Evacuations Ordered Due to Potential Failure at Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway

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 OROVILLE -- Immediate evacuations were ordered Sunday for residents in parts of Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties, according to officials with the California Department of Water Resources.

Officials say a hazardous situation is developed at the Oroville Dam auxiliary spillway Sunday afternoon.

Officials anticipated a failure of the auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam by 6 p.m. The DWR has increased water releases to 100,000 cubic feet per second. That is nearly double what they were previously releasing, which relieved the pressure on the auxiliary spillway.

Engineers are taking advantage of clear weather until Thursday to assess the erosion damage and make any necessary repairs. Increased flows down the main spillway to ease pressure on the auxiliary spillway.

The threat of a breach lessened through Sunday evening, but evacuation orders are still in effect under further notice.

Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream were ordered.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for possible dam failure. Affected areas include Oroville, Palermo, Gridley, Thermalito, South Oroville, Oroville Dam, Oroville East and Wyandotte.

Residents should evacuate in a northward direction, toward Chico. Disabled residents who cannot get help from friends or family should call 911 for assistance.

Evacuations have also been ordered for parts of Yuba County including Hallwood, Marysville, Olivehurst, Linda and Plumas Lake. Those in Yuba County are asked to not travel north toward Oroville. Travel east, south or west. Marysville is under evacuation.

Parts of Sutter County has ordered immediate evacuations for Live Oak, Nicolaus and all communities along the Feather River basin. Residents are asked to evacuate west on Highway 20 and/or south on Highway 99 and Highway 70 toward Sacramento. Additionally, residents can head south on Highway 113.

The flash flood warning is in effect until 4:15 p.m. Monday. Residents who have been evacuated should not return until they are told it is safe to do so.

The Butte County Sheriff's Department says that helicopters will be depositing rock-filled containers in an attempt to strengthen the potential failure point.

As of Monday morning, more than 2,200 people were staying in Red Cross shelters across the counties, according to the Bay Area American Red Cross.