By Billy Kidd

This post is up-to-date as of 11:50CT

While the potential of the Oroville Dam collapsing has slightly diminished, if the dam fails as expected it could send an uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville to nearby cities. Evacuations began Sunday night as Oroville officials warned of the potential collapse and flooding of the entire city within an hour. Among the counties listed for evacuations are Butte, Sutter and Yuba. Most residents were only given minutes to gather their belongings and evacuate. The area had been in drought for a long time until this year when heavy rain and snow bombarded the state. In Oroville, the average annual rainfall is about 31 inches, but has already seen 25 inches of rain as of Saturday, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

According to California’s Department of Water Resources, the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway that’s eroding had never been used in the 48 years that the dam has existed. The DWR instructed Oroville residents to head north, toward Chico. Crews have been working tirelessly loading up dozens of bags of rocks for helicopters to drop on dam’s auxiliary spillway. The DWR is hoping to bring the water level down before another expected storm on Wednesday hits.


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