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Thread: Evacuations In California

  1. #1
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    Evacuations In California

    They are evacuating 200,000 people in California because the Oroville Dam might flood or break.

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    I've been following that - it was a lot of "this won't happen" - and then it did. It makes me wonder how much they are downplaying the heavy rainfall expected later this week.

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    My dad was a genius civil engineer and lived on the down side of the dam. He told them years ago that it was a danger. Apparently many also did in 2005 and maybe earlier. Nothing was ever done.

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    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    I saw it overflowing on the news the other day and thought......hmmm.....that's too much pressure behind that dam. Apparently, it's never come close to the top, since it was built in the l960s. Pretty scary.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Very practical question. What happens to those who have evacuated? How do they maintain employment and pay their bills?
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    I suppose the Red Cross has places set up for sleeping and eating. Some people might even be able to go to their jobs, provided they aren't in the evacuation area. Let's just hope the dam doesn't break and destroy homes. Hopefully this will be a temporary thing. Must be pretty scary for everyone though. The weather is doing what climate change causes.....which is make weather very variable....wild swings. We had sub-zero temps in early winter, but it's been in 50's and 60's lately. It's quite disconcerting, but at least we're not (in this area), having scary weather (knock on wood).

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    One thing I haven't seen discussed - is what a breach in this dam might "break" downstream. More dams?

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    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    I don't know that much about it, but I do think it was a secondary safety wall for a lake. Maybe I'm making a wrong assumption, but it's the overflow of the lake. I don't think the entire lake will spill out...just the overflow. I'm not sure it's like a regular dam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyA View Post
    I don't know that much about it, but I do think it was a secondary safety wall for a lake. Maybe I'm making a wrong assumption, but it's the overflow of the lake. I don't think the entire lake will spill out...just the overflow. I'm not sure it's like a regular dam.
    There's the Oroville dam - some water can flow out via the power generation stuff - in addition there's a spillway to release water when the level is too high. The 1st issue is a sinkhole developed in the primary spillway - but they can't shut it off because the water level is too high. So it's destroying the spillway and land downstream from the sinkhole.

    Lake kept filling to capacity so it started flowing down the emergency spillway as well that has never been used - and the land downhill from the spillway wasn't properly maintained so the water was really tearing it up and started compromising the emergency spillway, which triggered the evacuations.

    Currently the water has dropped enough it's not topping the emergency spillway - but there's a lot of rain coming later this week. If the emergency spillway gives way they are talking like a 30 foot wall of water coming down.

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    http://www.vox.com/science-and-healt...ood-evacuation

    This article gives a pretty good synopsis of what's happened and what could happen later this week. Right now it looks like the worst case scenario is that the emergency spillway fails and drops 30 feet sending a whole lot of water downstream all at once. Assuming the evacuation has been total and remains in effect through this week's storm it would be devastating from a loss of property standpoint but hopefully not from a loss of life standpoint.

    So far no one is predicting the entire dam failing, which would be far beyond the worst catastrophe seen in the US ever. If 30 feet of the reservoir flooding down the Feather River will flood 200,000 people's homes just imagine what the 900 foot lake all going downstream at once would do. Not to mention the follow on problems of losing the entire reservoir as a water storage facility. This water is a major major part of the water used in the central valley for farming and in southern california for household use. Loss of this would be a massive longterm disaster that would have impacts not only on all the millions of people whose lives and livelihoods depend on the water, but on the food supply for the entire country.

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