At least 188,000 people have evacuated from several Northern California counties after damage to a spillway at the Oroville Dam.
The dam, which is the nation’s tallest, remains intact. But the emergency spillway, which guards against the overflow of the dam when water levels are high, was eroding Sunday.
The damage prompted a mandatory evacuation for cities and counties near Lake Oroville. In the worst case scenario, one official said, an uncontrolled release from the dam could send a 30-foot wall of water downstream.
“I’m not going to lift the evacuation order until I have a better idea of what that means and what risk that poses,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said in a news conference late Sunday night.
Officials are waiting until daylight Monday to better assess the situation and decide when it’s safe for residents to return, Honea said.
California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a state emergency order to help local authorities with the situation and evacuations.
SOURCE: Madison Park and Eliott C. McLaughlin