monday the lake was just a couple of feet below the gate of the new spillway and the DWR says, expect to see some water seeping down.

Posted: Mar 4, 2019 5:33 PM
Updated: Mar 4, 2019 5:38 PM

Oroville, Calif. -- With so much water flowing into Lake Oroville from recent storms, we could soon see water released down the Oroville Dam Spillway for the first time in two years.

Some who evacuated are now closely watching, with the memories of the Spillway Crisis still in mind.

"Panic. I had to gather people up and get out, quick. I had to go back and get my dogs later," said William Cooksey.

"It was very scary, having to leave the home, wondering if your belongings were going to be there when you got back," said Harold Cooksey.

Almost 200,000 people took off and left everything behind.

"I thought it was going to flush and then I went to Chico the next day where everybody else went, cause if it did break, I couldn't get out up there," said Cooksey.

February, 12th 2017; the Lake hit capacity, spilling over the emergency outlet, eroding the hillside and flooding of the Feather River below.

Two years and more than a billion dollars later, the DWR says the new spillway is ready to handle water flow.

And it's coming - Monday, Lake Oroville was just a few feet below the spillway's gate.

With more rain on the way, the DWR says they expect water to start seeping down soon. But is it too soon?

"I have a high degree of confidence in the reconstruction of the flood control spillway and emergency spillway, I doubt very seriously we'd get to the point where the emergency spillway would be utilized," said Sheriff Honea.

The DWR agrees with the sheriff and says it's right on track for the plan to get to lake up another 30 feet in the next month, to build up the water supply and offer Summer recreation.

"I believe it's going to be right, they've been testing it," said William Cooksey.

"I hope so, they'll probably do the best they can, but things happen," said Harold Cooksey.

"That said, we've learned a lot, over the course of the last 2 years so if we got to the point where there was some elevated risk we'd need to deal with, we're in a better position to handle it this year," said Sheriff Honea.

The DWR's taken it's crews and equipment off the spillway -- they're ready to use it to manage lake levels through the season ahead.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 779491

Reported Deaths: 14893
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2585166330
Riverside566811153
San Bernardino51750858
Orange516461123
San Diego44007757
Kern31148340
Fresno27487355
Sacramento21171375
Alameda20364370
Santa Clara20129295
San Joaquin19793414
Stanislaus16229329
Contra Costa15640198
Tulare15517256
Ventura12167142
Imperial11534312
San Francisco1064096
Monterey933765
San Mateo9332142
Santa Barbara8803109
Merced8719133
Kings715877
Sonoma6987114
Marin6522112
Solano608555
Madera429658
Placer340741
San Luis Obispo333227
Yolo273253
Butte272033
Santa Cruz21758
Sutter163110
Napa159213
San Benito127211
Yuba11127
El Dorado10584
Mendocino82218
Lassen7310
Shasta66814
Glenn5483
Nevada5035
Colusa5026
Tehama4874
Humboldt4826
Lake43310
Calaveras30513
Amador28616
Tuolumne2204
Inyo18714
Mono1632
Siskiyou1600
Del Norte1351
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc230
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 86°
Oroville
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 84°
Paradise
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 86°
Chester
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 69°
Red Bluff
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 88°
Willows
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 86°
Most of the forecast will remain pleasant and seasonable with big changes possible by next weekend.
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