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California Rain: Dam Spillway Opened for First Time in 20 Years

As rain continues in California, officials in San Joaquin County issued evacuation orders to 500 people Monday night after a levee on the swollen San Joaquin River broke on Monday evening near the town of Manteca, local NBC News affiliate KCRA reports.

Though the levee was repaired, evacuation orders remain in place, as the state continues to face rains this week in the midst of what may ultimately turn out to be the wettest weather in California history, after five years of drought.

Meanwhile, according to the Modesto Bee, Turlock Irrigation District officials opened the spillway on the Don Pedro Reservoir on Monday. KCRA notes that it was the first time the spillway had been opened in two decades. The water will enter the Tuolomne River, which in turn feeds into the San Joaquin River itself.

Elsewhere, as frantic efforts to prevent a spillway collapse at the Oroville Dam continue, officials succeeded in their goal of lowering the level of Lake Oroville by 50 feet on Monday. The lake, which reached and surpassed its maximum height of 901 feet above sea level last Sunday, dropped 50 feet below that point on Monday morning, according to the Redding Record Searchlight.

Rain is forecast for the region through Wednesday.

Trevor Hughes, writing in the USA Today, notes the political rift exposed by the ongoing crisis:

It’s a refrain voiced time and again in Oroville and the surrounding towns: The liberal, more populated parts of California suck up all the political attention and public dollars, leaving little for the men and women who help grow the nation’s food, fruits and nuts. That dichotomy has bred a mistrust of state government and a healthy skepticism of federal officials, [President Donald] Trump excepted.

California Democrats have been faulted for spending money, including billions in federal stimulus funds under President Barack Obama, on social welfare priorities rather than dam and water infrastructure.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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