Above is a live snap shot of the Oroville Dam spillway, 6 pm eastern time Sunday. The main spillway has a huge gap in it, causing much of the water to go way off to the right in the picture, instead of running down the main spill way. This has caused massive erosion which was not part of the master plan when it was built back in the 60’s. Also, the emergency spillway, just to the left of the main spillway but not in the picture, was activated for the first time about a week ago…and the erosion was tremendous. The dam started to be built in 1961, and it was completed in 1968. Right across the street from where we lived during this time period was a family whose father worked for the government, and was heavily involved with the dam construction. I think he was with the COE, but it might have been another federal or even state agency. He would fly up to Oroville a few times a week, otherwise worked out of an office in Sacramento. The dam has always been deemed safe…but it is an earthen dam, and the spillways are always the weak part of an earthen dam.
Due to the heavy release and the heavy rains, rivers and streams in the upper Sacramento Valley are flooding, and yesterday I-5 had flooding across the roadway. Above is a picture taken off a YouTube of a truck which went through the flood…that is a CHP car directly in front along the left of the roadway. “IF” that dam breaks, it is going to be very disastrous for much of the area between Sacramento and Chico, and very disastrous for the town of Oroville. However, unless something else gives, my family in Citrus Heights and Roseville and North Sacramento should not have any flooding because they are at a high enough elevation…with my brother in North Sac being at the lowest elevation. Also, the Sacramento River is designed to flood to the west of Sacramento, and not to the east side of the levee…but like I said, “if” nothing else goes wrong. Of course, we are hoping that nothing gets worse with Oroville, and that they have everything fixed up this summer when the lake’s elevation drops and things dry out. Oroville is the largest earthen dam in the United States.
Above is Lake Oroville just 30 months ago. We saw it this low for a couple of summers, but last summer it had gained half of its water. Now it is filled all the way up, as shown below (same bridge, just a little different angle.) One has to wonder if it is time to pray for drought???