New Oroville Dam EVACUATION Order Is Barely In The News!


A must-watch video by a geologist explaining how the California water problems are getting worse due to population and farming.
Yes, the snow melt plus another very wet storm is going to menace the people living below this huge watershed.  I would imagine this would be big, big news.  IT IS NOT.  I am amazed at the deterioration in news ability of our mainstream news.  Fake news is like an infectious disease: it spreads socially and it kills huge populations.



So, the right wing press is trying to cover this literal life and death story.  The snow will melt in California and do this while it is raining really hard!  As California suddenly warms up, here on the East Coast, we will have very bitter cold starting tonight, below zero here on my mountain, the high tomorrow will be around 10 F.  So much for ‘global warming’.


Oroville Dam’s unstable and partially destroyed spillway has been closed since February 27 as dredging contractors at the bottom of the dam desperately try to carve a 1,500-feet-long by 150-feet-wide and 30-feet-deep emergency trench in the diversion pond to clear the Edward Hyatt power plant’s water intake pipes.


Although heavy equipment operators have completed about 40 percent of the trench and opened two intake pipes that are now discharging 13,000 cubic feet of water per second, the water level rose in the last two days by 22 feet to within six feet of forcing an emergency reopening of the dam’s main spillway.


Sheriff-Coroner Kory L. Honea has declared evacuation warnings for 11 zones in Butte County, including areas south of Lincoln Blvd for the towns of Oroville and Thermalito; all low-lying areas around the Feather River that include Gridley, Biggs, Yuba City and Loma Rica; and anywhere south of Butte County along the Feather River towards Sacramento.


The National Weather Service is predicting that temperatures will jump from a high of 60 degrees earlier this week to an expected high of 78 degrees over the weekend, about 14 degrees higher than the average for this time of year. Then by mid-week, the Weather Service predicts a two-days of warm “Pineapple Express” monsoon rains will hit Oroville and the local mountains.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has rated over 90 percent of California as experiencing an “Extreme Water Year.” Although Merced is the only river that is currently above flood stage, numerous points and contributories along the Sacramento and San Joaquin are already in the warning stage.


My family came to California well before the Civil War.  And they also lived in Old Arizona, too, back when it was a battlefield, my great grandpa being a cavalry officer and all that.  We have a long, long memory of the weather.  The Western deserts and valleys have this drought/downpour cycle.  All droughts end with downpours.


My family ended up being scientists and one topic of greatest interest was the drought/rain cycles where we all lived.  It was life and death, of course.  So it was interesting.  Modern farming and modern cities grew up because of DAMS.  Period.


Otherwise, they could not exist at all.  Back in my great grandpappy’s days, there were zero dams.  But the rivers ran!  You could go boating in streams that are now bone dry.  Due to pumping out the ground water during the 1950’s-1970’s, the water table of Tucson dropped so that the streams only ran if we had downpours.  Rivers where my grandfather used to fish fell to the point, the fish ceased to exist.


When I was a child, my grandfather would talk bitterly about all the people pouring in over his long, long life (born in the 1870s, he was).  He predicted, ‘Eventually, they will run out of water and all die.’  I grew up in a world where one took a bath once a week or less and in between, washed vital parts at a bowl of water. You never, ever let a faucet just run.


I lived on a mountain where I had to get all my water in tubs and drag this to my tent complex…for ten years.  I know the value of ‘water’.  The dams in California are all very dangerous because of the drought/flood cycles and on top of that, earthquakes.  This state is highly dangerous to humans who insist on living in fancy houses and use lots and lots of water.


Normally, the highpoint for California’s 24 major reservoirs and lakes is during the peak snowmelt in late May to early June. The water levels in all but three are currently rated as “extreme above” their historic averages for this time of year. The combination of a snowmelt and storms will create river flooding and could unleash flood waters going over the dams.


I recall when the rains stopped briefly, the people running California, nearly all of whom have not been there for over 150 years like mine, and thus have no stories about the weather in the past, were claiming the danger was all over and everyone was going back to ‘normal’.  But there is no ‘normal’ in California.


And it was obvious a fast snowmelt would be a disaster.  As it will be, now.  What a surprise…not.




Filed under .money matters

19 responses to “New Oroville Dam EVACUATION Order Is Barely In The News!

  1. Lou

    ‘Issue Attention Cycle’— People like happy news and brief disasters.


  2. ziff

    OK time for another BET , i’m betting ‘a thumbs up’ from Elaine that there is no destruction of the spillway dam . The dam will survive but other areas will be flooded.

  3. JimmyJ

    The destruction of the main spillway is putting high pressure water into a fault zone adjacent to the main Oroville earthfill dam (mentioned in a geology paper about the area), which is now nicely lubricated and degraded. Since this is earthquake prone area how come you don’t hear about foundation studies in the periphery of the damaged spillway to check this out? The design of the dam foundation could be compromised and there’s silence.

  4. Jim R

    Meh, you’ve seen one evacuation order, you’ve seen them all.

    Wait, what is that wall of muddy water coming down the valley?

  5. Jim R

    This guy has been posting periodic reports, apparently he lives in the area. But this is just a sideline for him, he has a regular job… he seems quite knowledgeable about the engineering issues.

    This was from a couple days ago. He doesn’t seem worried. The power plant is back online, and they are releasing water from the upstream lakes, some of which were also a little too full.

    Apparently the sheriff is being somewhat conservative in lifting the evacuation warning.

  6. emsnews

    He posted my video yesterday. Things change daily there. I said before, nothing is really ‘fixed’ and yes, a sudden snow melt will cause further difficulties. How on earth do you replace half a mountainside, anyways? Insane.

  7. Jim R

    They’ll open the main spillway if it gets above 865 feet. It will be better if they don’t have to do that for a couple weeks, to give the concrete time to cure. Juan Brown says as much in my video. That new gray stuff under the main spillway is a temporary patch.

    I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to try to replace the mountainside. It was crappy metamorphic pudding-stone anyway. When dry weather comes, they’ll probably just add a coat of concrete to that new canyon.

    Also, the spillway’s survival chances can be improved by adding some bumps or ridges to break up the flow of water. If you watch the videos from a month ago, you can see that when water flows smoothly and falls several hundred feet, it really hits hard when it reaches the bottom. If they can just slow the flow with some bumps, that would be an improvement.

  8. emsnews

    They almost never used it before except for small amounts. The unprecedented flow happened because they believed this ‘drought’ would be ‘forever’ due to ‘global warming’ so they didn’t discharge the water properly.

    They should be punished for this but then the Greenie guy in the State House there wanted to hoard the water because he is a True Believer.

  9. Jim R

    Here is his March 10 post. He talks about the powerhouse under the dam, and assorted plumbing. Still doesn’t seem worried. Later on they will have to open the spillway (note: NOT the emergency spillway) to let out the meltwater. Probably in a couple weeks, to let the concrete set a little harder.
    The water level is still 35 feet down from overflowing.

    He posts under the name ‘blancolirio’.

  10. Moe

    This is dated already but interesting to watch.

  11. Jim R

    Here’s the latest from blancolirio:

    Rock bolts, geology, construction work. They opened the spillway again, testing the repairs to the new canyon. And may have to open it again several times during the rainy season.

  12. Jim R

    One more update:

    The evacuation warning has now been lifted. The Sheriff was being cautious as long as the power plant was off-line and spillway control was run with portable generators. Also, some video and tales of the other dams upstream. It is still snowing in the High Sierras, but they are no longer keeping the reservoirs so full.

    Now they have to figure out how to fix the spillway…

  13. Jim R

    April 4 update.

    Trump has approved $540 million for California disaster relief. And other stuff.

  14. Jim R

    Here is Juan Browne’s June 15 update. They have drained the lake down to below the spillway gates (through the power plant at the base of the dam). And they are frantically working on filling in the enormous “Croyle Canyon”, where the main spillway broke down.

    They’ve been blasting and removing that crappy metamorphic pudding-stone, preparing to replace it with concrete and rebar in various engineered formats. They have about 15 million cubic yards of rocks and gravel that washed into the stream, and were dug out to allow the power plant to go back online…

    They need to wrap up this year’s work before the rainy season comes around again in October. Presumably they’ve learned the lesson, and won’t keep the lake so full next winter.

  15. Jim R

    Oops, that was the wrong link. Should be this one:

    If you want to fix that, Elaine, go ahead …

  16. The story of the ship filled with rocks going down is interesting in itself. The cargo hold door blew off in a violent storm…

  17. Jim R

    Well, the Edmund Fitzgerald is still at the bottom of Lake Superior, but the guy who was posting Oroville updates is still keeping track of the California dam repairs.

    Apparently they had a quiet winter out in Oroville, and the construction crews have had a chance to do a lot of permanent repairs to the dam. Concrete, more concrete, and still more concrete. They are still working on stabilizing all that crappy unconsolidated metamorphic rock with concrete. It looks like it might work, …

  18. It will work only if the supervisors of the dam can be smart. Remember: they overfilled the lake because of the drought.

  19. Moe

    Excerpt: “It will work only if the supervisors of the dam can be smart”.

    (Government) supervisors-smart. Oxymoron, contradiction in terms.

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