Published: Wed, February 15, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

California Gov. Brown defends state's handling of Oroville Dam crisis, welcomes scrutiny

California Gov. Brown defends state's handling of Oroville Dam crisis, welcomes scrutiny

According to the latest state data, the lake was at 889.49 feet as of 6 a.m., more than 13 feet below where it stood when evacuation orders came down Sunday evening.

Lake Oroville water levels continue to fall as state officials send almost 100,000 cubic feet of water per second down the main spillway in hopes of dropping the reservoir as much as 25 feet by the time the next storm arrives Wednesday night.

However, if the spillways totally failed, billions of gallons of water would have flowed from the lake and flooded three counties.

State Department of Water Resources spokesman Chris Orrock says lake levels are also dropping at a rate of 8 feet per day. The acting director of the DWR said at a press conference on Monday that he wasn't sure anything had gone wrong with the agency's plans.

Chaos ensued as anxious residents rushed to pack up their families and abandon several communities in Butte, Yuba and Sutter Counties. "This was a new, never-having-happened-before event".

Sheriff Kory Honea called Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern and transferred the inmates to Santa Rita Jail and Glenn Dyer Detention Facility Sunday night, according to the Mercury News.

More than 500 Butte County jail inmates were transferred to Alameda County Jail farther south, Honea said.

The nearby Feather River which runs from the dam through the town of Oroville was higher than usual as water rushed away. The goal is to see the level at 860 feet by Thursday when inflows should begin from the expected storms. On Tuesday, engineers raced to drain the rain-swollen reservoir and dropped sacks of rocks into holes in the spillway in hopes of stabilizing it.

Right now in California, the nation's tallest dam is facing its toughest test yet - holding back about 1.1 trillion gallons of water while one of its auxiliary spillways, which acts as a relief valve, threatens to collapse. As of Tuesday afternoon, no volunteers from the Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross have been deployed to the area, but the chapter has been asked to have a six-member shelter team on standby and ready to assist if the situation changes and more help is requested.

"They clean, maintain and fix flumes, sand traps, blow off valves, vaults and other reservoir and dam related facilities", department officials said in an email. The groups warned of a complete failure of the dam itself, threatening lives and property. At the time, federal officials claimed the emergency spillway was created to handle 350,000 cubic feet per second and the environmentalist concerns were entirely unfounded.

On Monday, Cal Fire officials expressed their gratitude to the thousands of evacuees. A drought emergency was declared by California Gov.

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