Oroville Dam Braces for Rain; Is Shasta Lake Next?

Oroville Dam braces (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

California’s troubled Oroville Dam is bracing for a new surge of water as a new storm system hits the Golden State.

Officials had hoped to lower the lake’s level by 50 feet in advance of new rains, but fell significantly short of that goal, only reaching a 36-foot reduction by Thursday, according to local NBC News affiliate KCRA. Still, officials lowered releases from the dam’s damaged main spillway from 100,000 cubic feet per second to 80,000 cubic feet per second — still far above the normal rate.

According to weather forecasts, a new “atmospheric river” or “Pineapple Express” — a storm sweeping in from Hawaii after picking up moisture over the warm Pacific Ocean — is set to drench the state starting Friday morning. Some are calling the storm system a “bombogenesis,” a term referring to a sudden drop of atmospheric pressure of 24 millibars in 24 hours, the San Francisco Chronicle notes. Accuweather is calling the storm the “biggest” of what has been a very wet winter season.

Oroville Dam is the highest in the nation, and its reservoir is the second-largest in the state. On Sunday, officials evacuated nearly 200,000 people from the area downstream of the dam, fearing that an emergency spillway would fail due to erosion, sending a 30-foot wall of water into the Feather River valley.

Further north, the state’s largest reservoir, Lake Shasta, is also close to capacity, reaching 95% and releasing maximum water outflows as the storm nears, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump granted a request by California Governor Jerry Brown to provide emergency federal aid to the state to assist with flood relief and evacuation costs.

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.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.